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Being Too Nice May Make You Vulnerable….

June 21, 2020

I am still meeting with nice people who worry about offending or hurting a loved one.

That nice person may be a spouse, parent, sibling or adult child.

The issue is their being nice makes it difficult to set boundaries with those who take advantage of their niceness.

The strategies for taking advantage often include making the nice person feel guilty.

The nice person feeling guilty, acquiesces to the demand of the loved one. Sadly whatever sought often creates anything from inconvenience to hardship for the nice person.

In chatting with the nice person I find myself helping them to see that their loved one is manipulative and self-serving.

Interestingly, this is typically met with relief, often with a feeling of validation.

I explain that no amount of seeking to talk with the exploitive loved one will likely help them to get it or desist. More likely the manipulative loved one will increase either gaslighting or guilting or other forms of emotional manipulation. There is a power imbalances and the loved one is seeking gratification over the well-being of the nice one.

The objective of counseling is helping the nice one to use polite and reasonable approaches to asserting a boundaries, resisting exploitive requests and managing attempts at being guilted.

Gaining insight into the dynamic of exploitation and validating what has been a reasonable but unspoken view of their situation helps.

I am invariably thanked for the input and guidance.

With time these relationships often fail.

With the exploitative loved one no longer getting their way, they tend to withdraw their relationship and look for another target of exploitation.

That’s ok. The nice one is finally emancipated and can get on with their life.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support â€“ to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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