Validation Addiction: A Closer Look
In today’s hyper-connected world, the need for validation has become increasingly prevalent. This is particularly true in our social media driven life, where people snap pics of themselves doing just about anything, including staging pics of themselves with “friends” drinking at a bar.
While seeking validation is a natural part of human behavior, excessive dependence on external approval can lead to a detrimental pattern known as validation addiction. And you know what else? For the people on the other end of a need to be validated, it becomes cringeworthy.
For example: Do you like it when someone constantly reminds you of where they went to school, where they live, how much they make or other persnickety attributes? Are you drawn to them when they put on airs? The answer is probably a resounding no.
In this blog post, our Chicago therapists will explore seven signs that may indicate a validation addiction and shed light on how it can stem from insecurity and the tendency to portray oneself as superior to others.
1. Constant Seeking of Approval
One of the primary indicators of validation addiction is the incessant need for approval from others. Individuals with this addiction constantly seek reassurance to validate their self-worth. Their self-esteem hinges on the opinions and validation they receive from external sources, leaving them feeling insecure when not receiving the praise they crave.
Bragging about affiliations and “connections” to components of prestige is a surefire sign.
2. Comparison and Feeling Superior
Validation addicts often engage in excessive comparison with others as a means to bolster their own self-worth. They may constantly measure their achievements, appearance, or possessions against those of others, striving to come out on top.
This habit of constantly comparing themselves and feeling superior can mask deep-seated insecurities and contribute to a false sense of self-importance.
3. Constant Need to Prove Themselves
Individuals grappling with validation addiction feel a constant pressure to prove themselves to others. They seek external validation as a means of validating their own abilities, often going to great lengths to showcase their achievements or talents.
This need to constantly prove themselves can lead to a constant state of striving for recognition, which may appear as arrogance or an obsession with self-promotion.
4. Overcompensating for Insecurities
Validation addiction often arises from underlying feelings of insecurity. To compensate for these insecurities, individuals may go to great lengths to portray themselves as more accomplished, intelligent, or attractive than they genuinely believe themselves to be.
This overcompensation can manifest as arroganceas they attempt to mask their underlying vulnerabilities by projecting an image of superiority. If you notice someone is hiding behind the school they went to or somehow linked to “greatness”, it’s a massive red flag of a problem.
5. Disregard for Others’ Feelings
Validation addicts may display a lack of empathy and disregard for the feelings and perspectives of others. Their relentless pursuit of validation can overshadow the importance of meaningful connections and hinder their ability to genuinely understand and relate to others.
This disregard for others’ emotions may lead to a perception of arrogance and self-centeredness. Part of the problem comes from a disorder called NPD or narcissistic personality disorder.
6. Difficulty Accepting Criticism
One of the hallmarks of validation addiction is the inability to handle criticism. Individuals with this addiction often perceive any form of feedback as a personal attack on their self-worth. Rather than embracing constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth, they may become defensive, dismissive, or even confrontational.
This defensiveness can reinforce the perception of arrogance, making it challenging for others to engage in honest and open dialogue with them. In fact, when you try to gently offer feedback, they will perceive it as negative criticism and cut you off.
If you notice this in person, run for the hills. They are trouble!
7. Need for Constant Attention
Validation addicts crave constant attention and affirmation from others. They thrive on being the center of attention, seeking admiration and recognition to validate their existence.
This need for constant attention can come across as attention-seeking behavior, further exacerbating the perception of arrogance and self-centeredness. If you have ever been around someone like this, you know that it gets real old, real fast!
Recognizing the signs of validation addiction is crucial for personal growth and well-being. By understanding the underlying insecurities and tendencies to portray oneself as superior, individuals can begin to address their validation-seeking behaviors.
Developing self-confidence based on intrinsic worth and fostering authentic connections can help break free from the cycle of validation addiction. Remember, true self-worth comes from embracing your unique qualities and finding validation within yourself, rather than relying solely on external sources.
Right now, you may be dealing with someone who has approval addiction. You may have even experienced some amount of trauma (see our trauma therapy page). If this is the case, working with a counselor may be the best thing you can do for yourself.
People with validation addiction often gaslight others as part of their own disturbed cycle. Learn ways to protect yourself psychologically and emotionally in therapy.
Disclaimer: This post is made for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. The information posted is not intended to (1) replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified licensed health care provider, (2) create or establish a provider-patient relationship, or (3) create a duty for us to follow up with you.