Thursday, 11 April 2013

12 Steps for Getting Over a Validation Addiction Part One






Last week I confessed my Addiction to Validation and promised my 12-step routine to get over it. I also outlined a potential Magic Pill solution, whereby an Ultimate Catch can teach you to love yourself by loving you. 

That's right. Ignore the writing on the wall. He really does love you.
Problem is too often this seeming Ultimate Catch is more likely a seasoned Player Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. He finds an unsuspecting and undeveloped soul with limited self-worth to satiate their own need for a relationship power fix. When the player kicks the played to the curb, we enter a dangerous Stage Three Validation Cycle, fueled by broken dreams and cynical disillusionment. All it takes is one douchebag asshole to forever corrupt a naive soul, making them believe true connections don’t really exist. This jaded notion can lead to a Validation Addiction so virulent it could be lifelong. These wounded warriors can become the Players for Life we fear - forever praying on lost souls like you or me. Be weary of these these hope-crushing, insecurity-fueling Incubus slutbags. Fall pray to their dark temptations and you could become one yourself.   

Stage Three Validation Addiction comes with high risk of becoming a Player For Life


Cautionary tales aside, this blog post is, after all, about hope for change. Luckily I have the wisdom to avoid that villainous path and I’ve chosen to call a spade a spade and beat this addiction once and for all. So let's get that soul cleansed and learn how to Validate Ourselves!

1. STOP HAVING SEX WITH STRANGERS!  

Whether you use Grindr or random bars to find your hookups, there is simply nothing to gain from having anonymous, meaningless sex. Besides of course nasty STIs, heartache and/or soul-rot. If you’re ambitious, or fancy yourself the entrepreneurial spirit - especially if you’re even remotely artistic and creative - chances are you could be doing something more productive with your time. You could argue it will train your aptitude in bed, but the empirical reality is that great sex requires an intimate connection, typically formed after repeat, and therefore increasingly more meaningful encounters.

Strap yourself in one of these if you have to. 
Obviously not all sex is bad. As Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art: “you can generally tell by the feeling of emptiness you have afterwards”. This is to say, quality sex with an intimate partner is rejuvenating, even inspiring, and comes fully endorsed. If, however, you’re a Validation Addict like me, you probably try to justify Meaningless Sex encounters as Meaningful. You’ll probably have to go cold turkey for a little while. Consider it like Lent in the Bedroom. The sexual frustration is good for you.

2. STOP RANDOM DATING COMPLETELY (AND AVOID THE COMPLACENCY TRAP)!

Stop going on lames dates with guys a decade your junior and justifying them as more than what they are. "But I'm not looking for sex or hookups, so it’s different, right?" 

Wrong. An addiction to meeting new potential romantic connections (that you never see again 93% of the time) is the same, if not worse than meaningless sex, because it eats up way more Productive Time. If you’re not just using a “dinner/drinks date” as an appetizer before getting off, you’re probably on the hunt to fill that missing hole in your life. A hole that can’t be filled by another guy (or gal). If it can be filled by a guy, then welcome to the Complacency. And guess what happens to relationships based on Complacency? 

That's right, mid-life crises, temptation for better things and inevitably broken hearts. And guess what those lead to? As yes, Stage Three Validation Addiction
They say 94% of Complacent Relationships End in Heartbreak or Broken Dreams 
To pull off this extreme form of moderation, you may need to delete your online dating presence for good. Not only is E-dating a real waste of time sifting losers from monsters, but incompatible personality, sense of humor or sexual chemistry just can’t be detected on the web anyway. The reality is the vast majority of online daters aren’t amazing “catches” that are "just so busy, this is the only way they can can meet other quality guys". They’re people just like you, with a warped sense of priorities that feel a burning need to be validated by others. 

3. FILL THE GAP IN YOUR SCHEDULE WITH PRODUCTIVE TIME!

Okay, so you’ve cut two dangerous temptations from your life: hookups and crappy dates. Give yourself a serious pat on the back. If you’re a Validation Addict, this probably opened up a massive gap in your schedule you can now fill with Productive Activity. Writing new scripts or a chapter in the next YA blockbuster bestseller. Brainstorming new business ideas with your mentor friends (but not fellow validation addicts).  Learning a language, building your portfolio or taking up the violin all count. So if you think you're creatively blocked, then go workout or spend your time un-cluttering the workspace for future, focused working sessions. Take on new instructed classes if you require some kind of dictator to keep you from slipping off the path. This is all time better spent than an evening without a real connection, that likely won’t be remembered a week later.

If you're using the laptop to access hook-ups site, it doesn't count.
Unfortunately, potential Productive Time clearly does not equate to actual Productive Time which is always governed by a unique combination of Discipline and Willpower, things you almost surely lack. Here your restless mind tends to wander, routinely drifting back to dangerous feelings of low self-esteem and a tendency to procrastinate. Don't worry. We'll work on that. 

