The Legacy Of Child Abuse – BEING TOO NICE

Today I was reading another book (The Drama of the Gifted Child) – yes I know that this is nothing new, but in it was a story that touched on today’s post – Being TOO Nice.

The story was Alphonse Daudet’s story of The Man with the Golden Brain (to read the story click here). The long and the short of the story is that thBrainis man keep giving of his “golden brain” till there was nothing left, not even his life. I feel like this man, I feel like I have had to pay for even the smallest things in life with my very substance/being. I am constantly giving in a hope of finding some acceptance from those in my life, but at the same time I’m “giving away a piece of my real self”, till I’m left with nothing left to give.

My need for acceptance and dare l say it “love” have lead me to work myself to the bone trying to keep in place a picture of someone who is talented  and achieved more than anyone else at their age. While in the past most people saw me as strong and stable, someone that was to be admired and envied became of what I could do, what they didn’t see is that on the inside it was just a façade that covered depression, emptiness, a feeling of worthlessness and a sense that this life had no meaning because it was not my own, it was just a picture of what was expected of me. Now that I have basically suffered a break-down and I can no longer keep up the façade of being on top of the world or at least a normal functioning person, I feel like I have failed everyone, that I no longer measure up to what I was and am a disappointment.

To compensate for this I keep doing things that are basically me once again “pulling the gold from my brain”.

Things I have done in the past and some that I continue to do:

  1. I was there for my sister when my mom wasn’t; I became an adult and thus a parent at a very young age.
  2. I was and still am (though I try to avoid this now that I know it is happening) a buffer between my parents.
  3. I am my family go-to person when it comes to planning things – 2 bridal showers, 4 baby showers, a wedding and 2 funerals (one of which was for the man who abused me).
  4. Because people in my church know that I’ve done all this planning they come to me with requests for – cakes for weddings, flowers for weddings, flowers for funerals, etc. and while I don’t always mind doing them for people, I have been professionally trained to do these things and I expect some compensation for my knowledge and time, I always ask for less than what they would have to pay at a florist or bakery, but they always seem to feel I should be doing it for free or better yet pay them for the privilege of doing it for them.
  5. To avoid confrontation, I allow things to go on without speaking up. One of those things is my therapist. I have felt uncomfortable with her from the begin and now I have to speak up because instead of being there for me, she is actually become one of my problems.

From the above story I’ve learn one thing, there is such a thing as giving TOO much. I am printing out this story so that in the future, I can remind myself what giving gets you. I’m also going to keep the promises I made myself – no more family planning things, they don’t appreciate it, and so I’m no longer doing it. My other promise to myself is that if I do, do something for someone else in the future, we have a sign paper the clearly states what I am doing for them and what the price for that service will be. I need to stand up for myself, and remember that they can’t get want I am giving them for the price they are paying and if they think they can they can always go somewhere else.


I did this when my grandfather abuse me. I did this when my mom in turn hit, neglected, or expected too much from me as a child. I did this when I let my father get away with putting his head in the sand and not acknowledging that our family was a mess and that he needed to do something about it.


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