“Validation Addiction” is not a recognized term in the addiction or the mental health community. It is a term that the author has created to depict a phenomenon that seems to be more and more prevalent in our society today.
Validation Addiction is a behavior in which the person is in a constant search for others to help him/her feel worthy. Low self-worth is one of the fundamental factors of people who are constantly seeking validation. Another common factor about those who have become so involved in seeking validation addictively, is that many of these people were totally invalidated as youth.
It is very important to note that Validation Addiction is largely a behavior that is unconscious. This means that the person does not consciously know that he or she is actively seeking to be validated to improve his/her self-esteem, or sense of self empowerment.
Validation Addiction may appear as the husband who spends hours on-line chatting with other women, while his wife is sleeping or otherwise occupied. It may appear as the person overspending on clothing to be fashionable. It may appear as the politician who gets overly dramatic to get a fearful point across in attacking the opposition. It is evident in politicians such as the former Congressman who spent hours texting other women, and then denying it.
Validation Addiction may appear as people seeking others for compliments on their work, their hair, their new weight, or their beautiful children. It may appear in the Facebook addict, who constantly adds intimate details and pictures of his/her life.
It may appear in many ways, and yet there is a caveat. To be an addiction, the person’s behavior must have a negative consequence, or negative consequences, somewhere in his/her life as the result of this behavior.
Validation is defined as the act of validating; finding or testing the truth of something, or testing the soundness of something. Some synonyms for validation are: substantiation, proof, support, authentication, certification, and documentation.
When it comes to applying the word validation to human behavior, it would mean that someone is seeking or needing substantiated, supported, or proven to be whatever it is that they are projecting out there.
For example: A man who has attained great notoriety in as an attorney, may flaunt his success wearing extremely expensive suits, watches, shoes, and have flashy cars to get attention and admiration from the rest of the legal profession in his area. A famous musician or athlete might flaunt their success by public displays, which may or may not seem appropriate, but definitely grab attention. Are they seeking healthy or addictive validation?
There are definitely healthy ways of seeking validation, and many of us do them every day. Seeking validation for a science project, a major medicine breakthrough, a plan for a house, a design for a dress, a kitchen design, and many other examples, are healthy approaches of validation-seeking to certify, or authenticate a project.
A child who seeks validation about whether or not he is following directions, is usually a child who is seeking support in a healthy way. A worker checking in with his team, co-worker, or boss to see if he or she is on the right track on a particular project, is seeking validation in a healthy way. These examples usually indicate the person has good self-esteem.
Many people are unconsciously acting out a repetitive behavior which grants them some acceptance, approval, recognition, power, notoriety, or validation that he or she is “special.” When a person this attention seeking behavior (seeking validation), and the behavior causes a problem in their lives somewhere, then they are probably acting-out compulsively or addictively. This almost always indicates low self-esteem.