In case you missed our last podcast episode, you can catch that one here:
Podcast Episode 21: Approval Addiction Outline:
- Dissecting Approval Addiction
- Analyzing People-Pleasing
- Perfectionism’s Trap
- My Issues with Perfectionism
- Moses’ Issues with People-Pleasing
- Podcast Transcript
Good afternoon! Welcome to Episode 21: Healing Our Brokenness. Today’s Episode is entitled, “Approval Addiction”.
Dissecting Approval Addiction
Perfectionism and People pleasing are more acceptable words to say. It sounds better and makes us feel better than to tell someone that we suffer from approval addiction. Saying the words approval addiction makes us want to cringe. However, the deeper issue of these two sins is the need for approval. When it comes to the brokenness that occurs in our lives, either we tend to follow in the footsteps that this emotion caused, or we will do the exact opposite. People pleasing and perfectionism stem from rejection. If we are rejected, then the natural thing to do is to 1) disappear, or become invisible, or 2) to make sure that someone sees me.
First of all, we will examine the sin of people pleasing. When it comes to people pleasing, we are focusing on doing the things that people want us to do. If it gets to the extreme, where we are so trying to keep everybody happy, that we have literally lost our own sense of self in the process, that’s when we get to the point of waking up one day, and then asking ourselves, “Okay, what do I want?”
I have done everything that everyone else wanted me to do. How do I live outside of this? For example, If there are 50 people in a room, and we took a survey to see how all fifty of these people thought that we should style our hair, we could possibly have anywhere between 20 to 50 answers. What if we decided to follow their advice, we’d be going around just like the energizer bunny, worn out, and a tired, hot mess. They would be happy, but we wouldn’t be because we have decided to forego being true to ourselves. We have lost a sense of what we value and hold true to ourselves.
The next sin that we will examine is that of perfectionism. I was abandoned by my dad at age 11. I felt rejected. Since my mom and dad were no longer together, and we were total opposites, and I had to have some kind of conclusion to come to in a child’s mind, then I felt rejected by her. Thirdly, I had a situation where I stood outside of the Baptist church that I grew up in, and one teenager said to another, “Her mother is so beautiful. I wonder what happened to her.”
To a teenage girl, this is devastating. Mix it in with the fact that I already had double issues of rejection from my parents, as well as physical insecurities. It rocked my world. I internalized what was said. And then, I was setup on the course for dating and then marrying my ex-husband, who had his only brokenness of being controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive, serial cheating, and the list goes on. I endured a 20-year marriage of this. And the question is, since I had grounds for divorce, why did I stay so long?
My Issues with Perfectionism
The above two reasons that I mentioned: extreme insecurities about my appearance and the three-part rejection issue. He was able to keep me in his back pocket so long because of my low-self worth. And, unfortunately, in my brokenness, I allowed it. It wasn’t until about three years ago that I got to the root of my perfectionism/approval addiction issues.
God was gracious and merciful at the time. Secondly, he showed me how it played out. I was the rule follower. The “good girl” in grammar school and high school. Katina didn’t get into trouble. My perfection played out in winning spelling bees, high grades in school, and performing in oratorical contests. I loved doing all these things. However, there was also recognition for doing all these things. Instead of choosing to become invisible, I chose to be seen.
Because of my ex-husband’s brokenness, he pretended like all I had to do was a few things and we would get back to the way that things were. What I didn’t know in the beginning is that I could do 50 things, or 1000 things, and the relationship was never going back to the beginning. I had been love-bombed, gaslight, devalued, and being groomed for discard unfortunately.
Perfectionism went from one area of my life to every area as I tried to fix him and give structure and control an out-of-control person. Who was I fooling? There was a two-way street going. I was on a mission to the fixing what he needed, and I took the devil’s bait of getting my self-worth from him instead of God. We will never be filled by another individual in an area that only God can fill. And if you are dealing with someone with his type of brokenness, they will just keep adding to the list, making you think, “if only you do this”. Trust me, it will never happen.
Moses’ Issues with People-Pleasing
Moses had the same setup from the Israelites. He led the
people out of Egypt as God had told him, but then all of the
needy people were coming to him for everything.
Here is the scripture taken from Exodus 18:
“18 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her home, 3 along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner[a] in a foreign land”), 4 and the name of the other, Eliezer[b] (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God.
6 And when he sent word to Moses, “I,[c] your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her,” 7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. 8 Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. 9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.”[d] 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God;
16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.
19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.”
What happened to Moses is kind of like having your children say, “Mom”. You answer and then it turns into fifty more times. And to be honest, by then you are aggravated, and ready to run away or ring someone’s neck. It gets played out real fast. However, like in my relationship, Moses had his rejection issues from birth, and then his life in Egypt that were never resolved. He got caught in people pleasing/approval addiction. He could help the people in their neediness, and they could help provide him with the approval that he craved that should have been filled by God.
What happens? We get tired after a while. Emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological exhaustion takes place on both sides. Codependency sets in, like in me and Moses’ situation. Bottom Line: We can’t give people what they need.
God is telling us like he told Martha, “Come, sit at my feet. Rest in me. Fill your soul with spirit-filled activities. People are never going to be enough.” He is a jealous God. And he is jealous of our people worship.
He keeps telling us: “Come unto me all ye that labor, and I will give you rest.”
When we choose people pleasing and perfectionism over God, then we choose to settle for broken pieces of shame, other people’s expectations, rejection, unworthiness, and unacceptance.
So, how do we start the recovery process from approval addiction?
- We remind ourselves that our identity is in Christ.
- We speak to our soul and tell it, “God loves you!”
- Remind ourselves that Jesus was despised and rejected so he can identify with our pain.
- Christ is enough, and we are enough in Christ.
- Rest in God.
- We tell ourselves the follow statement:
“We are all broken, and so when we look to others for approval, we are getting approval from everyone else’s broken lens.”-Katina Horton
Thank you for listening to Healing Our Brokenness: Episode 21: Approval Addiction. I hope that you have been able to have some takeaways to add to your healing. God bless!