Validation, Acceptance, and Rejection

The more you explore human relationships, the more you realise just how incredibly complicated they are. Intricate. Even the most basic interaction has a thousand threads which entangle themselves. We need other people, yet at the same time we don’t want to need them. We want to be needed, yet we want to be free of the responsibility of giving others what they need. Especially if it conflicts with our needs. We want to be independent, yet we need others to prove to ourselves just how independent of them we are. Without others, do we even exist.

There were times as a child when I was so invisible, I was not sure that I was actually real. Solid. I felt like a ghost. When someone saw me, they often reacted with fear or surprise. Which sort of confirmed that I was a spectre. Yet at the same time it showed me that I had some ability to be visible on the material plane. Their fear I put down to the fact that because I was so excited to finally have my existence validated, I would be a little bit too intense in the interaction. Their surprise I fancifully imagine was because, well one minute I was not there, and the next minute I was. They were just as shocked as me to find that I was real. I’m referring to the times when I was noticed and acknowledged as a human being, rather than the times when I was seen as a vessel into which someone could pour the shit they wanted to get out of their system. Those times I was only visible as a thing. And those are the times when I wanted to disappear completely.

So many people say that they want to be accepted for who they are, not for who others want them to be. I’ve said it. I hear others saying it. Yet we want acceptance so much, we often disguise who we are, modify ourselves to suit others, so that they will like us. We seek acceptance from others, mostly, perhaps, because through their acceptance of us, we learn to accept ourselves. The thing is, others are doing to us what we are doing to them. So this need for acceptance flows both ways. As we reach out and ask a person to accept us, they are reaching out to us for acceptance. That is what makes it so utterly confusing. The line gets blurred. Misunderstandings occur, and rejection creeps into the situation. Sometimes a relationship turns into a game of who is going to reject who first.

I reached out to someone the other day whom I used to know. I was a part of their life for a while. Then I wasn’t. Then I was again. Then I wasn’t again. In this particular case, I am the culprit, the ghost bolter, the one who kept coming and going. I know why I behaved the way I did. I don’t think I ever explained it to them. I tried, but I think how I explained it, explained nothing at all. It sounded like an excuse. It was. And it wasn’t.

The person rejected my most recent effort to connect with them, and although it saddens me, I think that I would have done exactly the same thing in their place. I dicked them around, and they do not want to be dicked with again. The last time I appeared in their life, I promised not to disappear again, and then I disappeared again. I did leave them with an open line of communication, to keep the connection, but they ignored it and never contacted me.

It was a tricky situation because I had reentered their life using the medium of Facebook. I was new to Facebook and thought it was great, then I grew to hate it. I had a fierce battle with myself about deleting my account. I told myself to keep it and not use it for anything other than to stay in touch with my friends. But I’m a very all or nothing sort of person, and the idea of not making a definite decision bugged me. Then all that privacy issue with Facebook accounts happened, and I decided it was a sign. I deleted my account, but first I made sure my friends had my email address. I love email. But so many people seem to treat it with disdain. Like an archaic form of communication which dirties their fingers when they use it. Maybe I’ll feel that way too one day. So, several of my friends decided that if I didn’t stay on Facebook for them, they wouldn’t email me. That was how I interpreted their behaviour. I accepted their decision. Sort of.

I thought about trying to contact this person again after my last attempt, to explain myself… and then a horrible thought struck me. I suddenly saw myself… I have to say this, but it is making me want to hurl… as behaving exactly like my parents. Pulling the sort of crap they pulled. Chasing after someone, needing them to make me feel better about myself, mostly forgiving me for treating them like I did, and once they did that… would I repeat the pattern again. Yet one of the reasons I behave this way, the appearing and disappearing, is because it was a survival mechanism I developed to deal with the crap my parents pulled. What a mess.

Why did I dick this person around. That is way too complicated to answer. But I’ll try. It may just sound like an excuse. It is. And it isn’t. Whenever I go through an internal crisis, I tend to distance myself from other people. A hole opens in the ground and the earth swallows me up. It eventually spits me out again, but it can take a while before it does. People who don’t know me well, either don’t mind or even notice when I disappear, or they take it personally and feel deeply hurt by it. The ones who genuinely know me and accept me as I am, warts and all, don’t necessarily understand why they are not allowed to be there for me in a crisis, but they get that I need time alone with myself, that it is not a rejection of them, but an acceptance of myself.

