1. They keep going back to the things that hurt them and the people who don’t want them. Even if it’s subconscious, they try to prove that they are worthy — even for just a second, even if only on the surface.
2. They don’t realize that they unnecessarily compromise their own happiness because the only happiness they can really feel is that which they get from approval. They care more about how they think other people will see them than how they actually feel. Their worth is entirely extrinsic.
3. They keep people who they don’t want in their lives around because confrontation means running the risk of making someone dislike them. They’re afraid to say “no” for the same reason. They’re more comfortable not voicing their opinion, even if it means they’re sorely overlooked.
4. They often start speaking before the person they’re talking to has finished their sentence, because they’re thinking about what they’re going to say (and how they appear in the conversation) as opposed to what is trying to be communicated to them.
5. Likewise, they project any universal thing somebody is talking about onto themselves. If you say: “I was sick today,” they’ll immediately respond: “I felt fine today.” Their entire mindset is structured around themselves.
6. They have an almost compulsive need to micro-manage their homes, their bodies, etc. This is how they think they control how other people perceive them. They will justify these actions through a slew of excuses as to why they are healthy and positive, but what they do not consider is the root of the desire to act, as opposed to whatever the action itself is.
7. They settle, though of course they don’t call it “settling.” They call it “taking the next step with someone because that’s just what you do.” They call it “not being able to start over at this point, or find anything better.” They call it “making due.”
8. They convince themselves (and maybe others) that their irrational anxiety is just part of who they are as people, as opposed to a symptom of an issue they have yet to deal with.
9. They’re constantly justifying why they love themselves. It’s not that they just say they love themselves, it’s why they say they love themselves, because they know that those traits that they mention and list and boast of are ones that other people could see and possibly agree with, so they try to get whomever is listening to do so (even if they don’t totally believe it themselves.)
10. They externalize control and play victim to themselves. They’d rather wallow for the sake of it than take control and change it.
11. They judge other people for unimportant, subjective, arbitrary things.
12. And they bond, form friendships, and base most of their social discussions around judgements of said unimportant, subjective, arbitrary things.
13. This is because they only believe they are as good as they are better than someone else. The entirety of their self-worth is based on comparison, and so they have to make their experience the correct one (by identifying others as incorrect) to keep feeling alright about themselves.
14. They are indecisive in a way that keeps people reacting to their new choices and therefore receiving their attention, energy and ultimately, approval (be it feigned or not.)
15. Bad things mysteriously always happen to them and they can never figure out why (and so they bemoan the universe and continue to let their seemingly unfair misfortune dictate how they continue to feel about themselves) as opposed to realizing that how they feel about themselves creates everything else — not the other way around.