The Good Girl Syndrome

08 Mar 2011, by michelle in Uncategorized

angelAlthough men can also fall prey to being “too good”,
women are especially prone to falling into the trap of being
“the good girl”. What is interesting about “the good girl
syndrome” is that we can be completely successful in one
area of our life yet in another area we succumb to being the
good girl. In other words, the good girl is not about being a
people pleaser or doormat; it is much more subtle. This is
why so many people find themselves stuck because they are
trying to remain the good girl.
The adult version of the good girl syndrome includes the

(1) when we say yes when we really want to say

(2) when our feelings get hurt yet we do not say a word;

(3) we completely disagree but we go along with it

The good girl syndrome is interesting because it is
what women in particular fall back to when they do not know
their value in a relationship. For instance, maybe they have a

great marriage yet they question their worth when it comes to

their career. Perhaps it is the other way around where they

have been greatly successful in their career yet they struggle
with intimate relationships.

good girlIn those cases we are not certain of our worth, so we turn
to others to have our worth validated. In order to receive that
validation, we try to be the good girl. Why would we not?
After all that is what we learned to do as children. We were
told to get along and do not make waves in order to make
those around us happier. Our rational minds bought into that
if we can make others happy, we will be more liked, loved or
Yet the good girl is not able to be truly happy if she is
always stifling her essence. The good girl is not allowed to
simply be. If we cannot be ourselves, there is no way we will
ever feel true happiness let alone get what our hearts’ truly
desire. The truth of what we desire is masked by goodness of
the good girl, and will forever stay that way until we are
willing to share our true selves.
If you find yourself in a rut in a certain area of your life
or continue to struggle with a certain person, examine if you
have fallen victim of the good girl syndrome. Look at the
difference between those areas of our lives in which we
intrinsically know the value we bring versus this aspect in
which we feel stuck. Notice the lack of certainty you have
about you. Once you have a sense of certainty about who you
are in all areas of your life, there will be no need to be the
good girl. Your intrinsic goodness will shine through regardless
if you disagree or disappoint another because you will
know with certainty the truth of your essence. This can only
occur by listening to your feelings and being willing to form
boundaries in your life.

Excerpt from Emotional Abundance: Become Empowered

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  • Sister Catherine Kanick Reply

    Thanks for the reminder of the “good little Catholic girl” I used to be..hopefully I am growing up with questions, independence of thought,listening to my own Spirit and a new sense of freedom..this is not to say I don’t slip back once in a while but realise it much more quickly these days..thanks Michelle for all you wisdom..
    Sister Kate

    • I love your spirit Sister Kate! Well said, that is our journey to question and formulate our thoughts based upon what holds true from within. Sometimes, we get temporarily lost and fall back to what we know – being the good girl, but with a willingness to stay true to our own Spirit we find our way. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Jeannette Reply

    I think I am stuck in this syndrome. Especially since it is a marriage and i have been married for a very long time. But as I have gotten older I have become stronger willed but still fall back because his personality is too strong and can be very stressful so I dont rock the boat just to keep things calm.

    Thanks for posting this article I would like to see some ways to help me with issue posted if possible.

    Again Thanks for the wonderful articles.

    • Hi Jeannette,

      I am glad to hear that you notice you are stuck in the good girl syndrome and have gotten stronger throughout the years. The question is if you are staying in your marriage just for the sake of staying good? You deserve your marriage to be loving rather than stress-filled. Try to assert your will enough to make marriage counseling a priority – for your sake and his!

  • Its only when we exercise our SELF RESPECT that we get out of jail of good girl syndrome. Ladies, wake up and know you belong here. No one has more right than you No one had a choice of gender and this makes the equation equal!! A Y or an X chromosome means a girl or a boy – They are equal until the girl decides to ride on an inferiour back!! Have a superior DAY – Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      Yes, the thing about the good girl syndrome is how sneaky it is making it easy to fall back on being good rather than true to ourselves. Thanks for sharing your truth!