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The Trap of External Validation for Self-Esteem

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In my personal and professional life, I have met and observed many people who are desperately trying to get approval and acceptance from others, never feeling enough, and being terrified of many forms of social rejection.  For many, hurt and invalidation starts very early and routinely continues throughout their life in one form or another. As a result, so many people learn that a sense of self-esteem and self-worth fundamentally comes not from within but from others, therefore they constantly seek other’s people’s approval or attention.  The Mechanism Behind It When you are a small child whose whole existence and well-being depends on others, it is vital not to feel rejected because for a child rejection equals existential death. And since as children we are constantly hurt and rejected in many overt and highly subtle ways, a lot of us grow up into wounded and self-less adults whose self-perception is skewed or blurry, to the degree to which we haven’t resolved it. If we never explore

Seeking Validation from the Wrong People Is Self-Destructive

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Validation for Healing and Personal Growth People who have been abused, mistreated, hurt, or wronged in any other way almost universally seek validation. We talk to others, tell our stories, write about it, and express it in other ways.  Even perpetrators do it because, in their mind, they are the ones being wronged even though they are the ones harming others—but that’s a separate topic. Here, we will only talk about people who were actually wronged and who tend to avoid scenarios that resemble how a perpetrator seeks validation or actually receives enabling.  Everyone in their own mind wants to make sense out of their painful experiences and be validated that they are right. A commonly used way is to talk about it with others. The most productive scenario is probably to seek professional help, assuming that you can find a competent enough helper, be it a therapist, life coach, counselor, social worker, etc. But, depending on the situation, sometimes friends, family, or even strangers

4 Effects of Controlling Upbringing People Struggle With

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In the previous articles we talked about the signs of controlling parenting and why controlling parenting doesn’t work in terms of raising a healthy, happy, self-sufficient individual. Today, we will look at the common problems people raised in a controlling environment have as adults. If you have been raised in a controlling environment or know somebody who has, you may recognize some of the signs described below. 1. Lack of Motivation and Self-Interest  After years of working with clients and simply observing people, I have encountered many people who had experienced a controlling childhood environment and consequently lost a sense of self-interest and intrinsic motivation. People don’t know who they are, what they really want, why they are actually doing what they’re doing, what they “should” be doing, and so on. Some say that they wouldn’t be so good as some skill or behavior if they hadn’t been pushed by their childhood authority figure, which may be true, but this is neverthele

4 Reasons Why Controlling Parenting Doesn’t Work

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In the previous article , we looked at the most common signs of controlling parenting. Here, we will expand on why controlling child-rearing style is ineffective.  First, one might say that it does work: you want the child to act, think or feel a certain way, and controlling parenting can achieve exactly that. Coercion works when the goal is to make someone do what you want them to do right then and there. There are a few glaring problems here, though.  Four reasons why controlling child-rearing doesn’t work 1. It’s morally wrong  It is morally wrong to use aggressive force, threats, or manipulation to make others comply to your wants. If you accept that children are human beings too, which most people probably do accept (at least in theory), then this method is simply unacceptable. If we were use aggressive force, threats, or manipulation against anybody else in our lives – a spouse, stranger, parent, friend, or coworker – our actions would be identified as either assault or threat of

6 Signs of Controlling Parenting and Why It's Harmful

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There are different styles of child rearing and, unfortunately, the controlling style is one of the most prevalent. Here, instead of gently guiding the child’s authentic self, the parent tries to make and mold the child into whatever they think the child should be.  As the term implies, the core indication of controlling parenting is a controlling approach towards the child. The controlling parenting style is sometimes also called authoritarian or helicopter parenting , and this is because the parent is acting in an authoritarian manner or is hovering over the child and controlling their every move. The methods used to implement it involve violating the child’s boundaries or not meeting the child’s true needs. Signs of the Controlling Parenting Style 1. Unrealistic expectations and doomed to fail scenarios  The child is expected to meet irrational, unhealthy, or simply unattainable standards, and is punished if and when they don’t. For example, your father tells you to do something bu

The Effects of Trauma from “Growing up Too Fast”

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One of the most common euphemisms and justifications for a certain type of childhood trauma is “growing up too fast.” It is a euphemism because it is used to minimize the pain that the person felt as a child when their needs weren’t being met by describing it in seemingly neutral or even positive language. It’s a justification because it is often used to argue that growing up faster and becoming “mature beyond your years” is indeed a good thing. We will explore and address all of this here. The Origins and the Mechanism What is frequently called “growing up too fast” or “being mature beyond your years” is simply neglect and abuse. Many children grow up in an environment where they are neglected and abused in such ways that they become “little adults” who, not only can take care of themselves better or are wiser than others, but also take care of their parents, siblings, or other family members. Its origins can be summarized in two main points. One, it happens because parents attribute

5 Reasons Why People Stay Silent About Being Abused

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There are far too many silent sufferers. Not because they don’t yearn to reach out, but because they’ve tried and found no one who cares. — Richelle E. Goodrich Peoples definition of abuse varies, but all of us have experienced abuse at one point or another. For example, bullying, physical attacks, intimidation, neglect, emotional manipulation, verbal abuse, ganging up, triangulation, character assassination, etc., are all common and typical forms of abuse. People experience abuse in their relationships with their parents, siblings, other family members, teachers, peers, classmates, coworkers, friends, acquaintances, romantic partners, neighbors—anybody, really. Many people listening to victims wonder, “If it was so bad, then why didn’t you say something?” Or, “If it actually happened, you wouldn’t have stayed silent for so long.” The truth is, however, that many people hide their abusive experiences from others. In this article we will explore the reasons why people stay silent and hi