Like many women, I have my fair share of daddy issues, and nowhere is this more apparent than in my interactions with other men. This has had some pretty disconcerting consequences for my dating life and I’m truly sick of it at this point.
It’s low self-esteem at its worst.
Like so many other unhealthy behaviors, this one just comes down to a poor self-image. The crux of it is this: I don’t have worth until someone else gives it to me, hence chasing after male attention. Bleak, right? It’s not a great basis for any kind of interaction and it’s this that is truly ruining me.
I’m just following the same pattern I had with my father.
Typical, I know. My relationship with my dad is tumultuous at best, and a lot of the patterns we shared during childhood play themselves out now in other areas of my life. I was always looking for his approval and affection and since I didn’t quite get what I needed there, I’ve transferred that pattern onto other men. It’s basically a recipe for disaster.
It can be quite embarrassing.
This plays itself out in a bunch of different ways, some of which are downright embarrassing. Being way too eager for men’s attention is one of them. I find myself changing who I am to suit what I think a guy wants me to be and this is just ruining me. I’ve given up so many things that were important to me because of the fear of rocking the boat.
It tends to sabotage all my relationships.
Thinking back on all the times I’ve pandered for male affection at the expense of my self-respect, I feel a huge amount of sadness. In the interests of maintaining a relationship, I’ve totally shortchanged myself. Not only that but often this tendency would lead to the demise of the relationship anyway. Why? Because I wasn’t being true to myself or my partner. Instead, I was creating unspoken contracts in my mind and expecting my partner to telepathically play along. “If I give up everything for you, you’ll repay me with love and approval.” Yeah, nah. It doesn’t work like that. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way.
This has been happening for way too long.
It’s become a common theme in my interactions with men. Any time there’s a dude I’m interested in, my self-respect goes out the window and I’m basically a blank slate, ready to become whatever I think he wants. It’s no fun and I’m ready for this chapter of my life to be over, thank you very much.
I try to fight it but keep falling back into it.
Throughout my romantic history, I’ve become more and more aware of this tendency. I’ve tried my best to fight it, resisting the urge to run after every hottie I see. Some attempts are more successful than others. I definitely see myself becoming more conscious of my patterns, but sometimes childhood programming takes over and I’m back to making eyes at the babe in the corner of the party and losing myself all over again.
I’m not the only one.
The more I talk to my female friends about this, the more I realize how common this is. So many women I know have reflected the same patterns back to me, describing their own tendencies to lose themselves for the sake of male approval. It’s endemic and while that does sadden me on the one hand, on the other hand, it helps me feel less alone. We’re all figuring this out together, and talking about it to someone who understands it themselves is a great way to break the cycle.
The answer, as always, is self-love.
Of course it is. When I’m really in touch with myself and how awesome I am, I’m much less likely to go pandering to someone else. Why would I? I have all the love and approval I’m looking for right here! Creating (and sticking to) a daily self-love ritual, whether it be meditation, dance or kissing myself in the mirror, helps keep me centered. It reminds me I’m amazing just the way I am and any extra love from outside is a bonus. A wise man called Marshall Rosenberg once said, “Let others be the flowers on your table, not the air in your lungs.”
Tapping into my independence really helps.
Doing things just for myself is a great way to step out of the vicious cycle of seeking male attention. I’m a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a guy, obviously. Taking trips by myself or pouring my energy into a creative project is a great way to remind myself of that. When I have my own thing going on, I don’t even have time to go running after some dude’s affections. There are way better things to be spending my time on!
There’s no reason I have to continue this trend.
The first step to changing bad habits is recognizing them. The brain is elastic, which is excellent news when it comes to rewiring unhealthy patterns. I know I have the power to change anything I want in myself and that gives me so much hope. I’m not stuck this way and I know that just practicing a few simple things will put me on the path to change. Happy days!
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