bunchofbrains community is a strong advocate for altruism. But giving of yourself is not always as generous as you think. What fears and what desires do our good and loyal services hide?
Magali, a 33-year-old computer scientist, challenges us to the limits of her unfailing generosity. "I am too nice and in the long run I take the consequences. During our last family vacation, I realized that I gave more than the others, without receiving anything. To them, my attentive ear and my smiles. To me, shopping, meals, cleaning ... I'm sick of being a good pear! Some, more attentive, more sensitive, are indeed empathetic in nature. But can we really be “too” likeable? "Excess kindness does not have to do with kindness, but with excess," confirms Isabelle Méténier, psychologist and therapist. He diverts her from her goal, the harmonious bond. And fraudulently uses it to close loopholes. »What fears and what desires do our good and loyal services hide?
For the psychotherapist Juliette Allais, the role of Good Samaritan in which we take pleasure in does not date from yesterday: “It is often about the place which was allotted to us, consciously or not, in childhood, as an elder. who becomes Cinderella for her younger siblings or a child “savior” of fragile parents. "Casting the role wonderfully, since there is nothing more normal, here we are a few years later putting the desires of others before our own. "Because we have not had the right to express our needs, we refuse to meet them," continues Isabelle Méténier. To make up for the lack, we fill those around us. "Who often does not expect so much, says so and even complains of being suffocated by so much solicitude.
This is the catch. If we are "lovable" it is to be loved in return. "Self-denial, which is a very present value in our Judeo-Christian culture, has many secondary benefits: it relieves us of guilt, values us, justifies our existence. We look good, ”says Juliette Allais. Except that the subconscious is not fooled. It is poor self-esteem that heals this defense mechanism. “Behind this concern for others is a need for recognition. If we do not fulfill his wishes, we risk losing his love, ”explains Isabelle Méténier. Far too great a risk since we are reluctant to give ourselves love. This sacrificial position therefore fills our narcissistic flaw.
Not so devoted as that, the good guys ... "The best intentions can border on manipulation, assures Isabelle Méténier, without being aware of it. Doing everything for others is a way to gain power and stay in control. "We decide everything, we take care of everything and put our finger on omnipotence ..." It is the cult of the martyr, analyzes Juliette Allais. There is a pleasure in remaining in this special status which allows us to exist ... The good pear is essential. But, then, what is she complaining about? Emptiness. Because, despite her best efforts, she never gets what could satisfy her. And exhausts herself looking outside herself for what she alone could give herself: intrinsic value.
“Get to know yourself better,” suggests Isabelle Méténier, psychologist and therapist. Identify your strengths, because you certainly have qualities other than kindness. And then determine your limits. It is the lack of self-awareness that helps to keep a role that is perhaps comfortable, but by no means suitable. "Juliette Allais, psychotherapist, also suggests making yourself" really "useful:" If you like to devote yourself to others, try to channel your generosity by turning to associations, for example. "
“Treat yourself! advises Isabelle Méténier. Think of yourself without guilt, be kind to yourself before you are to others. Rest, take care of your body, treat yourself to a nice gift, a book ... And don't close the door on others: accept that they give you too - advice, time, whatever. It is the relational bond that needs to be rebalanced. "
For Juliette Allais, “everyone must be able to emerge from their family. Behavioral therapy can help you understand what you recorded as a child to legitimize your existence. It may be necessary to be supported to dare to say no, to express your true desires, to formulate your needs ". Because by repressing them you could become somatized. And the Pressure Cooker would implode.