Most of us wake up every day thinking about all the things we ‘should’, ‘must do’ or ‘should do’. This burdens us with responsibilities and obligations. But can anyone be too responsible?
It’s good to have responsibilities. It is even impossible to live without them. However, if you don’t know how to handle all the ins and outs of your responsibilities, you can easily fall into harmful thinking and behavior patterns.
An excessive sense of responsibility is associated with many issues. Anxiety, depression, obsessions, eating disorders and communication problems are all possible consequences of an overwhelming sense of responsibility.
Characteristics of very responsible people
Being responsible is being aware and committed to your obligations. However, for someone who feels too responsible for things, there may be other psychological issues at play.
Responsibility includes wanting to fulfill obligations. Most people like to be efficient and get good results. Still, some people are on a quest for perfectionism.
The problem with this is that perfection is subjective. It is based only on what each individual considers ideal. Perfectionists tend to set the bar very high and, until they reach it, they feel like their job isn’t done.
As a result, they spend a lot of time trying to achieve their goal and end up behaving in a very rigid and potentially controlling way. However, all the time they work towards their goal, they suffer because they have not yet achieved it.
At the same time, their feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence increase. Perfectionists are rarely satisfied with their results, and they view every small mistake as a personal failure.
being too demanding
People who are very responsible also tend to be overly demanding. They want to tackle many different things at once, often because they feel that is the only way to do them ‘the right way’.
They are very strict with themselves, trying to overcome every adversity and fulfill every obligation and make demands that may seem unattainable.
Being demanding and too responsible can become a kind of trap. The goal starts with surpassing yourself or others, instead of fulfilling certain obligations. If so, you feel frustrated, ashamed and guilty when a situation arises or the results are not what you expect.
Having responsibilities and obligations means meeting certain expectations. Whether it’s finishing an important work project or picking up a package for a family member, it means someone is expecting you to do something.
If you are a responsible and demanding perfectionist, there is no way you can fail in your mission. People who are too responsible set high standards for themselves. As with everything we’ve already mentioned, this seemingly positive trait has a dark side.
Yes, high expectations can help you achieve your goals. But what if you don’t reach them? Things often don’t go exactly as you expect, and after investing all your time and energy, not meeting these expectations can be devastating.
Consequences of being too responsible
Responsibility inevitably leads to having a fixed idea of what is right. It also leads to more concerns. So the greater the responsibility, the more damaging the consequences can be if not addressed properly.
The Psychological Consequences of Being Too Responsible
Worrying is simply anticipating future events. So if you only focus on whether or not you succeed, get the results you want, or be able to overcome obstacles, you become anxious.
In fact, a joint study by Hiroshima University and the University of Central Florida found that responsibility is the common denominator of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Researchers identified three main types of responsibility:
- the subjective need to care for and protect others
- the effort made to find a solution to a problem
- guilt (feeling responsible for everything)
They also found that the latter caused the most anxiety. It means that you constantly have to think about the repercussions that your actions have on your environment, which in turn causes more worry and more responsibility.
Social consequences of being too responsible
As we mentioned above, people who are too responsible demand a lot from themselves. So they also tend to ask a lot of others.
They believe that everyone should share their rigid beliefs and limited perception of what is right. It is difficult for them to understand the behavior that does not correspond to their own behavior. As a result, few people can live up to their expectations.
In short, yes, you can be too responsible. People with too much responsibility have a distorted and narrow view of reality. They take on obligations that may not be there at all. They demand success from themselves.
If you think this describes your personality, it’s important to learn how to prioritize and identify what you can actually handle and what you are realistically capable of. You have to know your own limits, otherwise you will feel worried and cause anxiety to those around you.