Codependency: The Dark Side of Being Kind

Cheryl Deaner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist on Oct 24, 2022 in Relationship and Family

Being nice is not the same as being kind. Here are common examples of “being nice” that are codependent instead of kind:

1) Being nice to someone at your own psychological expense

2) Taking at least partial blame for something that is not your fault to avoid conflict

3) Being nice in order to manipulate someone into doing what you want

4) Taking care of someone who should be taking care of themselves

Kindness is altogether different from niceness. It springs from being kind to yourself, which puts you in a much better position to be kind to others. Here are examples of being kind to yourself:

1) Acknowledging what your gut says is true about others

2) Setting boundaries with people who want more of you than you have to give them

3) Not letting an adult form the habit of being dependent on you

4) Spending more time with people you like and less with those who are draining

Often, codependency starts in childhood or from a lack of self-esteem from tough experiences later in life. Almost everyone has been touched by its brush, some more than others.

If you feel yourself slipping into doing something you really don't want to do with someone, step back. Feel your feelings, then set them aside and make a decision in a kind yet truthful way. You will not only feel better about yourself, but you will actually be more respectful to the other person.

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Cheryl Deaner is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, .

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