The Clay Person Syndrome

· September 22, 2018

The clay person syndrome makes people dedicate their whole attention to caring for others, leaving aside their own well-being. This curious phenomenon affects not only the moral of the person in question but also of those who care about them.

People with this syndrome leave their well-being in the backburner in order to cater to other people’s needs. In addition, they not only worry about meeting other people’s needs, but they have the curious ability to intuit them. Therefore, the center of their attention is always the people surrounding them.

People with clay syndrome give so much to others that they end up forgetting about themselves.

Characteristic features of a clay person

Connecting with others by worrying about their concerns and problems is a good way to strengthen our relationships. But be careful! As with any other good attitude, when we take this to the extreme, it can cause us significant damage. The following text explains some of the characteristic features of a clay person:

1. They forget their own desires and needs

Clay people give so much to others that they forget their own needs and concerns. This can be exhausting. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, for someone to meet their own needs if they don’t worry about them.


Clay people end up forgetting their needs and concerns.

Clay person giving their heart away.

2. They don’t expect to receive anything from others

This syndrome has a powerful anchor that supports it. This way of acting can have countless positive reinforcements at a social level. In addition, these people give without expecting/accepting anything in return.

This lack of demands or requests differentiates them from toxic people, who use their offers and concessions as a form of manipulation to get what they want from others. Toxic people only do favors when they need something from the other person, unlike clay individuals.

Clay people expect nothing in return, unlike toxic people.

3. They’re very generous people

Clay people tend to confuse generosity with neglecting themselves. Although being generous is positive, their extreme dedication makes them very vulnerable to manipulative people willing to take advantage of their excessive dedication.

4. They’re excessively servile

Individuals who suffer from this syndrome often become instruments for others. Moreover, they may feel bad when they look around and don’t find an outside need to fulfill. It’s in these moments when they feel worthless. It’s as if their self-esteem was conditioned by the degree in which they can help others.

One of the causes of discomfort for a clay person is not finding an outside need to fulfill.

Extended helping hand.

How to overcome the clay person syndrome

To increase your self-esteem and begin to prioritize your needs, you can follow some simple strategies:

  • If someone asks you for a favor, think about the answer. Reflect on what it means for you to satisfy that person and value the cost of acquiring a certain commitment.
  • If you want to say no, just do it. This is the most difficult thing to do. However, if you show strength and confidence, and explain your motives reasonably, nobody has to be bothered by your attitude.
  • Leave guilt aside. Even if you feel guilty for not doing something for another person, think that it’s the best decision for yourself because you also have your own needs.

If you identify with any of this, you should remember that you have needs that only you can satisfy. Either because others don’t realize it or because they simply can’t, this is an essential part of your emotional balance. In the end, the clay person syndrome is an indirect form of dependence. Start taking care of yourself!