The fifth category resulting from my survey on why we do not seek help with emotional problems claims that there is nothing wrong at all. It is just attention seeking.
Could this really be true?
I often hear the attention seeking accusation from people who are fed up with someone close to them who constantly talks about their problems.
If you are tired of listening to the relentless “pity me” stories from the same person, chances are that something is wrong and that it is something other than what the person complains about.
Attention and appreciation are some of the deepest human cravings. We all know what it feels like when we have not been noticed for a while. Being ignored or taken for granted are contributing factors to why people leave their jobs and relationships break up.
In order to get attention, some people resort to unhelpful behaviours. Some play the clown, some turn to crime, and some invent fears, phobias and other symptoms of emotional distress.
The problem with seeking pity as means of getting attention is that eventually other people switch off or withdraw completely. It can be difficult to distinguish between pure attention seeking and denial, so be careful about jumping to judgemental conclusions.
If someone is faking emotional distress in order to get attention, it would suggest that there is an emotional problem of some kind. Why is that person in such need of attention? Why is that person so insecure? Why does that person have such low self-confidence?
Only the person him or herself knows the answer and perhaps the old vicious cycle of not wanting to talk about the real issue is at play.
Loneliness could be one underlying reason. These days, mental health professionals are increasingly dealing with the effects of loneliness. This is not just associated with old age and difficulty of getting out and about to meet other people. People of all ages can feel lonely and isolated, even when they are in a steady long-term relationship.
Whilst the attention seeking behaviour deserves little sympathy, the underlying reasons are what matter and they can only be treated if the person in question accepts that there is a problem and wants to deal with it.
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