You’re Nice!

10 Jul 2012

You know something?  You’re nice.

And bad things happen to nice people. 

It’s not a punishment for being nice.  It’s an occupational hazard for “doing nice”.

(I’m prepared to labor this point a little, because it really is key.  But abused women don’t get it the first or the second time.  It takes a LOT of getting your head around.) 

You meet an abusive man – who may, or may not be wearing his “I’m a nasty, self-obsessed, angry, punitive control freak” T-shirt.  Most likely, he’s not.  He’s probably wearing his: “Yes, I know there’s something faintly creepy, and a little bit icky about me, but I’m Mr Wonderful, and you’re awfully lucky to be in the right place at the right time” T-shirt.  

He takes you for a “test drive”, as it were.  

And you make sure to show him all your special features: 

  • You’re helpful when he’s in a tight corner,
  • You offer great fuel economy – are you low maintenance, or what?
  • Very soft suspension; you really help him not to feel the bumps in the road, don’t you?
  • FANTASTIC hand-holding, no matter what the terrain 

The net result is that he throws you around the ’emotional track’, so to speak, without a thought.  He enjoys your road holding.  He gets a kick out of your performance.  He’s ‘clocked’ you as a really neat all purpose vehicle for him. 

Had you been a bit more temperamental, it might not have happened.  

A while ago, I was mentally shopping for my next car.  I’d selected a beautiful beast of a sports car.  I even knew what color I wanted.  That dream foundered on 2 things:

  •  first, I discovered how very easy it was to flood the carburettor and cause the car to break down.  It was a known occupational hazard with the car
  • second, I witnessed a woman staggering out of the car, looking green, after a test drive.  I got the point: that could be me next.

 Your niceness enables an abuser. 

Now, I know we women have this big thing about enabling others.  We try to do it with a partner, also, don’t we?  We get all dewy-eyed about being “the wind beneath our partner’s wings”.  


Stop to think about it, for a moment.  An abusive man will create more than enough hot air for two, all by himself. 

But he doesn’t use any of his wind to raise you up, at all, does he?

See, your niceness is… well, it’s a nice characteristic.  

And it is currency.  It will buy you something. 

Just not what you want. 

Your niceness won’t buy you consideration, respect, or unconditional love.  

But it will buy you an exploitative, immature crazy-maker – aka an abusive man. 

Maybe you’re doing a bit of “Yes, but”…ing, shaking your head and saying to yourself; “Yes, but that’s just the way I am.  Are you telling me not to be nice?  I don’t want to be selfish, and demanding?  Who’s going to like me, if I’m not nice?” 

What I’m saying is this: being nice is not enough.  You need to be authentically YOU.  You need to believe in you, and STICK UP for you.  Don’t let nice be a rod for your backl


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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