From Being Too Kind to Being Controlling

Behind altruism, sometimes there's the altruistic person's desire to meet their own needs. Interestingly, they may not even realize that they have these needs. And usually, one of them could be the desire to control other people. 
From Being Too Kind to Being Controlling

Last update: 28 May, 2020

Excessive behaviors tend to be a sign of struggle. One of the resources that the affected person uses is precisely that of exaggerating a behavior in order to hide some latent problem. Therefore, although being too kind is considered a good quality, sometimes it’s not.

It’s very common for a kind person to expect something in return, though they may deny it. On the other hand, it’s possible that the desire to help is a mechanism to exert control over other people’s behavior. 

Another revealing sign of this is when the person who tries to be too kind complains about themselves and how they are. They constantly express their disappointment because people around them don’t act like they expect them to or aren’t “grateful enough”. Thus, excessive kindness can be a form of manipulation deep down. 

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you don’t expect to sit.” 

-Nelson Henderson-

A sad woman in a relationship.

Being too kind

You could say that being too kind means overlooking your own needs and desires, which implies you’re sacrificing personal things to please another person. It also means living to help others and probably not admitting that you also need to be pleased or helped. Furthermore, this trait is mostly present in those who never stop trying to be “the hero” of any situation.

Experts on the matter point out that the compulsive desire to help others can be due to a strong need for affection. It’s a highly common behavior in those who didn’t get enough affection in their childhood or who haven’t been raised to be independent people.

One way or another, being too kind is often a strategy to “buy” other people’s affection and acceptance. That’s the reason why they feel disappointed when others don’t reciprocate. Then, this leads to complaining about “giving too much” to people.

From empathy to control

Those who are too kind are rarely aware of their true motivations behind their desire to help. In their hearts, they feel that they actually care about other people’s well-being.

They’re able to recognize pain in people around them and even feel bad when they see them suffer. But there are two main problems with this. First, they never feel that kind of interest or kindness toward themselves. In fact, they voluntarily put themselves in second place.

The second problem is that they want to control other people’s behaviors. They want their attention, appreciation, or even public acknowledgment for their doings. That’s also why it’s common for them to feel they have the right to control the life of the people they help, and they claim that right as a “payment” for what they did for those people.

An open hand, offering help and being too generous.

True help

Before you decide to be kind to others, you must learn to be kind to yourself. This is a necessary aspect to reach a balance between other people’s interests and your own. Thus, make sure that the sacrifices you make for others adapt to your life, your needs, and your limitations.

On the other hand, it’s also good to explore your motivation to help others. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes analyzing this aspect can help you identify your own needs and use your help in a non-manipulative way.

Moreover, the need to be needed usually leads to codependent relationships, which aren’t good for the people involved. The best way to help someone is by creating the conditions for this person to be independent; help them become stronger. Don’t encourage them to keep looking for your help but to look for solutions instead. 

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • López, A. M. (2000). La metafísica de la generosidad cartesiana. Iztapalapa. Revista de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, 21(49), 27-44.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.