Do you know someone who is addicted to approval, love, and/or acceptance? What lengths do they go to get others to like them? In my practice addictions are commonplace, especially those addicted to approval. What causes a person to develop this addiction? The simple answer is they didn’t receive it growing up and are attempting to fill the void. However, it is often not that straightforward and simplistic. Some individuals were abused or neglected as children and seek to prove their worthiness and lovability through others’ acceptance and approval. Some grew up in an environment where their emotions were discounted or negated resulting in mistrust of their own perceptions. This mistrust causes them to rely exclusively on others for acceptance and to devalue their own internal feelings. Such people value other’s opinions and judgement over their own, often seeking reassurance that they are good and have value. The approval addict can struggle in relationships since they often put themselves last in an effort to gain positive favor. They may tolerate disrespect, emotional pain, and deny their own needs in an attempt to be accepted. An approval addict allows others to take advantage of them and avoids conflict or confrontation for fear of disapproval. They have difficulties with boundaries, saying no, and communicating their feelings directly and honestly. The approval addict lives in constant fear that others will reject and/or abandon them. What can you do if you are an approval addict? Find out next week helpful strategies to manage your addiction and approach life/relationships differently.