My whole life, I have been selling myself short. No matter when it comes to work or relationships I readily have put myself in positions where I am not living up to or being recognized for my full potential or worth. Recently, I have been putting together the fact that a lot of my behavior is considered to be “desperate”. This comes as no surprise, as I had previously worked on issues surrounding having co-dependent qualities, so desperation is just another reveal of those tendencies.
Desperation is a quality that is stated to have its own smell. It has been said that people can smell desperation off of someone. It is a really potent quality, one that is looking to attract, to draw in connection. But, a connection based off of desperation is not an authentic or healthy way to make a connection. Looking further into the definition of desperate there lies an underlying cause of this quality: the loss of hope. What causes that loss of hope? Many factors, actually. Some of those factors are underlying fears, lack of positive results, lack of support and connection (isolation), repressed grief, experiencing traumatic events, and much more. How does a loss of hope actually lead to desperation? One examination might be one someone that has lost hope in reaching a goal, as a result it might seem to them as if their resources to achieve this goal are scarce. So, the mind and body responds by going into survival mode- it does anything and everything to try to obtain that goal. If you think about it, the people that are hungry cannot help but think about food all the time. It is a scarce resource. So deep down inside, because connection is what humans need to survive, we act subconsciously to try to obtain that goal, but because it is coming from a place of survival mode, we end up acting out of desperation.
What are some characteristics of someone that is acting out of desperation? The list begins….pleading for what you are seeking, trying to please everyone, fishing for compliments, seeking approval/confirmation/affirmation of your words/actions, constantly putting yourself down, accepting violent/toxic/abusive behavior and/or words, agreeing with anything someone says, always trying to impress, not standing up for your needs/opinions, constantly making grand gestures, looking for attention other than authentic connection, moving things along too fast too soon, walking on eggshells around everyone as to not rock the boat, expecting too much from people or too little, acting needy or clingy, mistaking small gestures as grand ones and vice versa, playing the martyr, playing the victim, oversharing, being susceptible to flattery, low self-esteem, being afraid that people will not like you, and others along the same vein.
I learned to be desperate because love was not an available resource with my narcissistic father. Being pleasing and making small was how I adapted to living as an attempt to keep the peace in the house. I was used to making someone else the center of the universe. My fears that developed from growing up in that kind of environment was one that I was not good enough, which led to loneliness, spiraled into fear of intimacy and rejection, and ended up acting out of desperation to achieve connection, in any way, in any which way possible. I acted out, just to try to gain form of attention. I never thought love was available to me and ended up in toxic relationships because of how I allowed to be treated or who I thought I deserved to be with. I was so desperate for love, that I would do anything for it. I never thought I was worthy of it or that I deserved it. And because of that, I attracted the narcissists, the players, and then the desperate ones themselves. Like attracts like, after all. The whole way of being desperate made me a dreamer and a cynic, all in one.
If one acts out of desperation, the quality of the results of those relationships is not going to be very good. The footing is not strong and will perpetuate the same issues, not solve them. As Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” No relationship is set on a concrete foundation if part of the base of it is trying to prove oneself or one’s love to someone else. I try to ask myself that no matter who rejects me for what, do I still like who I am? Did I do my best and honor myself in the process? Those acts of desperation are old patterns that do not serve me anymore. What do I want more- someone to just like me or someone to like and respect me? I should be living my life in which I am bringing my authentic on confident self to the table, not living up others expectations and judgments. If a relationship feel forced or like you are giving too much to it, it probably is and you probably are. Let it go. I am not willing to give anyone that kind of power anymore, pleading for someone to love is a lot different than allowing real intimacy unravel through time through respect, kindness, and trust.
Written by: Anna (Creator of Echo’s Corner)