Not the genuinely nice people but the ones who are too nice to be true.
I was like this. Sometimes I still am and I hate it.
I see people like this all the time as I recognize the pattern. When they greet you they have an overly enthusiastic smile that can’t be real unless they just won the lottery five minutes before seeing you.
They (I) needs you to see them in a certain way all the time. They need you to see that they are always nice and always friendly so that you think of them in that way – favorably – and therefore your behavior toward them will be reciprocated. In other words you will like them.
It’s a difficult job though, always having to shove down whoever you are, push aside whatever you’re feeling and fake your behavior. It’s such work to be acting instead of just taking a breath and being.
That kind of an effort takes its toll and these super nice people become resentful at having to be this way.
Why are they this way you ask? Well the obvious answer is because they can’t validate themselves and so they need other people to do it for them. So then the question becomes why can’t they validate themselves?
In other words why can’t they just be themselves? That’s really what validating yourself is in a very general way. Not being afraid to completely be yourself in front of others.
I’m sure you can probably think of a lot of reasons why but I’ll cite a few examples of people I knew to illustrate this and then talk about my own reasons.
I have a cousin who is exactly like this. He smiles all the time. I for once am on the other side of this behavior (since I’m usually the nice guy) and I can see how frustrating it is to talk to nice people. You can tell that they’re not really having an authentic conversation with you but are just blabbing pleasantries at you which is kind of annoying (and boring).
A few times though he let his guard down accidentally and I was able to pick up on a deep resentment that I could see behind his nice guy mask, and let me tell you it wasn’t pretty. He looked like a guy who would be like that – pissed off all the time – all day long. A miserable and confused person instead of a happy, perpetually joyful guy. What was he not in touch with? What did he really want to say? I doubt he knows but I know the type of parenting he’s had when he was young and can think of a few things he needs to get off his chest. Things he’s likely cut himself off from now because of that he can validate himself.
My Old Supervisor
When I was in my early 20s I used to work as a lifeguard. This one girl I worked with was the nicest girl you’ve ever met and everyone said so. She always smiled and always had a pleasant demeanor, never ever getting upset at anyone or anything. Because of that she got promoted ahead of a lot of people, myself included and became manager of the pool.
Toward the end of that summer she started to crack a little bit because her personality wasn’t able to handle her position. Being so nice she never got angry but she also never said “no” and with a lot of patrons at the pool acting out, drinking sometimes and just being rowdy, she needed to be firm and to say no A LOT.
Not many noticed her slips but I did, again likely because I have a lot of what she has psychologically in me. At the very end of the season I saw a side of her I don’t think anybody’s ever seen. In the break room when she thought nobody was looking I saw her relaxed face and it looked like the face of somebody who hated humanity and was ready to tear someone’s limbs off.
Here she was, this petite, short and smiley girl with the soul of a child soldier inside her. Scary doesn’t begin to describe how it felt to see her take off her mask.
For most my life I had no idea that I was wrapped up in the same pattern. Everyone always told me how nice I was and the more they did the more I wanted to continue to be that nice guy for people. I simply wasn’t an angry guy.
The truth was that I was cut off from my anger. I didn’t even know it existed. Even when it came out accidentally here and there I didn’t pick up on it.
I remember my sister pressing me once to go and talk to my father and tell him I really feel. I kept on dismissing her but she kept coming after me and wouldn’t relent. I didn’t notice myself getting more and more frustrated and she kept pressing.
She pressed one more time and I replied, “What you want me to tell him? That I want to cut him up into pieces?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
My sister stopped talking and was startled. I pretended I didn’t say what I just said. I was afraid of it. Actually I was afraid more of what people might think of me if they saw I was angry. The odd thing about that anger slipping out was I felt much better afterwards, like a release valve just opened up temporarily.
The words that came out on my mouth were violent but that’s not what I needed to do. My anger wasn’t telling me to be violent toward my father. Because my anger toward my father built up for decades, and I never said anything to him, it came out all at once in a blind rage. I wasn’t avoiding my anger, I didn’t even know I had it.
My relationship with anger was nonexistent. I’ll talk more about this incident and my father in other blog posts but suffice it to say, I am not a nice guy.
I think I even jotted down a journaling entry at the time entitled, The nice guy full of Rage.”
Even then, after experiencing it in journaling about it, I still didn’t fully understand how to access my anger in a healthy way, and understand what it was telling me to do. That’s why I couldn’t validate myself.
So yeah, overly nice people are the angriest and if they’re anything like me, and I think a lot of them are, it’s because they don’t even know they feel that emotion. They have a lot of buried resentments they need to process with their parents, and likely people in their life their closest to.
That usually equates to having honest conversations that are uncomfortable.
I learned that if I don’t say what I really need to say, then the tension builds up inside me and I end up hurting myself the most. I also end up being an angry guy instead of an honest, calm and balanced man.
There’s a lot more to explore here which I’ll talk about in upcoming posts soon
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