When we think of addiction we generally think of alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc. But there is an unspoken addiction that is even more common and just as destructive as all the others. It’s the need for approval. This addiction controls many people and impacts their behavior across all relationships.
People suffering with this addiction need a positive response to everything they do (or don’t do). Without this approval fix they go into withdrawal, resulting in angry outbursts, sulking, criticism, sarcasm or even violence. This need for approval, affirmation, a pat on the back… drives a person to become a people-pleaser. He or she says “yes” to every request in order to get their drug.
Clear-cut signs to look for
As in all addictive behavior, denial is the biggest hindrance to deliverance and healing. Our addiction is often obvious to others, yet invisible to us. But here are some clear-cut signs to look for:
- You often do nice things for people but feel resentful afterwards when they don’t shower you with appreciation or love or affection.
- You are controlling with your friends, wanting to keep them for yourself; and you get jealous of anyone else who enters the equation.
- Your friendships are a revolving door. Friends feel pressured by your need for constant affirmation, so eventually they move on. Then you start all over with new friends, only to repeat the cycle.
- Like most approval addicts, you tend to feel lonely and isolated. Isolation may even be your lifestyle. You feel rejected when you don’t receive the needed approval, so you give up trying.
What can you do about it?
- Be honest. Admit that you need help. (Like so many of us, you may have developed this excessive need in childhood. You longed for the approval of your father, mother or someone important to you. Without it, you felt unwanted, unaccepted and incomplete, so you’ve spent the rest of your life looking for it. Yet, it always seems just out of your grasp.)
- Recognize that only God can meet your need–not your friends, children or spouse. Take the pressure off of people and start trusting in God to meet all of your needs.
- Check your motives. Why is it that you’re kind and generous to some people and cold and standoffish to others. Stop discriminating and give love, kindness and respect to everyone without expecting anything in return.
- Get inner healing prayer to deal with the root of your addiction. For many people, their whole life is a vicious cycle of returning to the addiction again and again. Unfortunately, each new cycle of addiction is worse than the time before. That’s why I recommend the Stop Hurting Start Healing Ministry (more on that later).
- You need to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. You have to really want to be made whole and not be dependent on other people to give you what only God can give.
- Be patient with yourself. You are changing habit patterns that you probably developed in childhood.
Change is possible!
Don’t let this unspoken addiction control the rest of your life. You can be set free by facing your problem, being diligent in your efforts and being obedient to God and His word.
I you are dealing with approval addiction, I highly recommend the Stop Hurting Start Healing ministry because of its great success in freeing people from addictions. This program gets to the root of the problem and releases you to be free. It also equips you to live well for the rest of your life. Click the link above to go to the website and learn how this powerful ministry can bring restoration and wholeness to your life.
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