Think too much about others

Think too much about others


Maria is 25 years old. She is the youngest daughter of a family in which, apparently, there are no major problems among her family members; There are no economic problems, and in reality, everything seems quite harmonious.

Maria was in school when she was little and then studied at the Institute with good results. He also went to the University and of course with the same excellent results.

As soon as he finished his studies he began working on what can be considered a good job, on his own merits, even though his father also worked in the same company.

Maria has friends and friends, and she has a boyfriend as you would expect. He goes out, has fun, works and performs all the activities of his age.

As she is a hard worker, she began studying another university career to expand her knowledge, and was doing quite well.

He has followed in the footsteps of a “good daughter,” one by one and his life was uneventful. In the not too distant future, he would possibly marry, possibly have children and, possibly, everything would remain within a stable social structure. But one day her boyfriend breaks her relationship with her and Maria begins to feel very bad. He doesn't like anything anymore, he doesn't love anything, he doesn't enjoy anything, he doesn't want to go out with friends, he has trouble going to work (although it's the only place he gets distracted), and he doesn't want to study anymore. He is afraid of the future.

He is sad, but above all, his life has become unstructured. It seems that things have lost their meaning and do not understand why if you have always done what you should, what you have learned is right.

Maria has just realized that she doesn't know who she is, she doesn't know where Maria is, and she's scared.


Pilar is 40 years old. She is the youngest daughter of a family in which there are two boys older than her.

When she was little her parents had problems with each other. His father drank and mistreated his mother and siblings.

In her family she "must have been the little woman in the house." Their parents treated and considered men and women differently. And she learned to work at home, to take care of others and also learned to shut up and hide so as not to provoke her father's anger.

He had a normal schooling and gave up continuing to study because his brothers had not done so, therefore his obligation was to work like them, although she would have liked to continue studying.

Later he found a boyfriend and got married, although when he was young he had difficulty going out with people to have fun since it was considered that a girl should get home soon and not “overdo” anything.

Since her father and mother got along badly, she slept with her mother until she married. Then he had a daughter and a son, who are now 13 and 9 years old respectively. Pilar has, in principle, a cheerful and outgoing, but he learned to shut up and give in his house and kept quiet and giving in his marriage until he fell into a depression, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, an anxiety disorder and also dependence (the latter already existed previously).

- Why? What happens to me?

- "I must not be a good mother or wife or daughter."

His father has already died and his mother is now sick. Her brothers disregard her mother but she does not; She goes to her house every day to talk to her and help her because it is her “obligation”. And yet, he feels guilty because he doesn't do enough, because his mother can die.

Pilar is her father, her mother, her husband, her children ... and, where is Pilar really? Who is she really?

She does not know because she has never been herself, only what others have wanted her to be. She is afraid of the future, the present, to live, to almost everything, and above all to discover for the first time who she is.


  • 1 The social conventions
  • 2 Change the "beliefs"
  • 3 So, can this attitude be changed?
  • 4 Let's review our beliefs

Social conventions

María and Pilar, what do they have in common?

The two have been convinced, have assumed that they must be good girls, good daughters, and their lives would be satisfactory to act accordingly.

At the time they did not review these basic beliefs or the consequences they could have on their lives.

For others it is very comfortable, I would say perfect, when a woman maintains these beliefs, which ensure care, submission, unconditional help, absence of great conflicts and that everything is "in order", as mandated by the "good manners" of the society.

But the consequences for these women become: lack of autonomy, lack of self-identity, lack of control over their own lives, lack of self-esteem and various psychological disorders.

Therefore, when the luggage they have been carrying little by little, over time and it has become too heavy, symptoms appear. And these are becoming disorders such as depression, anxiety, dependence, avoidance, obsessions, compulsions ... They can suffer many problems because it weighs too much, and it is difficult for them to see when problems begin to arise, if you live in a society that supports these behaviors treating them as the most desirable and correct.

These women are, on many occasions, sociable, they like people, and they like others because they do not create conflicts, they help whenever they are needed and even before anyone asks for it. Indeed they are "good friends" "girlfriends", "daughters", "mothers", "wives ... but giving up their self.

They do not set limits and easily let others invade the land. They do not know how to say "no", and access the requests of others without questioning them. And their interests, renouncing their own, their preferences ... and almost everything.

It's about living for and for others; that others are happy, and of course, some are usually with this attitude of resignation, but not even that way. Many times they are not happy enough. It's like filling a bag that has a hole and no matter how much it gets into it, it never fills.

They live thinking that in this way they will be loved and accepted by others, paying a high price for this supposed affection that is nothing more than selfishness and comfort of some people.

They learned it in small ways in different ways and they keep it because they have a lot fear of not being loved, of losing others if they dare to ask their due, to be rejected if they refuse something.

