While a certain amount of approval seeking is part of relationships; when it is out of control and taken to the extreme, it can create dysfunctional consequences and unnecessary pain.
And when this happens, a man’s mental and emotional wellbeing is going to suffer. However, in order for a man to seek this level of approval in the first place, something within is already at
So let’s take a look at the kind of behaviour that approval seeking creates. On one side we can see that this will cause a man to be: needy, submissive, weak willed, uncertain, vulnerable and passive around women.
Here a man could be like a chameleon and adapt his behaviour to the women’s needs. And whatever gains the most approval, will be the behaviour that is displayed.
The words ‘This is who I am’ will not be communicated in any form. They will be replaced with ‘who do you want me to be?’
Sense Of Self
The approval seeking man has a sense of self that is either very weak or nonexistent. The only understanding he has of himself, is through the conclusions his ego mind has drawn from a women’s approval and disapproval.
If they approve of him, he feels good, worthy and whole. And if they don’t approve of him, a mild, to even an extreme bout of depression, can occur. This means that this man’s sense of self is always dependent on the approval of a specific women or women in general.
Is It Possible
And one of the facts of life is that whether one of male or female, old or young and everything in between; is that it is not always possible to gain the approval from other people.
Sometimes one will get it and sometimes they want. And when approval is gained, it is fairly likely that this could soon turn to disapproval before long. This could be due to a minor difference or the end of a relationship.
And this need for approval will often be absolute; all or nothing. The ego mind works this way and it does not see that there are other options and that it is not always black and white.
Upon seeing this, it then seems completely illogical that a man would seek complete approval from a woman; especially as this is something that is not possible to gain from another adult and is more of a need that a child would have.
On the surface, it sounds completely ridiculous to say that a man is viewing a woman through the eyes of a child. Because physically this is not possible; the boy that the man once was, is no longer visible.
And yet, the years of one’s childhood, are when one first seeks the complete approval of one’s caregivers. At this time it is a matter of survival, there is no middle ground.
Emotional And Mental Age
Due to ones mental and emotional age often developing at a different rate to ones physical age, it is not much of a surprise, to see that such an illusion could be created.
This means that although a man can look like man and not a boy, emotionally and emotionally their behaviour could be childlike.
Here the ego mind causes one to regress to a different emotionally age or to what is often called the inner child. And if a man’s emotional development was inhibited at a certain age, it
will cause the man to regress to that age.
This could then be to an age where the man’s whole sense of survival was based on a caregiver and this caregiver was more than likely a woman.
And all that has yet to be healed and integrated within the man, will then be projected onto other women. These projections could be extremely powerful and emotionally charged or fairly easy to spot, with minimal emotional intensity.
Whether these projections are on one side or the other of the spectrum, will largely depend on the quality of nurturing that this man received as a child.
The following factors will play an important part in forming this need for approval in later years:
· A caregiver that is physically distant
· Mild to extreme abuse from caregiver
· Emotionally unavailable caregiver
· Having a caregiver that is over worked and to busy
· Emotionally and mentally undeveloped caregiver
· Absent male figure to learn from and model
Each one of these and the many other factors, will often define a man’s mental and emotional growth. And when this early development has been affected in this way, unless it has been looked at and processed in some way, it will end up being projected onto women.
So, if approval feels good and allows a man to feel a sense of wholeness and of being worthy; disapproval must create incredible pain. And this is not just the pain of being disapproved of by a certain girl; it is an accumulation of pain; pain that has built up from childhood and then through many adult years.
Through gaining the approval of a woman, this emotional pain within is being regulated. However, unless this is awareness of the original pain, it will continue to play out and to create the same patterns of behaviour and the same mental and emotionalconsequences.
The past is often defining how a man interprets women. This causes a man to seek something that cannot be given by women. To receive complete approval is something a child needs from its caregivers and this is something that is rarely possible in adult to adult relationships.
And the more that a man seeks approval from women the less chance there will be of getting it. If he does, he will be living a lie and being someone - who he is not. Although a man can look to a woman to fulfil his unmet childhood needs, the women is ultimately not his mother and is a human being with needs.
Relationships are always an exchange; so if a man is looking to take so much, what is the woman going to receive?
To let go of the past and become more present with women, one needs to make a choice. And this could be to change ones behaviour or to reach out for some assistance.
In the information age of today, there is plenty of information and people who have answers and solutions.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.