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How Nash Overcame his Approval Addiction and Transformed into a Confident and Assertive Man

Subhajit Banerjee

February 23, 2023

Approval Addiction, Emotional Health, Life Lessons

From struggling with anxiety, resentment, and lack of boundaries – to being a confident man living on his own terms without any guilt or regret – this is Nash’s story.

Nash is an NRI entrepreneur based in the US.

On the surface, everything seemed to be going great in his life.

He is financially well off. He keeps his own hours and loves traveling.

But start digging and you would find out that things were not as they seemed.

You see, Nash was an approval addict.

He used to spend his time and energy on others – whenever they wanted, without a care for his own well-being.

And some people were taking advantage of this.

He was getting money requests from his distant relatives back in India for shady business ventures.

He was getting dragged into land deals.

And he used to say yes to all of them, helplessly.

Because saying no was difficult for him.

At one point, even the ringing of the phone was enough to cause him anxiety.

But he couldn’t figure out a way to get out of this rut.

Because he used to think that there can be only two outcomes from a conflict.

Either give in to the unjust demand.

Or give in to an angry, emotional outburst and cut ties forever.

And then nurse the feelings of guilt and regret.

He was exhausted from playing the same role again and again.

He couldn’t take one more day of others taking advantage of him.

And he couldn’t take one more day of him feeling helpless against those attempts.

This is when he reached out to me and we decided to work together.

Immediately, we figured out a framework to handle difficult conversations.

One that keeps him emotionally grounded and allows him to play on his strengths.

We worked on his cognitive distortions (a fancy term for the faulty scripts that we all have in our brains).

He learned to separate efforts from outcomes. To identify things that are in his control – and things that are not.

Nash used to trust his relatives blindly – to the point of being gullible.

Working with me, he learned how to reject ideas even from someone whom he trusted, without rejecting the person themselves.

He learned to be responsible for his own well-being and not just delegate it to others.

And that’s not all…

We discussed the manipulative tactics that are being played on him.

We figured out how he can spot and counter those by staying true to his intuitions.

And there’s more…

Nash was spending his time and energy on every one of his extended family members.

Even those people who didn’t exactly have his best interests in mind.

So we worked together to develop his circles.

The inner circles of people whom he cared about and with whom he wanted to maintain a relationship.

And the outer circle of people who don’t really mean much to him and who are used to taking advantage of him.

We developed different rules for these circles.

He also wanted to attract a life partner, one who is attuned to his values. So we also developed some routines and systems so that he can get out more and mingle with people.

We also worked on developing boundaries with bad habits like worries and chewing on the past.

Within a couple of sessions, I could see that Nash had started to feel relaxed. I could see his anxieties about the obligation to cater to everyone vanishing.

He immediately started applying the lessons – and started calling in past dues or refusing new requests.

Nash worked hard and worked with an open mind.

He started feeling more confident, and more in control while dealing with the pesky money requests.

Nash started believing in his own power and his own resourcefulness.

He met an amazing woman. And for the first time in his life, he could be with her without feeling too attached, putting her on a pedestal, or fearing rejection.

One particular incident stands out…

Nash went out on one of his cross-country traveling and lost his passport and wallet.

The old Nash would have cut his loss and returned back home to his comfort zone, and nurse his regrets.

But not this new version of Nash.

Now he was no longer helpless and powerless.

He could immediately tap into what he learned and apply it.

He managed his stress response and stopped himself from panicking.

Nash focused on the efforts instead of worrying about the outcome.

And he mustered his own resources and figured out what he needed to do next to continue his journey.

Later, over the course of a session, he mentioned that even he was impressed by how calm and collected he felt.

Today, things have turned around for Nash.

He has built amazing dreams and goals for himself and is striving towards them daily.

Nash enjoys an amazing relationship with his extended family and completely on his own terms.

He is also able to cater to his innate needs for kindness and empathy without compromising his own well-being.

Today Nash has tools and strategies that help him tap into his own power.

He has overcome his approval addiction.

Here’s the interview that I did with Nash: