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.

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