“Disapproval Is Okay With Me”

Pixabay: geralt

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I sure have not reached a point where disapproval is enjoyable.

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“Complex PTSD: from Surviving to Thriving

“Early in recovery, an esteemed mentor gave me the affirmation “Disapproval is okay with me.”

Codependently, I enthusiastically welcomed his advice that I should practice it until it was true.

Privately I thought “Surely you jest!” I had survived the previous thirty years with a Will Rogers-like mission to prove that “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

I did not yet know that I had unconsciously gravitated to this all-or-none nonsense because I was somewhat desperately trying to seduce everyone I met into liking me in the hope that I could finally feel safe.

As I thought further about this affirmation, I judged it as patently absurd and eminently unachievable.

Yet within a week something ignited in me that really wanted it to become true.

Since it was still a long time before I knew anything about code-pendence, it took almost two decades to make any progress at all.

The importance of learning to handle and accept disapproval faded in and out of my awareness myriad times.

But now as I write thirty years later, I feel it is one of the most important things I have ever learned.

I rest most of the time in receiving so much approval from my friends and intimates that I can usually let in their constructive feedback fairly easily.

As a corollary to this, I rarely care what people think about me who I do not know or who do not know me.

And, of course, this is not a perfect accomplishment.

Disapproval can still on occasion trigger me into a flashback.

But it delights me to report that I now experience most disapproval with considerable equanimity.

I even occasionally experience some people’s disapproval as a good thing.

Sometimes it is a validation that I am doing the right thing and evolving in the right direction.

Nowhere is this truer than with the disapproval of the narcissistic parents or partners of clients whom I am working to rescue from their enslavement.

Their disapproval of me is actually an affirmation that I have indeed been involved in right action.

Most of the time, disapproval is okay with me.

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