My mother used to say that,” dummy up, kid.” There are still days I haven’t. I do this approval seeking from others that are incapable of giving it thing. Why do I do it? Especially knowing before I even do it, that they just aren’t capable? I haven’t gotten that one down yet, when will I learn?
I will set out purposefully as I did all of my life, to seek out approval which I was never going to get. Especially not from my Narcissistic mother. I now create that same pattern with others, most likely because I am no contact with my N mom. The game is the same, people unable to give encouragement and approval, it’s just new players.
Afterward I think to myself, ” what a dummy.” It’s that, “oh, maybe this time it will be different” thing that we do. You know what I mean by this. Then afterward we think to ourselves, “well, I set myself up for that one.” The thing is, you place your topic, idea, dream etc. on a nice shiny silver platter to them with all these great hopes that they will be delighted for you, but it never happens. A simple “good for you for following your dream”, (even if deep down they think you will automatically fail), an “oh, that’s nice”, heck I’d settle for a nod. Instead they will take the topic, idea, dream and crush it before your very eyes.
You shrink into a ball completely deflated by the time they are done telling you every negative aspect, doubt and critique they can think of to throw your way. You start out excited, passionate, enthusiastic, ready to take on the world! Then suddenly it’s like you turn into a 5 yr old who just presented a beautiful picture to them that you so proudly colored and they rip it to shreds right in front of you, that’s what it feels like. Why do they do this? I have no idea. Perhaps it was done to them and they haven’t done the true recovery work needed to change those destructive and damaging relationship patterns. Maybe they like to feel right, so they make everyone else and their ideas wrong. Maybe they like the I say black, you say white game. Who knows?
Why do we do it? This seeking of approval from people who are incapable of giving it? We do it because we did not receive love and acceptance as children from our parents and we are still seeking out those unmet needs, anywhere we can. I’m excited for the day when I never do this again. Some days I get it right and some days I get it wrong. I slip back into the old patterns. One step forward and two steps back some days, but I keep moving forward and I’m getting better everyday. I’m learning and growing, you are too.
So let’s try not to beat ourselves up to much when we slip back. We’re only human and we want to be loved and accepted. We want our dreams to be valued and encouraged and why shouldn’t we? We just have to remind ourselves not to seek out approval and encouragement from those that are incapable of giving it. Hopefully through our recovery work and healing we will get to a place where we are giving enough love and acceptance to ourselves, that we are no longer seeking it from others. But for now, no more setting myself up as a”dummy.” Anyway I’m no dummy, that’s my moms term she can keep it! I’m figuring this all out and I’m getting better everyday and so are you. Keep going you’ll get there! Wishing you well on your healing journey. Anne-Marie Wiesman
Do you do this? Do you beat yourself up afterword? Are you noticing when you do it? That is the first step to recovery right, recognizing it? If we can recognize it we can change it, so good for you!