When does it pay to be a "good girl"?

I grew-up in a very old-world traditional family, where "good girls" don't behave in a way that would bring shame or embarrassment to the family name.

Oddly enough, I was birthed by a woman who, according to my amother, had no morals. It seems the only decent thing my mother did was not have an abortion.

It was so ingrained in me:  "Be good, or else".  My job was to be good, so I worked very hard to be as I was told.  There was so much fear in me... if I failed, what would that mean?  Would I be seen as the discarded trash my own mother became?  It didn't matter, my good-girl image got stained anyway.  There are those in this world who hate good girls.  Why?  I don't know.

As a good girl, I had to keep all these shames to myself.  Good girls don't start trouble.  Good girls don't make others question what the well-respected have been doing behind closed doors.  Good girls don't speak, they just smile and nod in full agreement, because it keeps the peace in a Very Good Family.

Can anyone tell me, when does it pay being a good girl?

Will it be this life-time, or will I have to wait for the next?

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self-satisfaction

I think it never pays off to live up to other people's expectations and that is, I believe, what being a "Good girl" is all about. It's in essence a suppressive stereo type and with that comes the demand for perfection that only leads to failure. There is no way the "Good girl" path will take you anywhere, because there is no reward in it. At best a "good girl" is not being punished when she didn't do anything wrong.

I had a friend who, in his family was very much the "good boy", while his brother was very much the "bad boy", doing lots of drugs, lying, stealing etc. This friend of mine was always pressured to do better and hardly ever rewarded, while his brother was praised for every little thing he did right. Of course the "bad boy/bad girl" path is just as much a stereotype and unrewarding in the end because of the self-destruction involved.

In the end, I guess, there is no reward other than satisfaction over personal achievements. There is nothing wrong with trying to be a "good person" if it is based on a personal motivation to do good. Then irrespective of other people's opinion it is possible to do things that are rewarding, just because it has pleased you to do what you did.

Personal satisfaction

I had to laugh/roll my eyes at the following comment:

there is no reward other than satisfaction over personal achievements

When a person is assuming a role assigned by an adult, or others who have the power to punish, I don't think any achievements have much value or meaning.  For instance, I was expected to not only play the piano, but expected to perform, perfectly, for others.  I HATED the piano, and I hated my lessons even more.  Being the perfectionist I had to be, I learned enough to get through the hoops my parents and piano teachers presented me.

By the time I was 16, I had already performed at Carnegie Hall, in NYC.  That concert was not for me (I had just prior to the recital undergone two surgeries - one for my knee, and one for an emergency appendectomy).  That concert was for my Aparents, so they could boast and beam, "My daughter played at Carnegie Hall".

 I achieved their goal, not my own.  In fact, much of my life has been about being the means for others to reach their dreams.

Yes, living for others brings no reward.

But when that's all you know, how do you learn to begin to live for yourself?  How does a grown woman learn how not to submit to the pressures of a power that shouldn't be?

Where to start

But when that's all you know, how do you learn to begin to live for yourself? 

Of course I am not Mr. Know-it-all, but let me give it a try. I think it starts by seeing where you in fact do live life for yourself. Despite all pressures, obligations and expectations of the powers that be, there are always little things people do for themselves.

When you pour a glass of wine for yourself or watch a television show you like, when you go for a walk or write a piece for this website, you are actually doing something for yourself. It may not be what you would be doing in an ideal world, but given the circumstances you do things that are pleasing to you.

I think the road to living a life for yourself starts by claiming those things you already have and do. It may be little and it may even be so little it gets easily overwhelmed by dissatisfaction with everything you don't have and would want to have, but it is a starting point. It is the only solid ground you have to start working to a life of yourself. From what you have, however little it is, you can try to build, baby steps at a time, to gain more control over your life and with that gain more satisfaction with the life you have.

How does a grown woman learn how not to submit to the pressures of a power that shouldn't be?

I guess intellectually you already know it is impossible to achieve other people's goals, because there will always be dissatisfaction in the details.

I guess you already intellectually know that it is not really possible to please anyone, which is of course very different from being pleasing to someone.

