Validation is an ugly word

Validation is something I’ve always craved in my life. The agreement with my opinion, the praise that I’ve done a good job, the affirmation that I’ve made the correct choice, are all things I’ve needed like air to breathe.

I hate that I can’t exist happily without the need for recognition from others. I hate that I can’t just be comfortable in my skin and have a ‘take me or leave me’ attitude. I’m not happy with myself or with what I do unless someone is happy with me or appreciates me and that leaves me living on the whims of others.

On the surface it just sounds like I have a crippling lack of confidence, but I think it’s a little bit more than that.

I don’t really want to turn this into a discussion about my father, but when I think about why I am like I am, the biggest influence I can put my finger on is him.

People wonder why I have such bitterness towards him. They ask me why I’ve carved him carefully out of my life with such a sharp blade. He never rose a hand against me or did anything that a father shouldn’t do, but there are other less obvious ways to hurt someone.

He was like a black hole in my life growing up. He would suck up anything within his sphere of influence and you would never get anything in return. You couldn’t even have a conversation with him, he’d be silent and just stare through you. His affection was alien. He never hugged or kissed me, never told me that he loved me, never wished me a happy birthday or tucked me into bed at night.

I found his interactions with me to be cripplingly uncomfortable. There was no ‘normal’, no banter, no ‘How was your day? What did you do at school?’ stuff with him.

I always remember coming home with my school report, generally with straight A’s and glowing comments from teachers and leaving it on the kitchen table where he would eat his dinner alone in silence so he could read it. I don’t even know if he looked at them. He never said anything about any of them. I don’t even know if he read them or not. But I cared whether he did.

I hated that I couldn’t stop caring.

I was always a bit ‘deep’. I liked playing with words and wrote poems and music. I wanted boundless passion and the kind of love that makes you want to burst. His love was skinny and wasn’t nearly enough to feed me.

I suppose it was the way he was and I guess we can be no more than we are, but I hate that I am the way I am.

I’m supposed to be some autonomous adult that after 36 years should have come to a place of knowing herself and accepting her limitations, of celebrating her achievements and fostering dreams for the future.

But I’m not there.

And I hate that I want validation about needing validation.

Because that’s what I’m doing by writing this. I’m fishing for comments that I’m a good girl  so that I can be satisfied with what I am. Tuck me into bed, smooth down my hair and tell me I did well. Tell me I’m enough. Tell me I’ve earned the right to be happy.

Needing validation is ugly and I want to walk in beauty.

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6 thoughts on “Validation is an ugly word

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  1. Validation. A complex background….but not on your part. A child who believed a fathers love and kind words might just appear one day. as needed by his child. As, though what was before , could in some way be explained away (intellectually as the now, grown up adult) and somehow made right. Sorry, kid, it’s never that simple…But, I wish, I really do, it could happen for you,,,,,,it might…But in the mean time….hold tight to your Master/Sir and thank who ever was watching over you when you were a child, finally came to their senses and made possible this love and care you now have. Complex perhaps, uncertain at times, maybe. But not His commitment and care towards you.
    Validation from a stranger from the South who reads your story each week and feels, for those moments “normal and alive”, caught up in the momentum of your word telling. That stranger who reads about Thaylin and “in the moment and beyond feels a sense of longing and belonging that the “real life” has never given.
    No greater gift has come along in a very, long time. And I do thank you, very much.
    My validation, for you – the person who writes. I am so moved by you and your words.

    1. Lovely words – thank you. It’s nice to know that my words sometimes have an effect (especially when they have the intended effect – that’s definitely a bonus 🙂 )
      I don’t think I’ll be able to explain away his effects on me, but I hope by facing them, they might become less of a demon over time.

  2. I disagree- it’s not that wanting validation is bad, it’s that your father trained you to think that getting validation was bad.

    People who are inherently denying train us to associate the moment when receiving validation would be natural to feeling crappy instead- you come to internalize that, that if only you weren’t so “selfish” to need the validation they wouldn’t hurt you.

    But it’s a trick our egos do to defend themselves, that we come to associate the shame for feeling validation hungry with the way things are supposed to be.

    1. That’s an interesting take on it. But yes, I agree that I feel bad for wanting validation because having none was the norm and I got used to that. I guess I felt ‘weak’ for wanting/needing it but still craved it at the same time. That probably ties back into my need to feel ‘strong’ and in control i.e. my ego trying to defend itself.
      (And although I’ve written most of that in past tense, it’s still very much how I feel now.)

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