Approved by you
Constantly seeking approval has almost become normal and it´s also something that is secretly admired because you´re trying your best and making things easier for others when you´re always trying to please everyone and have them see you as this reliable, perfect person. So you´re giving your all. Out of the wrong reasons.
We all know that that´s something we should work on. Saying "no" instead of "yes" when you truly don´t want to do something, taking time off to relax, trying not to think about others first, but yourself. And also not overdoing it and becoming egoistic and stingy with your help. And we also all know that we seek the approval of others, because we can´t quite seem to give it to ourselves yet. However, we need some form of it like a flower needs water and sun. We seem to confuse APPROVING words with true LOVE.
But. What if you´re trying to get approval from someone that often (or even always) gives you the opposite of it. Someone who emotionally abuses you and doesn´t care about you in the slightest. It´s one of those situations where after a while you become conscious of the fact that you've been trying and trying to get water out of a dried up well. You became frantic in your behavior, giving more than everything to get some attention that is at least reminiscent of love. And you realize that there´s absolutely no chance of ever getting that "love", but you can´t seem to stop yourself from trying.
"Cut the person off. Focus on yourself. Love yourself. There are so many other people that value you, focus on that", that´s the advice you then get. And it´s good advice. But it can feel like it´s not enough and it´s not immediate help. Cutting off might not even be possible for a long time.
Your attachment to said person has these two sides: the need for the person and also the fear of him/her, the knowledge that nothing but pain will come your way.
Let´s talk about a girl. This behavior started for her when she was a child (what a surprise, I know). For survival alone, there is this need to attach yourself to your caregiver, no matter how they treat you emotionally. As long as the physical needs are met, there will be a bond.
As she got older, she figured out that emotionally she wasn´t always fed, sometimes even starved and mistreated. But she also knew subconsciously that sometimes she got what she needed. Physically and also emotionally. It was this game, where every time she behaved perfectly- meaning conveniently for everyone else- she got the "love" she craved. Every time she didn´t, she was starved. So she kept trying to be a flawless child. And since she got rewards sometimes, she learned that that was correct behavior. And if she didn´t get rewarded, immediately she blamed herself and memories of past rewards kicked in, and she tried again.
Being mistreated and being loved became the same thing because they came from the same person. Approval became a synonym for love. So this learned behavior became her attachment style and her definition of love. And that was hard to leave behind by “simply” focusing on herself and it wasn´t something that she could change overnight.
This girl was also conflicted by the prospect of just leaving her caregiver behind because she knew the good sides, the loving and attentive and human sides of him/her. There were so many good memories, too. And if those sides existed, it couldn´t be all bad, right? And the abuser would surely not deserve to be treated by her so badly, right?
So what did she do in the end? She chose herself. That´s what´s important.
Choose yourself. Every single day. If someone is treating you badly, then you are under no obligation to stay with them or in their proximity. If they don´t change their behavior after telling them honestly how their treatment felt to you, then there´s absolutely no reason to stay. You do not deserve anyone treating you as less than or like you´re at fault for their behavior. Talk to that person, if at all possible. Be honest. Maybe for the first time. And tell them honestly how you feel. If they do not listen and don´t adapt their treatment of you, then all the good memories and good parts of that person can no longer excuse their behavior.
What you deserve is true love and utter respect. And nothing less. Love that is defined by being together and not by doing. And you deserve that just because you are breathing. That´s all you need to do to earn that. Everyone else deserves that too. What should exist is this mutual giving and taking and if that´s not the case: choose you. It will be hard. It will take so much out of you, and it will need a lot of bravery. The reward though is your life. The reward is amazing people around you, you being able to follow your own joy and helping others to find theirs without sacrificing your own.
Visualize your perfect life. A life with happiness and sadness, constant adventure, a life where you know what brings you joy and nothing can hold you back from chasing after it. A life where you are surrounded by people that make you feel good and that you can make feel good in return. When you need to find bravery inside of yourself, the inspiration to do what you need to do: think of that. And when you´re ready, you will naturally do what´s best for you. It doesn´t matter if that means cutting off someone entirely or just saying your piece and getting a little space but keeping the relationship or just being aware of why you´re trying to please someone. You do you- and you will find what you need and what will make you happy.