They are women who are afraid of losing what they have never had

They never had the true love of others, because they do not want them for what they are, for being themselves, but because they are pleased, because they agree, because they are an unreal image created for the taste of others. And they can't know which people really appreciate them because they are in a trap of hypocrisy and lies with all their hardness. With a mask you can't know people well.

These women fell into what McKay, Daves and Fanning call "the Divine Reward fallacy”.

The fallacy of the divine reward consists of a style of thinking that is characterized by believing that if a person works, sacrifices himself and does the “right” thing, he will be rewarded in some way for doing it “well”.

It is called fallacy precisely because this does not happen. The more the person sacrifices for others, the more they get used to the fact that this behavior is normal and therefore does not deserve any special recognition.

A woman said: “I have never dared to go against my mother. If I have ever done so, the consequences have been bad, but, in the long run, it has always been worse to always make your wishes, and that concealment of feelings to avoid anger, in the end it comes out. ”

What reason he had when rummaging in his past he concluded that his present attitudes had already been forged in his childhood, and that she without knowing it, kept repeating the same behaviors.

They help, call on the phone to ask and care about the lives of their loved ones, welcome them in their homes, take care of them if they are sick and feel. , responsible for their "happiness."

But "happiness" (in the human sense of the word, and not as abstraction) can only be achieved by oneself. No one gives happiness to anyone.

Therefore they always feel dissatisfied. In the first place, for carrying a responsibility that does not belong to them, and which in any case does not have the power to satisfy. And secondly, and as a consequence, they do not deal with what is their responsibility, and it is to seek their own "happiness", their own path.

Taking care of others when they need it is logical, but not by system, and not putting the interests of others and their satisfaction ahead of ours, and our needs, including many times, the most basic ones we overlook.

They often find that when they need help or are sick, or are allowed to want something, they are not reciprocated as they thought they would be. This often implies a feeling of frustration when it occurs, and sometimes of anger because that is when they perceive that others are too busy in their things to worry about them as they normally do for others. Other times, this does not happen because they avoid the occasion. That is, they do not ask for anything, they do not expect anything and thus there is no possibility of feeling disappointed. This is the typical conformism of people who annul themselves.

This is the price you pay for wanting to be “a good girl” and all that comes with seeing life in this way.

You live without living anything but through others; with feelings of guilt because you never get to like it so much, to please others so much, because so much responsibility overwhelms, depresses, causes anxiety and creates dependence on others towards the person who tries to please, and the person who wants to please others, and towards the same act of pleasing.

It is as if not constantly worrying about others makes them "bad people", and if they ever try to find their own "happiness" they find a great emptiness and much restlessness. Empty because they have not learned how to do it or what it is, and restlessness because they consider themselves selfish and perverse for it.

Resigning has been the word of his life, and the good cause, the "happiness" of others and pleasing them.

Time and more time of their lives wasted without possible recovery; At least until they call into question these beliefs.

Change the "beliefs"

Many women have fallen prey to these beliefs and dragged them throughout their lives without, of course, getting rewarded, but they have turned their lives into a bitter taste.
Others have been able to free themselves from them and achieve a fuller, more satisfying, less overwhelming and more worthy life. With less ties and more flexibility and creativity.

So can this attitude be changed?

Yes, of course, and for this it is necessary to break the belief that it is bad to want things for oneself. It is not necessary to hide more in the bedroom, in the false smile, in the access to everything, in wanting to avoid discussions at all costs, in pretending that we like everything that others say, in the shame of saying what one thinks, to have their own opinions and to be autonomous. Do not hide in anything and accept to be criticized or not like people so much, but be ME. Yes, be María, or Pilar, or Amparo.

We have to look for what we like and find within ourselves what are our opinions, our tastes, what we reject and express it without fear because it is ours, because that is what makes us be Me and not the Other.

To be Me, we must respect each other and once we respect ourselves, we get others to respect us, because we deserve that respect, because we are unique and valuable people. And because if we can and must respect the other, this is to the extent that the other respects me.

Let's review our beliefs

What is being a good daughter to me? What exactly is it?
What is being a good wife, partner, etc.?
What is being a good mother?
What is being a good friend?
Am I being myself when I behave like:

"good daughter"?
"Good wife / partner ..."?
"good friend"?
What would you lose if you changed these behaviors?
What would you gain if you changed these behaviors?
Do others respect me?
What can I do to be loved by myself? (Concrete steps)
Can I replace beliefs that hurt me with healthier ones?

Remember: If I lie, I don't respect myself. If I don't respect myself, I'm not ME. IF I DON'T RESPECT ME, I WILL NOT BE RESPECTED.

Carmen Rausell Iglesias
Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist

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