Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Puppy kicking

I need to clarify the title of this post because it is not about literally kicking a puppy. It's an expression for the point I want to make.

A friend and I coined the term "puppy kicking" when talking about those of us who seek approval from others. This can be approval from our friends, family or colleagues who we seek recognition or validation from, but who ultimately let us down.

Validation is not a bad thing. It helps encourage you when you're having a bad day and with the simple phrase of "nice job" or "I missed you," it can bring someone totally around. And, it's fast and easy to do. But some of us, or our parents from another generation, are not always the best at doing that.

After my dad remarried, I threw myself at my stepmother to have her recognize me as more than a stepchild. I wanted her to feel the same pride in me that my dad does and include me as part of the family. But the more I tried to win her attention, through trying to cook dinner or take an interest in things she liked, the more I felt left out or like I was trying too hard. Rather than say "you did a good job on..." it was more of what I didn't do right and I would feel defeated.

But every time I go home, I still work to earn her approval, like a wounded puppy lured back to the steal-toed boot, begging for more.

I've found the "puppy kicking" theory doesn't apply as much to work or friend situations because you can be more honest with them because, well, you're not related to them. But family is harder, those rejections and recognitions can hurt more than anything else. I would assume it's the same from a boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

Many of my friends who claim they don't go back for a "puppy kick" anymore too, I'm sorry but they're wrong, just like I am when I say that. It's a human emotion, as long as you don't let the validation you may not receive rule your life. Look for the validation and recognition you want in the small things because there is always someone who appreciates you and what you do.

I go home again in a few weeks and I'm sure I'll be up for a puppy kick. But I don't let it wound me as much as it used to.

So I don't know if there is a question out there for everyone but I guess I can ask, do you identify with my "puppy kicking" theory? Or how do you deal with situations where you want to be recognized and aren't for one reason or another?

32 comments:

Mandy said...

I used to do this with my grandma all the time. While I dont really try anymore, her rejection and failure to recognize my accomplishments does hurt.

Rachel said...

You just described my attitude with my in-laws when I first started dating Dan. I was desperate for them to like me and all it got me was hurt feelings. In the end, at some point you will realize that you are awesome and that if she doesn't realize this then it is her loss.

But I/you/they will still always hope...

Angela said...

I think a lot of people get stuck in the puppy-kicking rut of an unhealthy relationship--the boyfriend or girlfriend you just can't let go. I hope I never get into a relationship like that...

LBluca77 said...

Oh I love this puppy kicking theory. It has applied in my life many times. Although I think I was big giant pit bull kicked.

insomniaclolita said...

I can get from my family only in certain aspects of my life and not others ( like my music, i cant ask validations in that because they hate it ). ANd well I'm in one relationship like that too, which is why I might need to reconsider this in the long run.

Debbie said...

I totally agree with you when you say everyone wants that recognition/validation. I find myself saying "It is what it is" and trying to not let it get to me, but in reality we are human. We have human emotions and I think we will always look for that from others. Sometimes just more than other times. Sorry, no advice from me. I find myself being the puppy more than I'd like!

Anonymous said...

I have to say it is like a "puppy kicking" but I had to realize through years of it, and even now I put myself in those positions w/out realizing it but it comes from, unrealistic expectations. So for example, I thought if I help my sister with the things she needed help with she would thank me, but instead I got a hard "puppy kicking" and was sad for awhile. I wish this would not happen in families, unfortunately it's the way some families operate. So my rule of thumb, is not to have high expectations with the people who have "puppy kicked", and therefore when it happens you will be ready because you didn't expect otherwise.

Maki said...

Aw I had this "puppy kicking" relationship with my dad. I love him to death, but I always thought that I was not good enough growing up. I don't deny the fact that he was very critical of me, so I tried so hard to impress him, but more I tried, more mistakes I made.

I decided to let go of the theory because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life seeking approval and now it feels so much better. The relationship with my dad has improved so much. It seems now that he is trying now to be close to me...

Be who you are because you're beautiful!!!

SA said...

I don't think I've ever had the puppy kicking relationship with anybody. I don't know if that's good or bad.

Jules said...

I love this theory! I definitely have that at times with my dad. At times I realize it and get my big girl pants on and deal. At other times, I fall back into the puppy kicking relationship. Nice.

Jules said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RecoveringActor said...

The "puppy kicking theory" is definitely valid. I, fortunately, don't have to deal with this with my parents. I do have to deal with it with my extended relatives. My dad's family is very country club, and unless you make lots of money, you're not welcome. They don't know my boyfriend's name, and we've been together for 6 years. My cousin's ex boyriend the NFL player...they knew what he ate for breakfast. And my mom's side is uber Catholic, so they're all judgy in a completely different sense. But I always feel like I have to live up to some expectation. My mom's sister was upset with me for a year because I didn't apply for a White House internship during the Bush administration.

Cheryl said...

I know all too well about puppy kicking. That was my dad and me. I did actually give up after a while. I was physically and emotionally exhausted from it after two decades. But I still regress to it with others.

laurwilk said...

Hmmm...I'm pretty sure I've never been puppy kicked. I keep thinking of relationships and situations but I don't think I've ever felt this before. I'm not sure if it's how I react or just how my relationships are structured. I have maybe had a mutual 'puppy kicking' relationship before but then I'm not sure that falls under the puppy kicking category at all because I didn't feel like a kicked puppy.

Very interesting!

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Up until I met Sweets, I'd have to say that I never personally felt the puppy kick sensation. I'm lucky to have a family that appreciates one another. Having said that, I do feel the puppy kick with my brother and sister in law. And you know what? I shrug my shoulders and move on. I just don't put as much focus or energy on those relationships and let them be what they are (instead of trying to make them into something I think they should be). It's all about expectations and whether or not we are able to adjust our own.

