addicted to praise
August 28, 2012 3:29 PM Subscribe
I am utterly enthralled with validation and praise, to an unhealthy extent. I want to change this.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (25 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I have gifts and talents and redeeming virtues and believe on an intellectual level that my value as a human being ultimately derives from being a creation of God whom he loves and wants the very best for. However, this intellectual affirmation doesn't actually bring me pleasure, self-esteem or joy. Instead, being acknowledged and praised by others does.
I am mid 30s, female, married. No children.
I am often so hungry for adulation and praise that:
1. I drive people away at times with my need to be the center of attention
2. I trade things that aren't fully mine to give away (like my affections as I'm married) or that are improper trades for the thrill of validation
3. I disregard the fact that I am not looking out for the best interest of others or myself in my fixation for praise and my pursuit of desirability/likeability; i.e. I recognize that I am sometimes using others to feed my ego
I am sickened to admit that skeevy lines such as "I thought of YOU last night while I made love to my wife" thrill me. The power of eliciting desire in another is an intoxicating rush. It feels like a fast roller coaster or a really good dessert. And the examples are not confined to only sexual adulation (although that is a VERY powerful rush) - being seen at work as the go getter, the brilliant amazing etc give me that same thrill. Being complimented on my culinary prowess by friends does it for me too. All manner of praise gets me feeling high and loved and wonderful.
At this point I am not interested in talk therapy to get to the etiology of this unhealthy behavior. I recognize that there is likely a strong a direct link between my emotionally abusive childhood experience at the hands of my parents and this constant desire for validation. I'd like to focus exclusively on ending the behavior as it's very destructive and not at all demonstrative of the kind of person I want to be, especially as a Christian disciple called to humility and unselfishness.
My question for the experienced in the hive is: how? How to narrow the gap between who I want to be (the humble loving girl who doesn't crave attention) and who I am? Are there specific CBT techniques I could apply to change my lust for praise? Will I ever, when I'm "healthy" be free of the dopamine pathway triggering effect of adulation or will it be a temptation or mental health issue I will have to battle lifelong like a drug addict struggles with the temptation of the thrill of a chemical high? Steps I've taken so far are to think on and acknowledge the problem and enlist my best friend as an accountability partner in managing the more destructive elements of this behavior (like the acting out sexually).