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External validation and parents

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silverhopes posted 8/17/2013 00:08 AM

One of the many things I learned here is about external validation. It's been something I've been working on, in the sense of validating myself and not needing to please everyone or gain approval or admiration... Not sure what the right word is... recognition? External validation seems to contradict boundaries and self-soothing and self-sufficiency, so there are better tools out there. I'm trying to learn other tools than external validation, since it was a tool I used for so long. And one of the areas I'm weak and have to work harder is when it comes to my parents.

I'm struggling right now and thought I would ask for help here. I recently saw my father again. We hadn't seen each other in three years, and we saw each other on Monday at a memorial. And I'm feeling these strong feelings come back. It feels wrong and it feels like I'm slipping into the land of unhealthy boundaries again. I want my father to notice me. I want his approval. And I want to see him again. But there's a good chance that it's not healthy for either of us right now, especially since we're both apparently working on codependency issues. Also I have no control over my father's approval, not to mention no control over whether he chooses to see me again or not.

I am having other issues with external validation and my mother, but am further along in those. Feeling closer to resolution with my mother, but like old wounds are opening up with my father.

What tools do you all use to get healthier and to get past those FOO issues as they relate to external validation? Is it a "just do it" kind of thing or are there things you've found that help make healing more complete? Thank you for any help anyone has.

I think that if I can master healthier boundaries as it relates to my family, then I can have them anywhere because healthy boundaries are internal. How do I get there?

[This message edited by silverhopes at 12:11 AM, August 17th (Saturday)]

Clarrissa posted 8/17/2013 22:42 PM

Sorry I can't give you any advice on this. Wish I could. I never got any real validation from my parents since my family was broken up when I was very young (because of a death, not infidelity) so validation from family members was never really an option for me.

However I did need validation from my H. Now, not so much. Yes, I'd still like his approval but it's not "necessary" KWIM?

It's natutal to want parental approval, regardless of how old we are but at some point we need to realize thatvit won't be the end of the world if they don't give it to us. Our choices are ours. Ours to make regardless of our parents' wishes or approval. Gently, it's time to grow up. I think those who still crave parental approval haven't completely cut the apron strings. There's still a thread or two attatched. I get that you love your dad but it's not your job to please him and it's not his job to approve or validate you. It's good that you recognize that interacting with him isn't healthy for either of you right now. You recognize that what you felt when you saw him was not healthy. Since you recognized it you can work to find better, healthier ways to get the validation and approval you want. What I did was I listed all the things I liked about myseld/ what I was good at. For example: I'm the best there is at my job where I work. I consistently perform above expectations. I rarely (if ever) make the same mistake twice. I *know* this. I don't need anyone to tell me. I also crochet blankets that people are willing to pay decent money for and I know they'll last decades with proper care. No one needs to tell me. I *know* this.

Find things about yourself that you KNOW to be true. Things no one has to tell you are true. Yes, the list may be short at first but over time it will grow.

Hope I've helped even a little.

silverhopes posted 8/17/2013 22:51 PM

Thank you Clarrissa. This really struck something with me (all of what you wrote did, but this especially):

it's not his job to approve or validate you.

This is the truth I need to accept. Maybe simple acceptance is at the heart of it. I do need to grow up.

Thank you.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 8/17/2013 23:14 PM

It's really tough, (((silver))). I recently realized that I felt so rejected by my FOO that I continued to seek out people who would reject me. It wasn't a conscious thing, but that's what I was doing. Awareness is key in all of this and I couldn't possibly have done anything about it if I were unaware of it, right? But, now I'm aware of it, so the responsibility is now on me to NOT do that.

You have to learn to really NOT care what others think of you. It's tough, but if you live your life trying to please everyone else, you will be miserable.

Feelings are just feelings, and there's no right or wrong about the way you feel. Just wait a while and your feelings will change- every time. Accept them for what they are and then, maybe, wake up in joyous mood- glad to see the sunrise- and let the negativity melt away.

silverhopes posted 8/17/2013 23:37 PM

Just wait a while and your feelings will change- every time. Accept them for what they are

So true TIKY. Feelings are so temporary. They're just chemicals. And I can redirect my thoughts when he starts coming up in them. Really, this is all about missing him and wanting to connect with him in the way I know how, which is chasing after his approval. That's what I knew, but that's not how it has to be. Why do I miss someone so much who would disregard my son so easily? I can love and miss his cooking, his sense of humor, his smile, etc just his presence... So weird, but it almost feels like thinking of a break-up, even though it's my father. Kinda disturbing. Anyway, I can miss those things and not feel the need to be around him, knowing it's not healthy. Maybe that's more acceptance to work toward. Acceptance of feelings can bring peace.

It's so weird, but it's like there are so many parallels between this and a break-up. Same chemicals of rejection. Same trouble when triggers come up. Meaning mental NC and overcoming triggers is important.

Or maybe wanting to be a grown-up, but seeing it by his standards. There are other guidelines. Mental NC.

Clarrissa posted 8/18/2013 00:18 AM

Glad I was able to help. I have my own, somewhat unique, FOO issues but I did have those in a patental role as I grew up so I had issues of wanting/needing to get validation from them and those around me. It took me a while (entirely *too* long) to realize it wasn't their job to validate me, that I didn't *have* to have their approval. It was nice if I *did* get it but it was okay if I didn't. I'm more comfortable with who I am now than I've ever been. And all it took, at the root, was making that list and truly accepting it. I knew these things in my head but my emotional state was such that I needed other people to corroborate it. I *know* I doo good work, whether it be at my job or making a blanket. It might not be fancy but it's solid and I would go with solid over fancy any day.

lostmylight55 posted 8/18/2013 09:32 AM

I recently finished a book called "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life" by Susan Forward.

