Clay Person Syndrome: Giving Until You Have Nothing Left

If you have discovered the clay person inside of you, it's time to let it out. You aren't  being selfish. You're being generous with yourself.
Clay Person Syndrome: Giving Until You Have Nothing Left
Bernardo Peña

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Bernardo Peña.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

A clay person always wants to help. Do you need someone to help you move? Want someone who can listen? He or she will be there.

This type of person puts his or her needs aside to attend to the demands of others. The consequence is that they can become burned out and sick, as they stop thinking about and taking care of themselves.

Clay Person Syndrome affects more people than you may think. The big problem is that this is still perfectly acceptable social behavior in society.

In this article, we’ll learn a little more about this type of person.


Caregiver Syndrome: How to Care for the Caring

Generosity that Hurts

The people who fall into this category are excessively generous. They don’t thinking about receiving, only giving.

clay person

But this is very dangerous. After all, not everyone is good. There are also toxic people who are looking to manipulate you, lie to you and absorb all of your energy.

Generosity is not a bad thing. However, when being generous leads to someone taking advantage of you, it’s good.

First, you need to think of yourself, even though we’ve been taught that doing so is “selfish.”

Once we take care of ourselves, we can then help others, but by establishing limits to protect ourselves as much as possible.

The Clay Person is a Slave

Those who suffer from this disorder become slaves to everyone else. They are at their whim, no matter the circumstances.

clay person

Clay people are completely unassertive. They adapt to circumstances, requests and demands that others make of them. It doesn’t matter if this makes them feel bad. They’re willing to solve everyone else’s problems, even if it means that they will suffer in the process.

Upon acting like a servant, the clay person tries to develop empathy and an intuition to anticipate what others want.

However, if the day arrives when they need company or help from someone, they won’t get it. These are good people that give so much to others that they end up being used, mistreated and undervalued.

Treating Clay Person Syndrome: Reconnect with Your Inner Self

You can stop being a clay person, but you will have to embark on a difficult journey: connecting to your inner self.

This true “you” has lost its way, since you set it aside and stopped giving it attention. This is what you now need to attend to.

You have seen your life stop being yours, and instead become everyone else’s. Happiness? You’re only happy if everyone else is and you are not capable of it for yourself.

Does that seem fair?

clay person

Always depending on others, doing everything for everyone else instead of yourself, being overly good and generous is not positive or healthy.

Look inside and find that person who lost their way, the one who had hopes, dreams, wishes and goals. This person has not disappeared; they’re just hidden. Look inside of your to find him or her.

What Do You Truly Want?

Giving yourself to others doesn’t make you happy and you get nothing by putting others’ needs above your own. Even though you don’t believe it, deep down, it hurts.

Accept it.

All of this has been consuming you.

It’s important, once you begin leaving this disorder behind, that you follow some simple tips:

  • If someone asks you a favor, take your time before responding. Don’t say “yes” immediately; you don’t have to. Wait, think on it and make sure you want to and can do it.
  • Do you want to say “no”? Then say “no.” Accept that it’s not good to do everything asked of you, especially if it goes against your values and principles, or if you simply don’t want to.
  • You’re not being selfish. You’re actually loving and respecting yourself.
  • Leave your guilt aside. You will feel flushed with it, but don’t take it seriously. This feeling of guilt will try to lead you back to where you were and prevent you from moving forward.
  • Take care of yourself and give yourself time. Do everything for yourself that you did for others. You are the most important now, the highest priority. If you don’t worry about you, who will?
clay person

Don’t go without reading:

7 Toxic People You Should Avoid to Be Happy

If you’ve discovered the clay person inside of you, it’s time to let it go and reclaim your life.

We all have to learn to make ourselves a priority.

You aren’t  being selfish. You’re being generous with yourself.

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.

  • Romi Arellano, Manuel J. Cuando digo no, me siento culpable. Nuevas ediciones de bolsillo, 2003.
  • Fensterheim, Herbert y Jean Baer. No diga sí cuando quiera decir no. Ediciones Grijalbo. 2003.
  • Castanyer, Olga. La asertividad. Expresión de una sana autoestima. Bilbao: Descleé de Brouwer, 1996. pp. 348
  • Shelton, N., & Burton, S. (2004). Asertividad. Haga oír su voz sin gritar. FC Editorial.

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