We Became Approval-Seekers And Lost Our Identity In The Process.
Very early in my childhood I began to watch the expressions on my father’s face very carefully. By doing so I could quickly determine what kind of mood he was in and adjust my behavior accordingly. My responses to my father were always efforts to keep him “happy”. Whenever possible I used humor to keep him from escalating a sour mood.
Approval-seeking became a powerful defense mechanism that I used whenever I was faced with people who were potentially threatening or violent – and my father was at the head of that list. I believed at a deep level that if I could get people’s approval, they wouldn’t hurt me.
Today I know that when I fall into an approval-seeking stance – and sometimes I find it difficult not to – I lose my identity. I abandon my natural self. The real me slides under the door because I’m concentrating on responses and behavior that will please another — not me. So I have said no to the authentic me and yes to someone else’s wants.
Excerpt from Chapter 4 – The Recovery Process in The Laundry List by Tony A. and Dan F.