I prefer to sit in the background and kind of lurk in most situations both figuratively and literally. I don’t stand out in a crowd if it is large and diverse enough. I blend well with most social groups as well a a curmudgeon blends with anything. I have been thinking about my life recently and how I behave and I’ve come to a few conclusions. I’ve decided to share one.
I don’t like receiving praise. When I’ve accomplished something or created something, or when I’ve done a good thing, I don’t like getting accolades, positive critique, or having it acknowledged. When someone else, someone I care about, is proud of something I’ve done I feel something like guilt not pride. Don’t get me wrong. I take great personal pride in my job and I do want to know I am doing well or that I’m appreciated, but when a good job is rewarded I feel anxiety, not happiness. In fact, if someone comments positively on something I’m doing I usually want to stop. If someone comments negatively, It’s not as bad, but I still feel like I’m drawing too much attention to myself.
I don’t know where this comes from. I was praised and encouraged as a child when it was warranted and probably when it wasn’t. I’m sure there has been a macaroni picture or three saved and displayed on the fridge regardless of quality. I don’t really recall any specific instances, but I’m sure there were.. I think my parents still have a drawer somewhere with childhood artifacts in it. I don’t think a lack of encouragement in childhood is at all to blame. I can say that as a, let’s say, precocious, child, one into everything and always doing something that was intensely frustrating for my parents and my aunts, and really any adult in my life. I probably got a lot more corrective attention than praise.
That thought leads me to this; Maybe I connected attention of any kind to negativity. Maybe I’ve associated or connected the two somehow and just need to disconnect them. How do you disassociate an association from childhood? Aversion therapy seems like the exact wrong direction to lean. What do you do when you feel ashamed of accomplishments or activities that you should be proud of and what do you even call that?