Approval Trap (1): Birth to Adulthood


It was a lovely day on my life coaching deck and Talia came over wearing her gorgeous bright-colored dress, but it did not help lighten up her spirit. She was very sad. I had known her for a while and admired her deeply. Talia was an example of perfection for me. She was beautiful, she was friendly, she was knowledgeable, she was in a relationship, she had a perfect job and she was amazingly smart. She played musical instruments (yes, more than one), already held several degrees. While other people struggled to manage their time, she had worked full time and completed 6 university courses with high scores. She had traveled the world. And she had done all that by the age of 25.

Still, Talia was a very sad and tormented woman, because nothing she did seemed to please her mother.

Talia was in what I call the approval trap.

Unfortunately, we are all born into that trap without a choice. The way things are structured when we are young, we seek our parents’ approval to learn about life and build our confidence. Living every day of our life around them makes them almighty gods for us and we do everything within our tiny power to get their approval.

Read more about how to stop seeking approval


2 thoughts on “Approval Trap (1): Birth to Adulthood

  1. You have a point that there are many people out there who are trapped in the approval trap and the example of Talia does make me feel sorry for those in that ugly trap. People like Talia not only need to be surrounded by good company who let them do what they like than force them against their wills but also be assured that they are special regardless what people would say. As for parents like Talia’s mother, I believe they must be dissatisfied people who never had an opportunity to accomplish much in life yet live their expectations through their sons and daughters. Someone needs to give them a pep talk and tell them they are the ones hurting their children and not realising the damages they are doing to them.

  2. I think that it is a good tip to give people in the approval trap – hang around the right people. I think that is the problem, they can’t ! Most of us are trapped in our parents trap, we can’t get rid of them and hang around other people.
    I agree with you. I know Talia’s mum and she is living through her daughter. Her daughter is so smart and so sensitive and so successful that it is amazing she is never satisfied. Talia talked to her mother many times and it did not really work. Once, I asked them to come together for a session. I forced them to talk to each other and tell each other what they feel. There was so much love there that her mum couldn’t express. I do feel sorry for her.

    Happy parenting

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