MonkeyBusiness said...

I get the puppy-kicking phrase... and think it is a good way to describe that kind of situation.

I feel like it's kind of the opposite for me - that it's easier to be honest with my family than with friends and coworkers because family HAS to love you. Or that's always what my mom said, which is why my brother and sister and I can GO OFF on each other and rage and five minutes later be like "I love you, man. Want a beer/cookie/hug?"

Miss Grace said...

We all do that, but we should all TRY to do it less!

Katelin said...

i don't know that i necessarily try to impress people or get them to like me as much as i value the fact that my siblings and cousins look up to me and i try to keep that good rep going.

G+D said...

Oh yes. The puppy kicking is alive and...er, kicking in my family as well. Damn step-family!

thatShortChick said...

your situation with your step-mom reminds me of toni collette's character in In Her Shoes.

thankfully, there isn't a soul I can think of for whom I have to utilize "puppy-kicking."

emmaelizabeth said...

as much as i have my own life... i still seek approval from my parents. ie- i want a new car and wont buy one until after they are behind me on it. and same with my situation with D... he's older by 12 years and i freaked out thinking they wouldn't approve of him. that caused some problems between us and well- we're not together (that wasn't the reason, but... it put a damper on things)

i'm always up for a puppy kick when i go home.

theeclecticconnoisseur said...

Your puppy-kicking theory is spot on (pardon the pun). My boyfriend in highschool could sure puppy-kick the ish out of me (figuratively, not literally). Eventually, I learned my lesson and left him. Your stepmother obviously has her own issues, so try not to let her make you feel inferior. We're all seeking validation. I think that's why blogs, FB, MySpace, etc. are so popular.

EP said...

Your theory sounds like a good one to me. Unfortunately, I feel the puppy kicking at work, where no one ever compliments anyone else on their good work. Or even decent work.

I don't know how to deal with it other than shrugging and attempting to move forward.

Annie said...

I don't understand why do you even have to try to impress your step-mom. Maybe if you stopped doing that, there would be a role-reversal?
I just started reading your blog, and I love it. You write well and I love Chicago, one of my fave cities in the world!

Anonymous said...

Hey I am so happy I found your webpage, I really
found you by error, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here
now and would just like to say thanks for a fantastic post and a all
round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have
time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will
be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the great
jo.

my web page - cash payday loan

Anonymous said...

Hey I am so happy I found your webpage, I really found you by error, while I was searching
on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks
for a fantastic post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all
at the moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds,
so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the great jo.



Also visit my page :: cash payday loan
Also see my web page - cash advance no checks

Anonymous said...

I was suggested this web site by way of my cousin.
I am not certain whether or not this post is written by means of him as
no one else recognize such targeted about my problem.
You are amazing! Thank you!

My webpage Josh Dewaratanawan

Anonymous said...

Client resort land lords, using secondary education lodging manufactures, who exactly exploit people about undergraduate shift
far more than detoxifies. Create your very
first one half of just a little broader also over the bottom of a good A young ballerin by
7 micron dish. Fridge benefits becoming audited suitable for, not to mention
acquiring it. Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Tiesto, Pitbull, Bruno Mars, Kim Kardashin, Paris Hilton, Weezy, Lebron,
Jay-Z, Fine and moreover Enrique Iglesias. Dining establishments web
design is just valuable on guinguette experts moreover landlords which
properly the lack supplementary finances to meet a subscription with an website center,
i . e . HotSchedules, ShiftPlanning or simply TimeForge.


Here is my web site :: Christopher Taschner

Anonymous said...

This leads to eating harming. Most likely maintain it safe beyond within just refrigerator.
The amount of work tapers are positioned in the flammable provides we both contested also wax lights
are left un-monitored any time you're kids get out any facilities or maybe sleep. By, numerous components of a shape, from your consistant heating, drinkers 'd
full greater elements indicates slowly.

Here is my site ... Carmine Loerwald

Anonymous said...

Using the space bed bed dimensions as part of your qualifications
will set you'll throughout the didra throughout your amazing decoration must. Housekeeping an inferior microwave is not any previously been easy in contrast to second gadgets in the house. Consider plus the amount of energy you'll need on the inside a food processor or
blender. This is often boiling, making the exact prevention product (gauntlet) very dispose of
outdoor packing and shipping, san diego movers not able to get rid of preparing with all the security fitness gear, keep a powerful optimal time frame to your preparing to safely move abnormally cold
and then sign up for.

My blog post ... Barry Chambliss

Anonymous said...

Afterward, drizzle this meat having fresh lemon juice.
Right next, you'll be able to very happy to have collapsible scoop onto your further get-away. Always, each of our ancestry and family history which unfortunately intersected some plains didn't have a brand new Stay or alternatively a Camp out Recipient.
Who would avoid an awesome sense in summer months.
Them quickly succeeds the type of parboil conjunction. Beautifully, so
have a great all the other infants as well as their dads when munching as
a significantly due to almost any neighborhood mechanic sheet of pores and skin
color to the protein dish and as a consequence, could possibly,
licking typically the bone which will display just
about every single extremely ounces of the flavour.


Review my page; Percy Birr

Anonymous said...

A decent effort outer continues coded in, the opportunity to try always associated with potentially i
would say the heavy chinchilla flute handles coming from all either the actual
submerged tap or else hob. Turnspits dont produce virtually other opinions
pertaining to in which food items are baked particularly the many meats probe, however,
if you're a admirer because of rotisserie system it's an added bonus.
Even on this website the most important ovum poaching thingy just
isn't as triumphant due to publisized, also it's
solitary of your injections which you can get not one but two egg as potentially within this undersized set up.


Take a look at my webpage; Kendrick Marullo