What is the Religious Good Girl?

good girl religious programming Jul 08, 2022

We often use the term "Religious Good Girl" to describe the typical experience of our clients (not to mention ourselves!), and here is what we mean by that. We have found these 4 (though not limited to) common personality traits that every good girl upholds. The "good girl" is:

1. A rule follower: She loves rules. It makes her feel very secure and safe knowing what is expected of her and what her limitations are. She thrives on formulas that ensure her that if she adheres to a rule, it is a guarantee that x, y, and z will happen. The shadow side is that she can become rigid and stuck in black-or-white thinking for most things. 

2. Adaptable: She is someone who can easy fit in with a diverse variety of personalities. The shadow side of this is she might not feel comfortable expressing her opinions and thoughts, in fear that she would be rejected and unaccepted. 

3. Devout: She is very loyal and seeks out the best ways to stay in people's good graces. She is someone you want on your side. The shadow side, however, is that her kindness and loyalty can be taken advantage of. 

4. Helpful: You can always count on her to step up and be the one who is dependable and thoughtful. The shadow side is that she also errs on people pleasing tendencies as as means to meet the needs of others in order to get her own needs met.

Because she seeks out clear guidelines to live by, religion really gave her a safety net that she was looking for. After all, the promise of high demand religion was the formula: 'If I do __, then __ will happen." So here is what happened when that personality mixed with religion:It's important to note here that the big need the "good girl" looks for is safety.  So when a religion trains her that her inner wisdom is to be mistrusted and to look outside of herself for the answers, it's really easy for the "good girl" to completely disconnect from herself.

Unfortunately, as an adult, she begins to realize that all of this outside seeking for safety has also come at a great cost. It has caused her to:

  1. Disconnect from her inner needs and own voice
  2. Become resentful over those unmet needs
  3. Constantly worry about what others think
  4. Being a perfectionist who is never satisfied with herself

 The good news in all of this, especially if you think this is describing you, is the acknowledgment that this IS part of your personality. It doesn't mean something is wrong with you!  You aren't weak or incapable of being your own person. You are just 1). naturally predisposed to following the rules/others in order to get your big need of safety/security met, and 2). have been conditioned to do so through religion's lens. 

 And you can learn how to work WITH these parts of you now.  You are not hopeless. Right now, all we want for you to understand is that: You can learn ways to effectively empower yourself that doesn't require you to become the opposite of who you are (more to come on that, so stay tuned!). 


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