“Am I a jerk for being upset that my family didn’t care that I graduated?”

Everyone’s path is different. As are their milestones. And while you can reflect on the events that have happened in your life, the people you’ve crossed paths with, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way to keep you motivated to grow, it doesn’t make sense to compare them to anyone else’s. someone else’s. Especially if it makes you feel less human.

Reddit user LittleEmoChick knows it. Unfortunately, her family is gone. She recently graduated from community college. Considering all the obstacles she had, the woman was in seventh heaven about her achievement. But the people closest to her did not share the enthusiasm. They even downplayed it because her cousins ​​went to real schools and got their degrees.

The woman tried to tell her mother about this, but even she refused to admit her feelings. Confused if her thoughts and emotions were real, said the graduate her story to “I’m the one [Jerk]? community, asking members to share their honest opinions about what happened.

Image credits: Brett Jordan (not real photo)

Image credits: Russian106 (not real photo)

It’s easy to see why SmallEmoChick feels empty. Feeling appreciated, especially from our immediate family, is one of our basic needs. Licensed Mental Health Consultant Sarah Shapiro-Halberstam said this approval is vital to us because we associate it with survival.

“During the early stages of life, the primal brain helps us develop the skills to meet our needs. As we develop, a non-discriminatory bond develops: if we want our needs to be met, we must make sure that our caregivers approve of us and never reject us … feels rejected, panics, concluding that survival is in danger. Therefore, we are starting to develop a great radar that recognizes how we can get approval, ”explained Sarah Shapiro-Halberstam.

As children grow older, they gather information about what their parents approve of and what they don’t. When a parent disapproves of a certain behavior, the child represses that behavior. They fear that such negative behavior will stifle parental love and approval, which is a threat to survival. This often happens and goes unnoticed.

“If a parent openly says, ‘You laugh too much,’ or secretly disapproves of humor, the child suppresses that trait, leaving seriousness in its place,” says Shapiro-Halberstam. “If a parent finds the child’s adventurous nature uncomfortable, the child quickly learns that stability will help achieve the goal of acceptance. The child molds and molds his personality and choices according to what he thinks will impress his parents, encouraging them to continue providing what is necessary for survival.”
Parents know that a child does not need to earn our approval to be provided for. If your daughter came up to you and asked, “Mom, what can I do to earn your love?” you would be confused. But even if you tell your child that he doesn’t need to deserve your love, his primal brain won’t believe you. Our subconscious primal instinct demands that we earn favor in the eyes of our guardians, that they willingly attend to our needs.

It is important to understand that the struggle continues even when the child becomes an adult, gains independence and no longer needs parental permission. “He makes his own decisions and, with bated breath, waits for the approval of his parents. Why? Because approval means meeting our needs, and meeting our needs means survival,” repeated Shapiro-Khalbershtam. “Although he is already an adult and can get what he wants, our primitive brain never matures. As you know, it has no sense of time and is irrational. An adult child waits forever, his primitive brain is convinced that survival depends on parental love and approval. If his parents do not meet his approval, he continues to live with the fear of death in his shadow.

When parents try to fight this tug-of-war with logic, that doesn’t help either. “[Moms and dads] expect to see a conscious effort to secure our approval. We wonder why our child doesn’t change his behavior to impress us. We are baffled as to why he cares so much about how we perceive him. Just as parents are confused, so are their children. Primary brain messages are instinctive and subconscious.

So no matter if SmallEmoChick’s mother thinks she’s over-dramatizing, no matter if the woman herself thinks it, she still needs at least warm hugs and a “good job” to graduate from community college.

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