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Seeking/Begging For Validation Beyond What One Expect

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oops!

Confident
I have found myself in life asking/begging for validation of the weirdest stuff(my behaviors/feelings) The weirder it is the tougher time I have validating.

My weird is normal to most. I get mostly the validation one would expect. Somehow this "weird" is me looking for something else.

Most recent story but still struggling to figure out what I was looking for. I got divorced about 5 years ago. I kept house and nieghbors. Soon after I got a dog. Nieghbors loved dog. Nieghbors respected me. Which I presume I reciprocated. I have to be gone for 12 hrs a day for work. I always made sure my dog was taken care of. Sometimes nieghbors would be my help. A couple years later I built a fence. I asked all nieghbors to help me know how my dog behaved while I was gone. No complaints. I then gathered feedback about getting a companion dog. No reservations before and no complaints after.
Then after 4 years of 1 dog and a year of a second I get a new nieghbor. Older retired couple, home all day. Moved from Arizona to podunk Illinois because they didn't get along with people.

Soon they were canvassing nieghborhood trying to complain about my dogs. In fact I believe they may have 1 or 2 legit for themselves with my dogs. However the nieghborhood had 0. The rest of niegjborhood has dogs/kids/loud trucks.

When I heard of the canvassing of nieghborhood I approached and asked about issues they may have. I was hit with a bombardment of complaints they thought other nieghbors should have. I tried to singe down to just thier complaints. I even offered to hire a person (couple hundred bucks a month) to let my dogs out for a half hour at a time my fenced in dogs wouldn't inconvenience them.

Answer. You should not have those kinda dogs in this nieghborhood. I can see through your nice guy appearances.

*This is important part to me. Not the behavior/breed of my dogs. Not a grumpy old man.

I went back and recanvassed my own nieborhhood. I found myself asking everyone within 3 houses if my dogs bothered them. If my dogs intimidated them. If my nice guy personality intimidated them.

I got all the answers I was "searching" for on surface but I still am not sure what I was asking.

However in time frame I couldn't stop asking nieghbors and since then I have been still asking myself.

Why did I risk my relationship with nieghbors by asking such uncomfortable questions? Why couldn't I stop? Why did I recieve nothing but positive feedback and still feel invalidated?
 
Don't know your background, but I also work out if my behaviour is ok based on what I think the response of others is to me. And this is a constant thing. I am very aware, all day, every day, about this and moderate myself in response. It's tiring and exhausting.
It also makes us inauthentic.

What it comes from, for me (and this may be different for you?), Is my mum and how I was brought up. My mum is a very conditional person. You have to behave in the way she decides is right otherwise she will humiliate you, or rage at you, or ignore you. Growing up with that is toxic. So I learnt that everything I do is graded and conditional. I can't express me or explore me because I have to be how she wants, with the rules changing as and when she decided/decides to change the rules. Essentially: total emotional manipulation and control.
Years of that, makes it hard to be me now. So I constantly survery the environment to work out how to behave. My sense of self, and taking space, and having boundaires: nonexistent and am still learning about.

If you had something similar, makes sense you would ask and ask about this. To make things safe for you.

So: whether someone likes your dogs or not: not your responsibility. It's not your job, and it's impossible, to make everyone in your neighborhood happy. Just make you and your dogs happy.
 
I went back and recanvassed my own nieborhhood. I found myself asking everyone within 3 houses if my dogs bothered them. If my dogs intimidated them. If my nice guy personality intimidated them.
I'll be real. If a stranger kept knocking on my door asking me if their dog or their personality intimidated me I would answer "yes." I have PTSD, big dogs are a huge trigger of mine, and yes it's intimidating to keep knocking on my door asking me if you're "nice."

As someone who is routinely clocked as female I would assume you had misgendered me (as a woman) and are essentially trying to flirt/get with me or (because of PTSD) case out my house for another nefarious purpose like robbery or rape.

For me personally as someone who has not so much as said a single word more than "hello" to my neighbors here in Halifax, if you barged into my personal life to make these points I would consider it a precursor to predatory behavior (or at the very least asocial and strange) especially as you've indicated it's happened more than once.

When I lived in New Waterford everyone on my street knew one another so it was less like a neighbor and more like an acquaintance. If I had worries of coming across as intimidating I still wouldn't go around my street asking that (these people don't really know me) but instead save those questions for your close friends or therapist or even here in the forum as you have.

If your dogs have bothered multiple people in the past then consider that they may in fact be the problem and require a higher level of training and management than you are currently providing. Seeking out a professional (for example a dog trainer) would be wise in this case as well.

The difference in your case is that it seems like a neighbor did this first - going around complaining about you. That sounds like a "them-problem" and I would be very likely to slam the door in their face. I don't care what my f*cking neighbors are doing. Just leave me alone and keep me out of the Wisteria Lane dramatics.

(And yes, it would then annoy me if you "countered" this by also knocking at my door to essentially present your side of the debate which I already deeply do not give a shit about.)

In conclusion rather than it represent some inherent deficit in your personality? It's more likely that your neighbors just want all of the people involved in this non-issue conflict to leave them alone.
 
Since posting this and reading responses I have done a little "soul searching"

I did have an emotionally abusive mother. Crafty lady in manipulation.

I still don't know why I canvassed nieghborhood. I don't know exactly why I don't even go out to my mailbox in daylight anymore. However I think I found where the old man triggered me.

When he said "I can see through your nice guy appearances." As if somehow in one month of living across street he could see the evil in me. All my other relationships in nieghborhood had to false. Someone like me must be incapable of being decent.

Very different approach than my mother would use but hit some key points. The result is me feeling trapped and unable to see the world/nieghborhood through anyone's eyes but his.

I am 43 years old. A random stranger still has ability to get in my head and f with my perception of myself and relationships I worked hard to form.!

f*ck!

My mother's approach was more of a kill you with kindness type of manipulation. "You are so strong. You are so brave. Mom can see that."

Truth is I was scared paralyzed. Very young and being in room by myself. Listen to verbal fighting with strange men, shit breaking, moans of sex, more fighting.

When it was over and mom needed comfort she came to me. I was not crying. I was not shaking. I was not needy. I did not fight. To her, me in that state was comforting to her. Completely oblivious to my feelings and needs. I showed nothing.
 
I had a neighbor move in across the street in my old neighborhood. She started to try to get a group of people together to target another neighbor. The neighbors she chose was one of the nicest couples I've ever met. They didn't gossip, they kept a beautiful yard and their children were kind and respectful. This backfired on the new neighbor. This would be a good way to view the new neighbor in your area. They are just looking for a target to lord over. I know it's hard, but know that it's about THEM, not you.
 
I am 43 years old. A random stranger still has ability to get in my head and f with my perception of myself and relationships I worked hard to form.!
I'm 44 and this happens to me still.
BUT....it doesn't have to. Just because it has happened doesn't mean it continues to be that way. You can reject it and give yourself power over the situation. You are in control of your thoughts (I know how easy this is to say and how hard it is to practice as I struggle with this).
What do you need to say to yourself to enable this to happen? What counter messages from the toxic ones currently?

When he said "I can see through your nice guy appearances."
I can see how this is triggering, if you're carrying around shame and feeling that people will see this shame and badness in you. This person is just not a nice guy (the one who said that to you) and is prob projecting things about him into you.
 
Real time brainstorming.

Old man nieghbor knew I was looking for solutions. He just wants something to bitch about.
By refusing to give me any reasonable options(remove dogs) to help with his complaints he didn't allow me the option to "fawn" him. Also while doing that he "happened" to bring up how all my relationships with other nieghbors was fake.

I thought when I went to his yard I went to fight. "Shut the f*ck up what you say to my nieghbors! If you have an issue with me, come to me."

In that way I absolutely won the fight. Everytime he made a complaint on the behalf of someone else I had a counter. Not because I fawnwed over the whole niegjborhood but because I had good relationships with. Built through time, trust, compassion....

I thought it was a fight. I should have won. I should have been satisfied.
Take flight away.. Leaving is not an option. This nieghbor is going to convince everyone I have to leave but I can't. PANIC.

Take freeze away.. I can't fight/fawn back. I must just hide. PANIC.

Take fawn away from ME. PANIC. Now I am going to healthy established relationships and asking if I fawned myself in appropriately. Nowhere to go and I am avoiding all the other pleasant relationships I had/have.

f*ck!
If it was just fight I could win most of the damn time.
 
I had to look up fawning. Seems equally accurate as it is offensive.
Is there a different way I can word things to make it seem like something else? 😉
LOL

It’s one of the four widely recognized adrenaline responses people experience in life or death situations.

Fight
Flight
Freeze
Fawn

Which would also explain why this…
Why did I risk my relationship with nieghbors by asking such uncomfortable questions? Why couldn't I stop? Why did I recieve nothing but positive feedback and still feel invalidated?
…takes on such an immediate life-or-death urgency / doesn’t make sense / isn’t how you usually act-think-feel / defies all reason and expectation, etc.

So you could call it an (out of control) adrenaline response?

But that leaves people to wonder if when your new neighbours came to your door you

Fight
Grabbed them up by the throat and threw them against the wall, threatening their lives if they EVER bothered you, your dog, or your other neighbours ever again.

(Or wanted to, kept you cool in front of them, and then destroyed everything in your house in reach. <<< Or, if not in-the-moment loss of physical/verbal control? Consumed with rage, you unleashed a campaign against them physically/verbally/legally making their lives a living hell. How DARE they threaten you & your family?!?)

Flight
Packed a bag (or not), threw your loved ones in the car, and left to go stay with friends/family, or a hotel, or no idea where to next, just have to get the f*ck up out NOW.