When I read a post you made I can be very pleased with it, not because you did me a favour by writing it, but because what you wrote touched me or opened my eyes to something I had not looked at before. And I won't deny it is really nice to be acknowledged for something well done, but if that is the aim for doing something it is doomed to fail.

I guess you intellectually already know the powers that shouldn't be are not going to be pleased by anything you do, because their dissatisfaction gives them control.

Since I believe you intellectually understand all about the dynamics involved, it doesn't help much to make you grow into a more self-assertive direction, because in the end I believe your submission to the powers that shouldn't be are driven by fear. So my question is: what do you fear about the powers that shouldn't be?

What does EVERYONE fear?

I fear failure and rejection.

It's the story of my life, so trying to find ways to re-script that is very difficult when all I have is the kindness of strangers as my outside source for support.  When things are no longer easy, or pleasing to another, who will fail me... who will reject me...?

I have to learn how to trust others, and not take their inability to help not so personally.

Not so easy for a pup like me.

The world is a different place when you have no nurturing adults in your own little family.

you always mention "the

you always mention "the kindness of strangers" and I don't really know what you mean by that?

"strangers"

Yes, I can understand the confusion...

I guess in a way, all people are strangers to me, including family-members.

There has not been one family where I felt like I belonged, or was welcomed.  Only when I had my own children did I ever get a sense of "home with family".

Only from within my own body, have I found or discovered any sense of "wanted bonding". 

Does that make sense...?

Fear of rejection

I fear failure and rejection.

Have you ever met someone whose company was so unpleasant or without any value, that person's rejection of you didn't or would not have bothered you at all, or is your fear of rejection so generalized it applies to anybody, friend, foe or indifferent?

is this possible?

I have to learn how to trust others, and not take their inability to help not so personally.

it isn't their inability to HELP that seems incorrigible, but everyone's own self-interests that seems totally at odds with being trustworthy.  i think that's just human nature.

philosophically, isn't the only person we can really truly trust ourselves?

isn't this learning to trust thing more about allowing people a greater portion of access, but never really total access?

and isn't loving somebody allowing total (or what we perceive to be) total access?

this coming from someone who rejects everyone, probably for the above reasons. 

i don't take rejection personally in general, because i am a rejecter myself.
but when i give someone a lot of access and they wreak havoc, then i am more offended and outraged than hurt, because I WOULD NEVER do that to someone.

golden rule lays on the floor, trampled by a million feet.

"Do unto others"

I always thought, even as a little girl, if I treated others as I wanted to be treated, eventually people would treat me kindly.  More often than not, my "good behavior" brought me self-serving opportunists than caring individuals.

I guess this is where my inner RAD comes out, because my rules of acceptance are always changing, with my ultimate expectation always being the same:  reject before rejected.  [For some reason I think of myself as being the car-rental lady in Seinfeld, where I can TAKE a person's interest, but I can't KEEP it.]

when i give someone a lot of access and they wreak havoc, then i am more offended and outraged than hurt, because I WOULD NEVER do that to someone.

<Bobble heading, as usual>

I'm hoping if I change my expectations, by being more in tune with my own wants and needs, and expressing them more specifically with my words and expressive language, I will find the ballance I need to create safer boundaries within the personal relationships I choose to keep.   [wow... what a mental-mouthful THAT was! ]

 

personal standards and expectations

thus the crux of my problem with the world. 

i EXPECT everyone in my life to maintain as rigorous standards of their own behavior as i do. 
the bar is too high for them.

i am not wiling to lower my standards or expectations. 
it's okay.  being alone is something i've gotten used to,
even though other people find that alarming.

My not-so-secret challenge

I agree, lowering standards and expectations would be very wrong... it's what got me in trouble in so many relationships, in the first place.

Instead, I keep all that I value in a vault... if a person wants to reach the inner-me, he/she must prove to me they are not like the others.  "Prove your strength, not just your weakness".

Fair?  Yes, in terms of my own safety and well-being I think that's fair.