Trying to accept the parts of myself which I find unacceptable is always very difficult. I have quite a lot of those. The strange thing is that the parts which I find easiest to accept are often those which others find the hardest to accept. And the parts I categorically don’t like, are often the bits other people seem to prefer.

I have accepted that I need this, that I have to be selfish about it, even if it costs me some very good relationships. My relationship with myself comes first. Not a choice. All my other relationships are affected by the way I relate to myself. I have, in the past, tried not to disappear when I’m having an internal upheaval. To share my worst with my friends. What usually happens is that my crisis triggers a crisis in a friend, then I have to put my crisis to one side as I aid my friend through their crisis. I owe it to them for triggering the damn thing. This delays my own crisis, which delays catharsis, which means I have to go through a whole cycle to reach crisis point again. I love having a crisis, it’s horrific and wonderful all at once. I always emerge from them feeling renewed, and liberated. And the friends who waited for me to return… they get to enjoy the best of me. I  feel stupid saying that last bit… Is it true?

So, if you’ve made it to the end of this blurb, you deserve a reward. My guess is you’ve probably been dicked around by someone like me, so consider this a catharsis post, and tell me what you think and feel about it. Shout at me if you want. That sounds like me asking you to punish me for behaving badly. It’s not. Or is it?

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6 thoughts on “Validation, Acceptance, and Rejection

  1. I, too, go into hiding when I’ve “lost” myself. I’ve found that often, when I seek someone for a shoulder to lean on, their suggestions are usually 2 or 3 steps behind what I’ve already attempted. Or, they can’t see the scenario from the same angle as I do and again, their input is then turned into wasted time on both sides. (that’s my INFJ speaking…small talk can sometimes be painful and/or annoying. For that same reason, I lose patience with psychologists and therapists because I feel like it takes them too darned long to get to the root of the matter).

    Usually, when I share a crisis with someone I am doing it to vent, not because I necessarily want their opinion. Or, I want my feelings to be validated or at least acknowledged. That usually doesn’t happen. Then, the other person gets mad that I don’t take their advice or feels I don’t appreciate their input…it’s a vicious cycle. One that I try to avoid by going into hiding.

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    1. Did you read my post – Just Add Vice, it sort of covered how I view getting advice from others. There’s a great book which you’ve probably read called – Games People Play by Eric Berne. One of those games is Why Don’t You – Yes, But. Which basically is when another person uses their issues as a way to be the center of attention of a conversation. They don’t want their audience to solve their problem, they just want attention. This can be viewed as negative or positive, it’s both really, depends on the person. Narcissists use this game regularly.

      Sometimes we just need to get something out of our system by saying it out loud, because it goes around in a circle inside of us, often shouting in our heads and getting it out of our heads can stop the cycle and quieten the shouting. It can also clarify if something is real or unreal. That is why therapy uses the talking something through approach. That’s why blogging can work as therapy, with the blogger as patient and therapist to themselves. Blogging allows a person to talk something through without interruption, thus being able to reach the end without being distracted by having to go over old ground from which they want to move on, or having to explain the scenario which they already know to someone who does not know it.

      Problems make us feel small and powerless, discussing them makes us feel bigger and more powerful, perhaps enough to solve it. Most people have the solution to their own problems, talking things through helps them find it for themselves (but only if they are listening to what they are saying). And yes, usually people have already covered every option which another person could offer them. This places the listener in an awkward position. If someone comes to you to talk to you, but does not want your input they just want validation and acknowledgement for their side of a story or issue, they want to be heard, then what happens to the listener? They are invalidated and unacknowledged by the very act of validating and acknowledging someone else. They must remain silent and just listen.

      It’s tricky, most forms of communication are, because people don’t announce what they actually want from the interaction, nor do they ask the other person if they are willing to go along with their needs, so we have to figure it out during the actual event. Is this person telling me their problem because they want my opinion or am I just a sounding board? Is that a role I accept, or am I supposed to accept it whether I do or not? And so on.

      Tell me something, how do you view your blog’s role in your life? Do you express in it what you might usually hide? Or do you also hide from it in those retreating moments?

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      1. As usual, you’ve offered a plethora of varying perspectives.

