Today is the final post of the Saturn in Libra Relationship Dark Side series. If you haven’t seen the rest, start with the first 3 parts, Shadows, Projections and Clinging to Relationships.
The “Nice Girl Syndrome”
The fourth dirty secret of relationships is the “Nice Girl Syndrome”. The syndrome that has us, women, go overboard and do anything to be liked. To achieve this state, we say “yes”, when we want really to say “no”. We take on yet another project, another volunteer work or agree to another big family get together. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
With Saturn in Libra until October 2012, we – nice girls – will come to understand that Saturn requires people to establish firm boundaries in relationships in order to be able to create healthy and balanced partnerships.
This is a huge conflict for “nice girls”. We want to be liked and are very fearful of the consequences of having to say no. Will he leave us? Think we are being selfish? Inconsiderate? Ungrateful? No wonder, we prefer to be safe by playing nice.
There are many excuses and reasons we use to justify being “nice”.
The Attitudes of the “Nice” girl
As I am learning to say no and establish boundaries, I count the number of ways I spent most of my adult life being nice:
- Agreeable. If someone wanted to eat at a restaurant I didn’t like, I said, “Sure, if that makes you happy, I will eat there.”
- Dependable. I made sure people could count on me to accomplish anything they needed done. Many times, I even offered to help before they asked even though I did not really want to help them. I just wanted to make sure people knew I was a nice person. As a result, I said the word, “Yes,” a lot. My motto was “dependable, reliable and gets things done!”
- Non-confrontational. I did not voice my opinions about any controversial topics. If someone disagreed with me about anything, I backed down and said, “I can understand your point of view” and leave it at that because I did not want the conversation to degenerate into an argument.
The reason for being nice
As a result of my attitude, I often ate at restaurants I did not like, rarely had time for myself as I was constantly doing favors for others and had lots of migraines as I was seething with anger I never voiced. The reward for me was being able to avoid confrontations, fights and arguments. I grew up with parents that thrived on anger and confrontations.
Somehow, I collapsed having boundaries with fights, confrontations, being unloved. In my head, one did not go without the other. Saying no would generate an argument that would grow into a fight and, as a result, I would be accused of being selfish and feel unloved. Better to say yes and avoid the cycle. Hence, me being a “nice girl”.
Why Boundaries is the New Nice
It took many years for me to realize that being nice was not helping me develop healthy relationships. It took many more years for me to realize that doing the opposite—establishing boundaries and saying no—would not necessarily bring violence, confrontation and anger down on me.
It was a HUGE discovery for me. You mean I can disagree with somebody and nothing bad will happen? I can say no, have it my way and people will be OK with that?
The first time I said no to Mexican restaurant he wanted to go to and we went instead to the Thai place I wanted to try, I was dumbfounded. Wow, what a concept.
Since that realization, Saturn in Libra has been guiding me on learning how to establish boundaries. I still feel anxious when I say no. But I am getting over it and actually feeling good each time I am being myself. It’s like strengthening a muscle. The more repetitions you do, the stronger that muscle becomes. I am starting to see some “no” muscle definition.
This new found assertiveness has had some interesting consequences, both big and small. Now I feel fine insisting that my half of the pizza should come with anchovies. Or I don’t feel the need to hide anymore my love for romance novels or that I am a big fan of Vin Diesel.
How about you? Have you suffered from the “Nice Girl’ syndrome? Do you think it’s better to be real or be nice? Leave a comment.
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