Besides, I may have my fears, but I do know what I can bring to another person willing to work for my love and respect.

Crazy to have so much confidence, but keep it inside, isn't it?

not so crazy

i think this is what most people do.
i think you are very "normal" in this sense.

i do the opposite.

i don't really see that there's anything to protect.  i reveal all right away.  people don't know what to make of it.
i think they want to be like that but are afraid.  they avert their gaze like it burns them.
it's a challenge, really. 

i am telling them this is where we go,
are you man enough?

they aren't.

it is the litmus test.
if someone is willing to travel that landscape with me, then they will have my utmost loyalty.
there doesn't seem to be any kind of proof i can think of to slowly meter out trust. 
it's either there or it isn't.

i guess it is about commitment and what that actually means. 
to me, commitment is diving in with both feet, damn the waters, damn the fear, none of this testing with one toe business.

i think part of it is just an acceptance that i am intense.
sure, i'd like to relax and joke more. 
but whatever "flawed" or "damaged" thing i've become, it's made me this way and it's part of who i am now.
and i want people in my life who can truly appreciate that and me.

obviously, i am pretty recalcitrant about this social thing.
to the horror of anyone who's studied me.

let them be horrified and label me.
i'd rather have zero relationships than a mediocre limited one.

Breaking the Barriers

<smile>

It has taken me many years to let a softer-side become a part of me.  I grew tired of everyone being afraid of me.

well, maybe that is how

well, maybe that is how we're different -

i want fearless people in my life

A human-spirit without fear???

Is there such a creature?

not in toto

but about jumping into dark waters, yes.

(sigh) 

my friend was one such person, only i was too blind to see it at the time
now he is with someone else

intelligent luminous open committed fearless people do exist

[slow deliberate nod]

Indeed, these heros do exist... which is why I know I have a soft, vulnerable side to me, too.

My next life-lesson is all about learning how "freedom of expression" works FOR a relationship, not against one.

 

Fearlessness

In all honesty, I think fearlessness is a dangerous condition. To me fearlessness is just the oposite side of the cowardice coin.

i see what you're saying

i see what you're saying.

i think i chose not the perfect word.  i didn't mean it in that sense.  you can have fear but commitment can overcome that.

maybe BRAVE is what I seek.

i seek ferociously brave people as volunteers in my life.

I fear being the one who is at fault...

My mantra, all my life has been, "it's all my fault."  There was never peace in our family, always strife and stress.  Kids
don't think beyond themselves, so therefore every negative thing was my fault. 
And now that I'm breaking away from that mind-set, I can see that these words made me the caregiver/fixer of every
relationship I have ever been in...  I had to make it right, and then some.
If someone mentioned that they needed something, wanted something or were looking to buy something, I would
jump right in and give it to them or buy it for them.  So this made me not only a caregiver/fixer, but a buyer of acceptance.
It never worked out the way I thought it would; people just didn't fall all over themselves accepting me and therefore I
went into deep withdrawal from them FEARING they were going to reject me anyway.
I was the one who could start a kids-group and make it work until I "felt" that someone was against me and then I would
shut the whole thing down and walk away before even finding out IF there was a problem... the problem was always
my fault.  I ruined so many good things in my life because I could not stand rejection and just walked away before that
rejection could start.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

"Be a good girl"

That's what a nun from my orphanage wrote to me (in response to my three letters). "Be a good girl, be a good catholic" - "I wish to thank your parents" - "Be a good girl for your parents" - "Do everything you can to  be a good girl for them"-"Study hard for your parents". I have been a good girl  and my adoptive father used me as he wanted.

...in other words...

"Shut up and be grateful for all that is given to you, you selfish bastard."

"Shut up and be grateful"

"Shut up and be grateful for all that is given to you, you selfish bastard."

Your parents actually called you a "selfish bastard" and threw your adoption in your face?  Wow, they must have been incredible assholes.

Dad

It depends on how parents

It depends on how parents raised their children. Having a nice child is definitely up to parents. Nurturing them into good and Godly things is one way achieving it. Texas Piano Teacher

Pound Pup Legacy