        I suppose it depends on the person. For example, with my new hubby, I often tell him I don’t want him to “fix” anything, that I just want to get things off of my chest, but I’ve learned he is not able to do that. His nature is to offer his advice based on his own experiences, which most often are completely different from mine and not necessarily helpful.

        When I talk to my mom, she usually lets me say what I want and enforces my feelings so that I feel validated, though it hasn’t always been that way with her.

        I have a friend who is going through a similar situation (married to a man we suspect is a Narcissist), and I’ve helped her see things she may not have realized or had the strength to admit to herself.

        My other friend gives me her input, though I may not always like it, but she doesn’t make me feel judged. What I mean is, our friendship has always remained the same whether or not she agreed with my life choices.

        As far as my blog, yes it provides much relief. It’s nice to get my feelings out without interruption. I do have to restrain myself from saying too much because I’m 99.9% sure my Ex and his sister read my blog. I am not trying to protect them, only trying to be professional, maybe? But, I can’t promise that same restraint when I publish my book.

        It’s also refreshing to read others’ words without having to interact unless I want to. I guess I have become a little selfish over the past year in that regard. I have to admit that reading your posts and comments help me a lot because I tend to stay stuck in my own cycles of thinking and my mind isn’t as open as it used to be…a bit of tunnel vision has developed, unfortunately. I hope once I finish writing my book, I can finally be free from most of my past and move on. Writing about it keeps me stuck, but I feel it’s something I have to do in order to help myself, as well as others, hopefully…

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        1. I asked you the question I did because what I see in you is a very caring soul who is trying to help others because of what you have experienced, and I worry (based on myself) that you may put the healing of others before yours. Their healing and your healing is connected. As you heal so they heal too. Be careful of the role playing thing you mentioned in one of your other comments, just in case you end up playing the wounded healer who heals others but loses sight of your own needs because of the needs of others seeming more important than yours. You come first, remember that!

          When dealing with Narcissism, with so many people being in relationships with Narcissists, because there are so many people who are Narcissists, you may end up forgetting what you need for your own healing because you see so much of what others need for their healing and you may lose sight of your needs to help them…

          INFJs are very giving, caring, empathic, which is wonderful… but don’t forget yourself! That’s INTP logical practicality with an added dose of self caring. 😉 INTPs can do emotions too.

          Your new husband sounds great. Women need to be aware of the fact that when relating a problem to a man, men tend to want to fix the problem practically. So if what you want is just to vent the problem without a ‘fix’ it needs to be done to a woman. If you want a fix, practical and action oriented, then a man is the one to go to. Women don’t have the same fixation with fixing problems as men, and are more open to just listening to it, allowing it to be vented without offering a solution. Your husband wants to be your knight in shining armor. Your female friends have a different purpose. Want a practical fix, go to a man, want to vent, go to a woman. There are variables, but overall, men fix things via action, women via talking.

          You are inspirational, just don’t lose sight of the source of inspiration, you, what you need to feed that inspiration! Take care of yourself and the ripples of that will help others, those close and those far and wide.

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  2. I like that. Very wise, and very difficult to do – letting someone into the crisis.

    I’ve done it a couple of times, and I usually wish I hadn’t. But I suppose it depends… on many factors. And I must confess that I don’t like asking for help, partly because it seems to freak people out when I do. Perhaps they’re freaked out because I rarely ask for help, so it’s one of those cause and effect paradoxes or something like that.

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  3. I do the same honestly. I disappear into a hole and do not contact people for months until I have brought myself back out, renewed and ready to go. After several attempts to come over or have me go out, they get the picture: I just want to be left alone. But I think its a good thing because we have to be healthy and take care of ourselves SO THAT we can come back out fully present with others. If that means disappearing from the world, so be it. I am currently hiding out and slowing bringing myself back out from the hole. And I like my hole. But its holding me back and am striving to find a balance between myself and public life/other people.

    But I do not see it as a selfish thing but rather doing something that natural for you to do to cope. The advantages of inviting someone’s input though in the middle of a crisis is that you can have a CLEAR viewpoint. Someone who is thinking clearing can help you see something you would not have normally seen on your own. So, having input or letting someone see your hole in the ground might be useful.

    Thus, helping you get through the crisis in a forward motion. But to invite someone in might take some humility as it not easy to crack open in the middle of a crisis.

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