Good Girls, Good Boys
Many of us, when we were growing up, worked hard to be “good” and win our parents’ approval. We learned to be obedient, or cute, or smart, or tough, and to anticipate others’ needs. These Good Girls and Good Boys still live inside us as we go about our adult lives.
Often I find that my Good Girl is activated in social situations. I want to please others and smooth things over, even if my own needs are neglected.
Of course, I have other inner children who also have desires—attention, space to grow, independence. If Good Girl is in charge too much, I feel obscurely frustrated because my needs are not being met. I may feel that other people are pushing me around—but really, it’s my own dynamic!
So what do we do about these Good inner kids? It’s important, I think, to give them a lot of credit. My Good Girl enabled me to get through a difficult childhood that included incest and secrecy as well as parental distance. I honor her earnest and steady work. But sometimes I need to ask Good Girl to stand aside so that my Inner Adult can assert my legitimate wants, even if other people don’t like it.