Tag Archives: Approval

December 29th, 2008

Today – in one of the those great, romantic God-moments I heard this:

“My people pleasing and approval seeking is strongly connected to childhood experiences of “absorbing” the emotional state of those around me. There was a LOT of conflict in my house and I can remember soaking it up and then working hard not to contribute to it. I felt it was my responsibility to SHARE THE EMOTIONS of those around me. Not to abandon them, not to invalidate them, not to OFFEND my family and thereby lose intimacy with them.”

These days, many of our AC3 leaders are afraid to give up their religious goodies. They’re anxious and fearful. Some express their insecurities with hostility, rancor and aggression. At “worst”, I adopt those same feelings. At “best” I feel like I have to BALANCE them, compensate for them, but I feel that I can’t confront it directly for the reasons stated above. This economy works in ALL aspects of my world, not just work:

It comes in big ways and little ways. Just this morning, a not infrequent kind of moment occurred. I didn’t even get my coat off, I  had literally only said “Hello” to Brenda and she somewhat abruptly said with a slightly anxious tone while walking past me, “The dog has some sores or something on her back that she keeps chewing…”

Implications FROM Brenda:

1)      Our pet is un-well. This is sad.

2)      This will require a vet visit, drugs, etc.: More money. This is anxious.

3)      Here’s ANOTHER thing not going right. This is angry.

4)      I already have a lot to deal with. This is resentment.

5)      I don’t want to have to deal with ANOTHER thing right now. This is frustration.

My impulse to PICK-UP from Brenda’s implications:

1)      My fault! This is somehow MY FAULT!

2)      I better meet her where she is emotionally so as not to incur her frustration too.

3)      I had better DO something right now to calm her fears: Gotta “fix it”

4)      My manhood is under scrutiny RIGHT NOW and it’s not looking good.

5)      Oh. Our pet MIGHT be un-well, and that would be sad.

It happens on a much larger scale. I encounter emotional junk in people, other leaders ALL DAY, and I feel the urge to join them rather than leading them through it.

I must stop changing to match, or “compliment” the emotional state of those around me in an effort to protect myself.

April 24th, 2007

So a couple of weeks ago we had another low-grade argument, or if you want to be optimistic, “a vigorous discussion”. The up-shot was, “Dan…you need to just let things go. Just stop trying to make things happen, don’t take offense…etc. etc.” So I turned a corner. I forced myself around a corner and I said…”o.k. I think I can do that.”

I feel like I’ve been sporadically successful at it so far.

But as I work to try to let it all go, I’m forced to realize that nothing has fundamentally changed since….the Fall of 2006.

We’re right where we were months ago. Just scarred and disfigured and with less trust in one another.

I don’t know what else to do. If I push, if I try…it’s invasive and unwelcome. If I let go…she just drifts away. I’m worried that I will just shut down; give up. She’s convinced that I will not shut down. “You’re afraid of that Dan, but it doesn’t ever happen…” she says with a certain smugness.

But she doesn’t know how close I am to just casting off. And I don’t like back-tracking; I can’t see any way back from the place I’m tempted to go.

But…based on that last conversation…I’m committed to letting go.

What a shame. We could have really been something together.

Okay, the truth is: I just wrote that last portion with her in mind…I was imagining her reading my journal. Before making today’s entry, I re-read all the entries from 18 months ago until now…and the thought got stuck in my head that I should let her read it. So that was on my mind as I wrote.

Funny…letting her read it is so appealing to me…even the scary parts that will make her mad, or hurt…because it would gain her attention, more specifically her PITY. That’s what I’m trying to get from her: Pity.

Well, here’s a little something else that will make it difficult to EVER let her see this: I’m having the early rumblings of an attraction for someone else. A woman who actually likes me…she actually likes me. She thinks I’m worth sharing secrets with. She trusts me. I think if I sat her down and shared with her…she’d let me in.

On top of that, a friend made contact with the child of my years-long high school crush. I had it BAD for her back in the day. Somehow, my name came up in their conversation, and this person says something like, “He’s one of my mom’s oldest friends. She tells stories about him all the time!” (or something like that).

I haven’t seen or heard from this woman in years, and I‘ve never even met her child.

But at least I’m a legend in SOMEBODY’S world.

Oh Dear God, please forgive me. Deliver me from evil. Help me up to my own cross. I’m too weak and scared. Lift me up…drive the nails.

Oh God, be with all of the people I am so willing to use.