4. DEVELOP YOUR DRIVE WITH DISCIPLINE AND WILLPOWER! 

If you’re trying to stick to a productive routine, nothing helps by trading bad habits in your life for disciplined good ones. This means keeping up with your daily iron-pumping workouts, while avoiding cheats on your diet, to help achieve or maintain your Adonis figure.   

But wait a minute! Doesn’t this just enable your vanity? That preoccupation with looking and feeling good that inevitably leads to Validation Sex and Broken Routines? Well not if you've removed Sex With Strangers from your timetable! The reality is, Discipline and Willpower love company (just like misery). So if you apply this kind of measured routine into your life, the drive to produce work and resist cheap validation will begin to come just as naturally for you. 

It's okay to use beauty to motivate Drive. Meaningless sex isn't the only thing its good for.
I’ve discovered Beauty Gives me Power and not just in terms of confidence. I get my best ideas when I’m working out and are endorphins are flooding my neo-cortex. If eating well and training hard makes me feel so good about myself, why the hell would I slip back to square one, by eating my feelings or skipping the gym? Don’t listen to friends or family who tell you to "relax" or say its okay to “live a little”. These are your Negative Influence Friends. They probably gave up in their own quests for self-validation and they probably don't enjoy that you're better looking then them. Now, what to do about them? 

5. RECOGNIZE THE NEGATIVE INFLUENCE FRIENDS AND CUT THEM LIKE CANCER!

This might be the toughest band-aid to rip-off of them all. The friends that love you The Way That You Are will want you to stay that way and won't like when you change. They might enjoy your fun spontaneity or delight in the tales of your Boy Crazy Drama. In the worst case, they may enjoy making you the butt of all their sassing jokes, so you get used to seeing your insecurities as normal. Deep down, they're almost surely as insecure and unhappy as you, so the idea of you developing Discipline and Willpower they lack will only piss them off. Unfortunately, being addicted to Validation, you likely prefer these kind of friends, because lifelong masochism attracts you to abusive relationships, even in platonic form.  

Negative Influence Friends. 
I'm not saying you must create drama by publicly dumping all your Negative Influence friends on Facebook. Allow actions to speak louder than words. Hang out with your Positive Influence friends (if you have any) more than the negative ones. Say no to a party night of binge-drinking because you'd rather stay in and work on your book. I know, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) will probably make this task nigh unthinkable (we'll fix that soon), but it is necessary if you want to avoid situations that make you prone to bad habits. Replacing bad friends with good ones probably sounds tough. But if you've successfully begun to take advantage of your quality friends and started to put in Productive Time hours, your Negative Influence Friends will naturally become resentful and probably cut themselves out of your life.

6. EMPLOY YOUR POSITIVE INFLUENCE FRIENDS IN THE WAR!

It's easy to identify these friends in your inner circle. They're the busy ones that have real lives and real jobs and aren't partying 3-4 nights a week. You probably didn't see much of them before because you were too busy focusing on your amazing sex-life or finding the one. Well it's time to surround yourself with these motivating forces. 

Positive Influence Friends.


But it's important you spend quality time with these buddies and stop inundating your Positive Influence Friends with tales of your depressing dating and/or sex life. Giving play-by-play commentary of that time you hooked up with the 17-year-old high-schooler and almost got charged with statutory rape (ah, good times). The problem of continually regaling your sexual exploits to your friends, you’re not only tainting your shared experiences, but validating the collective view that you’re a massive sleaze-bucket (and not the Oscar-winning Writer you’d like to one day be). The more air time you give these sordid affairs, the more you satiate your insecurity monsters instead of slaying them. Keep this stuff to yourself. Better yet, stop getting into the experiences you know, deep down, are bad ones.

Instead make a conscious effort to enlist your good friends in the war against Validation. Your good friends (the ones that never condoned your self-destructive lifestyle to begin with) make great Agents of Accountability in the War on Validation. You can brainstorm with these kind of friends, or engage in other kinds of Mutual Productive Time (as long as that doesn't turn into Mutual Masturbation). You can even sign Contracts with financial penalties for cheats, if your willpower is really that bad. The point is, when you’ve made a pact to make positive change in your life, don’t be ashamed to admit it. Your friends can keep you on track.

And whew! That brings us to the end of this week's lesson. I know, I know: we've only made it half-way and we still have so far to go. The thing is, you need some time to digest these first main points. Plus I'm super long-winded and this blog entry is already too long. 

In any event, you'll cure yourself of the addiction in Seven Days Time. 



4 comments:

  1. I cannot thank you enough for this post! I was left by my husband two years ago and have been in this validation pattern ever since and it's wearing me down. It's healing to know that I'm not the only one, and to have someone encourage us on the war of validation. Wish me progress on this and I wish you the best!

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  2. So good! This really spoke to me. It was great to hear practical ways to tackle this rather than the 'don't be naughty it's not worth it' advice you get normally. Thanks!

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  3. Thank you so much for this article that got me out of bed. That give me strenght and hope, everything is better now and I will keep my head up, thank you again for this!

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    1. Really happy it helped and I admire your courage to face your problems. I now blog off my personal site, all about my struggles with depression, if that's of interest: http://www.brycesage.com/blog-2/

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