It had some good insight into how to deal with FOO and parents that continue to cause internal issues with their kids.

For me, the turning point with dealing with my parents was, truly recognizing how incredibly flawed my parents are. The way they don't care about anything unless it relates to how it makes them feel. No empathy. The manipulation. Why do I want that in my life when I am working to be healthy?

I had to come to the realization that my parents aren't going to change no matter how much I tried to reason with them, point out my feelings, or give in to their guilt which would make me feel worse.

I decided that I can only have a very superficial relationship with my parents because of how toxic they are. I don't want to make this seem like it is easy to do, it's not. I still struggle with dealing with my parents but I am trying.

victory1 posted 8/18/2013 11:02 AM

Wanting validation from my parents was and always will be something of great difficulty, especially when someone in your family can face you and give you all the positive response and feelings of how proud they are of you and so forth. But knowing how they actually feel about you once your back is turned spells another story.

Yes I did seek validation from the outside which led me astay from my marriage and when I look back at myself as to who I was I certainly had no self esteem or confidence. I destoyed my family and that has no value at all.

Now my story has changed, I no longer seek that kind of validation from outside, its within me that I seek strengh and wisdom, knowledge and the will to carry on in a positve manner and to heal, most importantly is to love yourself for who you are and I do feel much better. From there its working on my broken relationship with my BW and just do what I can. I will be starting psychotherapy within two weeks time to further discuss my FOO issues and my sexual abuse as a child. theres only one wy and that is forward with the help of professionals who can put someone back on there feet. Ive started reading a book called 'Breaking Free'.

Seek the happiness within yourself and the world will open in arms of greatness, gratitude and love.

silverhopes posted 8/25/2013 15:54 PM

lostmylight: It's hard coming to that realization that our parents are flawed and possibly quite unhealthy, isn't it? When a parent has a mental illness - like narcissism - it can be easy for us to think as the child that we can overcome it somehow or that it's personal when the parent treats us a certain way. Why wouldn't we? We're the children, we feel like we should be the exception, that parental love will somehow overcome those tendencies. And sometimes it does. It also depends on if our parents are owning their issues as well.

There's a transition that's supposed to happen, isn't there? We become adults, move out, live our own lives. My father said that someday, when I grew up, I would see him outside the role of father-daughter and as an equal. He also used to talk about unconditional love. I wonder if there are two separate boxes inside my father: one where he'll always love me as his daughter, and another where he observes and judges me as a person.

Maybe the simple reality is that as a person, he just doesn't like me very much. It would certainly make sense. Maybe he just doesn't like me as a person. That's not so bad. That's why he stays away.

I put my finger on what bothered me so much about the memorial/reunion. In spite of his politeness, he treated me as a friend who had a baby, not as his daughter and grandson seeing him. There was a degree of removal from his interactions. I've written him since then and gone to a role that I acknowledge I'm most comfortable with, with him: I said it was nice to see him, asked how he's feeling, and said to let me know if he or my grandmother need any support. No response. It's been a bit less than a week. Why am I hurt by this? It's just a feeling, though, and you're right, TIKY. This too shall pass. It's getting less painful every day.

The hole can be filled. By letting go of the emptiness. That's it. I don't have to be defined by his absence.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 4:13 PM, August 25th (Sunday)]

silverhopes posted 8/28/2013 18:20 PM

Looks like I spoke too soon about my stuff with my mother. I've been trying to get in touch with her for a few days and no response. Yesterday I could tell that she even turned off her phone while I was calling, because the number of rings were shortened.

This isn't the first time she's ignored me. We talked about it in IC yesterday and we're going to keep working on it. All sorts of memories and doubts and insecurities are flooding in right now.

Does anyone here know any good books for dealing with abandonment issues? I thought I was making progress, but I can see I still have more to learn. Struggling.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 6:21 PM, August 28th (Wednesday)]

Ashland13 posted 8/28/2013 20:22 PM

BS here, who can totally relate to this post.

Each of my parents does not approve of things I do and in some ways never has. Especially now, each parent has their wishes or feelings for what is right for myself and children and they each feel free to judge or tell me.

What I notice for a pattern is that each person's opinion is clouded by their own lives and their experiences or friend's experiences.

Anyway, what I come away with is knowing that not everything I do or say will make them happy with me, but they still love me and care. It's taken a long, long time to get to this point and I completely understand wanting a parent's approval. For much of my youth, I was in search of my mother's allusive approval, which always went to siblings but I accept a lot about it now.

It must have been very intense when you saw your father again, silver hopes. That's a long time in between.

Sorry for my long message-this is an issue I face daily.

My mother is NPD and one tool that helps me with every battle is knowing that there is only so much I can do with things she doesn't accept. I have to let go of what she doesn't accept and she has to work on it herself, if that makes any sense. No longer accepting her burdens has helped me a lot in getting healthier in my dealings with her.

One thing I mean is that she tends to lash out when she is disappointed or upset and I finally am able to take it less personally and see it as her issue and not my own failure, esp. if there's no more I can do and she continues on.

Understanding that you did all you could goes a long way and that's correct...what our parents approve of or not, we cannot control or change.

I wish you well and hope it's ok that I answered as a BS.

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