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Can’t Say No? You Might Have Good Child Syndrome: 10 Key Insights

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You may have noticed people around you who can’t seem to refuse others’ requests. They work late to finish others’ tasks, suffer internally even when they know the request is unreasonable, and often suppress their true desires. These individuals, who constantly sacrifice their own needs, may be suffering from what’s known as the Good Child Syndrome.

What is the Good Child Syndrome?

The Good Child Syndrome, also known as the Good Child Complex, refers to the tendency to suppress one’s emotions and desires to gain positive evaluations or attention from others. This syndrome is commonly observed in individuals who have been conditioned from childhood to be dishonest with their feelings. As a result, most adults struggle with this condition.

Suppressing desires internally

Individuals with this condition often appear cheerful and considerate to others, but internally, they suppress their desires and hide their negative emotions. They are extremely sensitive to others’ evaluations and consider their own negative emotions as something bad, causing them to suffer from stress.

Submissive yet lacking assertiveness

Children with Good Child Syndrome are often obedient but poor at asserting themselves. They struggle to voice their own opinions and readily agree with others. They may even apologize first out of fear of conflict, even when they’ve done nothing wrong. They’re always anxious, and if this state persists, they may start experiencing physical problems such as headaches or stomachaches.

Differences from just being kind

So, what’s the difference between simply being a good person and someone suffering from Good Child Syndrome? The answer lies in the motivation behind their actions. Good people act kindly based on their values, voluntarily showing consideration and respect to others. However, those with Good Child Syndrome act kindly out of a desire to meet others’ expectations and avoid disappointing them. As their actions are not voluntary, they may struggle with low self-esteem or identity confusion.

Symptoms of Good Child Syndrome

Those suffering from Good Child Syndrome don’t express their anger or irritation outwardly. They struggle to refuse others’ requests, don’t show signs of dislike, and even postpone their tasks to help others. They can’t stand it when promises are broken, or orders aren’t followed, and they often apologize and ask for forgiveness first to avoid conflicts with others.

Childhood upbringing greatly influences

This syndrome, characterized by excessive obedience to others, is greatly influenced by the individual’s upbringing. If a child with high anxiety is strictly disciplined by their parents, the child becomes accustomed to behaving according to the parents’ standards rather than expressing their desires. If this pattern repeats, the child may grow up to develop Good Child Syndrome.

Potential aggravation of mental health issues

Suppressing your desires and holding in your anger for the sake of others can exacerbate your emotional illness. If this continues for an extended period, it can increase the risk of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders. It can even develop into a dependent personality disorder, where you excessively rely on others and are easily manipulated in relationships or at work.

Efforts towards self-resolution are crucial

If you’re suffering from Good Child Syndrome, making an effort to solve it yourself is crucial. Even with small things, making decisions and confidently asserting what you want can gradually improve your condition. If you have symptoms requiring medication, you should visit a suitable mental health professional for consultation.

Erase your excessive considerations one by one

By erasing your excessive considerations one by one, initiating contact, or arranging meetings, you can start to correct your behavior from small actions. This can help build your confidence. Additionally, engaging in high-intensity exercise that makes you sweat or meditation can help you think about who you are and practice expressing your emotions outwardly.

How does psychological treatment proceed?

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on understanding and changing your thoughts and behavior patterns. Through this therapy, you can change the pattern of negatively interpreting your desires and emotions and learn the skills necessary to assert yourself. Since overcoming Good Child Syndrome can be difficult with self-effort alone, it’s very important to identify the cause and understand your desires and emotions through professional consultation and psychological therapy.

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