(Or wanted to, but instead took the time to find a new place to live, packed up, and moved out… because there is nooooo f*cking way you can stay in this place, with this threat, just looming over you and crushing the life out of you.)
Or Both. The plan to move becoming immediately & obviously necessary with the flooding relief of leaving, and the return of blind fear on your return.

Freeze
Were unable to think/breathe/move when they came to your door, and even after they left don’t know what to do now, how to act now, what to do next… except to try and be invisible. Your dog brought inside, or rehomed, or kenneled during the day. Only allowed out to potty, with you, and brought back in as fast as possible. Loaded up into the car in the garage, to take for walks elsewhere. Not only your new neighbours avoided (watching to make sure they’re not …out there… before leaving your home, keeping blinds and curtains closed; lives constricting as small and tight as possible), but awareness of them a constant presence in the back of your mind, informing your every action.

Fawn
Immediately seek out your new neighbours, trying to find out every possible way that you can make them happy …right on down to changing your personality, if necessary, to appease them… then beseech all of your old neighbours, attempting to figure out their truest desires of their hearts, any unhappiness you can put right. Desperate to be aware of any and all ways that you can step into the gap, and be the person they so clearly need you to be. Win their hearts. Win their minds. Become needed, wanted, necessary. Solving problems they didn’t even know they had, until you fixed them. Before it’s too late. Before the blow lands. Before the blood, and pain, and fear, and helplessness. You will be whomever they need you to be. Sacrificing your own happiness, sense of self, self worth, future hopes/dreams/plans. Now. Make peace. Keep the peace. While there’s still a chance. Before it’s too late.

Clearly, those are just 4 options from a rather wide array of choices people make, according to experience (lessons learned in trauma) & personality.

Whilst most people have something of a go-to response…

(Ever watch a video of a guy in a gorilla suit jumping out of a trash can? Most people scream & jump back, a few people freeze, a few people leap forward punch the gorilla, and a few people -after a moments startled blinking- laugh, come forward, and start praising the guy for how funny/clever/awesome they are. Shaking his hand, pounding him on the back, offering to help set up future jump scares, or get them a drink, or it must be hot in there, maybe I could, would you like, how can I???, etc.)

…most people will ALSO experience all 4 kinds of response over their lives, in different situations & circumstance.
 
LOL

It’s one of the four widely recognized adrenaline responses people experience in life or death situations.

Fight
Flight
Freeze
Fawn

Which would also explain why this…

…takes on such an immediate life-or-death urgency / doesn’t make sense / isn’t how you usually act-think-feel / defies all reason and expectation, etc.

So you could call it an (out of control) adrenaline response?

But that leaves people to wonder if when your new neighbours came to your door you

Fight


Flight



Freeze


Fawn


Clearly, those are just 4 options from a rather wide array of choices people make, according to experience (lessons learned in trauma) & personality.

Whilst most people have something of a go-to response…

(Ever watch a video of a guy in a gorilla suit jumping out of a trash can? Most people scream & jump back, a few people freeze, a few people leap forward punch the gorilla, and a few people -after a moments startled blinking- laugh, come forward, and start praising the guy for how funny/clever/awesome they are. Shaking his hand, pounding him on the back, offering to help set up future jump scares, or get them a drink, or it must be hot in there, maybe I could, would you like, how can I???, etc.)

…most people will ALSO experience all 4 kinds of response over their lives, in different situations & circumstance.
Our responses were minutes apart.

That's some good stuff.
Thanks.

The world is slightly less lonely.
 
What I wonder is, what were you hoping to get from the other neighbors that you didn't get from the old fart who triggered you?

From the outside looking in and having only a sliver of detail, it looks to me you were looking for two things; 1). Any proof (by an exact incident) from any other neighbors of menacing behavior from your dogs during your absence that you could not get from the man after asking directly for one (in an effort to correct the situation and 2). His comment triggered a fear in you that you are bad, inauthentic, not enough, (fill in the blank) etc. To me that is coming from your childhood that you have yet to resolve so you're over-seeking validation from other neighbors for or against anyone else seeing that in you.

With the 1st, he's exhibiting pack behavior...get everyone on his side to single you out, real or otherwise. Your already having neighborhood approval prior to their being there could have easily shut him down, no further conversation needed, so in my mind it was the insecurity of his statement afterwards. Asking about the dogs again was just a means to get the validation you were really wanting...could other neighbors "see through you", too and if so, is what they see bad, not enough, a pushover, evil....fill in the blank. You have trauma within that is causing you to seek that approval non-stop because you don't have it within yourself to think and believe, "so what if you can see through me old man, my dogs are fine and I'm a good human, bye!"...so you'll seek it from other people until you can get it from within. And btw, I think just about everyone on this forum struggles with this to some degree, so here, you're normal.

Hope that helps...if not, toss it.
 
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