I’m in my twenties and although I’m keeping this post anonymous, I have asked Wellnite to share this as part of their end-the-stigma blog post series. Thank you!
Why Am I an Attention Seeker?
As someone who struggles with attention-seeking behavior, I know how frustrating and exhausting it can be. On a daily basis, I find myself constantly trying to get the attention of others, whether it’s through seeking validation on social media or constantly talking over others in conversations. It’s a never-ending cycle that can be exhausting for both myself and those around me. I know this type of behavior is not good for myself and those around me, but I can’t help but yearn for the spotlight.
The underlying cause of my attention-seeking behavior is a lack of self-esteem and a constant need for validation. I have always struggled with feeling like I’m not good enough, and seeking the attention of others is a way for me to feel validated and worthy. However, this constant need for attention can also be damaging to my relationships, as it can come across as being selfish and inconsiderate.
The Effects of Attention-Seeking
For those around me, dealing with my attention-seeking behavior can be frustrating. I have a tendency to monopolize conversations and constantly seek the spotlight, which can make others feel like they’re not being heard. I have also been known to be overly dramatic and exaggerate situations in order to get more attention. This can be exhausting for my friends and family and can lead to strained relationships. In fact, I've had a lot of falling out with friends in the past, and when asked why they stopped keeping in touch they usually say it's because my constant need for attention was exhausting for them.
Attention-Seeking and Your Mental Health
There are several mental health conditions that can be associated with attention-seeking behavior, including histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. These conditions can manifest in different ways, but both involve a constant need for attention and a lack of self-esteem.
Ways to Cope
If you’re instead dealing with a friend struggling with a compulsive attention-seeker like me, there are several strategies you can use to manage their behavior; some people I love have been there, but it is not easy for them either.
First, it’s essential to set boundaries and communicate clearly about which behavior is acceptable and which is not — it will help them in the long run. It’s also essential to validate their feelings and let them know that you are there to support them (we have feelings), but their behavior is unacceptable. Additionally, seeking professional help such as therapy or counseling has helped me and it can be beneficial in addressing the underlying causes of attention-seeking behavior.
Take the First Step Towards Healing
Overall, dealing with attention-seeking behavior can be challenging; but with patience, understanding, and the right strategies, it is possible to manage and overcome it.
If you are like me and are reading this post, knowing yourself is the first and most important step — so cheers to us!
Twenty-something who is trying to get better