Dealing with Attention Seeking Behavior

Everyone needs attention. When they don’t get the attention they deserve, such as being neglected, abandoned, abused, or left feeling unworthy or unloved, they will subconsciously make up for that by seeking attention and sympathy to fill that void. Attention seeking can also be a subconscious cry for help. But, there are ways of recognizing the behavior and getting control of it.

—CHAPTERS—
2:41 – Dealing with Attention Seekers
7:26 – Stop Seeking Attention
10:29 – My Experience

—RELATED VIDEOS—
► Faking Mental Illness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=986Z-OzqtlM

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Hi everyone! This video is going to be about attention seeking behavior, what you can do to help someone that is an attention seeker as well as help yourself if you are seeking attention and sympathy from others.

    Everyone needs attention, a confirmation to themselves that they are accepted, loved, and cared about. When they don’t get the attention they deserve, such as being neglected, abandoned, abused, left feeling unworthy or unloved, or not being listened to, they will subconsciously make up for that by seeking attention and sympathy to fill that void.

    People seek attention for a variety of reasons. It’s usually for sympathy from others or to one up someone or make it seem like they have it worse than someone so the other person sympathizes or feels bad for them, or to take responsibility for things they didn’t do so they are praised. They may dress provocatively, say or do things that are dramatic to get a response out of people, or even lie and manipulate their own image or other people. They may fake having illnesses, mental disorders, cancer, or anything else.

    I do have a video dedicated to faking mental illness if you are interested in checking that out. [Faking Mental Illness] Quite a few people seem to have taken offense to it because either they are not grasping exactly what I am saying, taking it too personally, or just plain out think I am annoying and hypocritical. In addition to my inability at the time to elaborate and explain some of my reasoning. I stand by everything I said because it was not meant to offend when you truly understand what I am getting at.

    But anyway, it’s often quite easy to spot an attention seeker. They like to make the conversation all about them, usually so they feel important and superior to others, as well as having others feel bad for them and give them sympathy for their life. They may practically beg for compliments, can be deceptive in nature so others complement them and they get the satisfaction they need.

    While it is true that everyone needs attention, how these people are approaching the way to fill the void and lack of attention is unhealthy. So, I will discuss some ways that you can appropriately handle an attention seeker while at the same time help them.


    Dealing with Attention Seekers

    Properly dealing with someone that is an attention seeker can be a tricky task, and this is mostly because people do not know how to handle them. The two primary tactics people use to deal with them are actually counterproductive.

    One of the ways people deal with attention seekers are by ignoring them or even judging them. While ignoring them may seem like it would work, ignoring the attention seeker can have consequences, especially if their pain is very deep. Mainly because they will perceive this as even more people abandoning them and ignoring them, which could make them want even more attention since they are not getting it. So, ignoring them can make them feel worse about themselves which could lead to even more problems. Especially if people are making fun and judging them for seeking attention.

    And the second method people use is by actually giving them attention for what they are seeking attention for. While the person seeking attention does need it, by giving them attention for seeking attention is teaching them that it is alright to do this and are essentially encouraging the behavior. They may even develop manipulative tactics to gain the attention as it will soon because second nature to them. And, by giving in to this, you are not helping them any more than if you were to ignore them.

    These are even similar tactics to dealing with a bully. By giving in and letting them get to you, you are actually encouraging the behavior. But, if you ignore them, they may go away. But, they may feel worse about themselves if you ignore them.

    So, what other option do you have then if you cannot ignore attention seekers or give in to them? Well, there is another way that is in between these two. It is giving them the attention they need, but not for what they are seeking attention for. So, don’t ignore them, but don’t give in, rather address the root cause if you ultimately want to help them. For instance, if someone is cutting themselves for attention and showing that off for everyone to see, perhaps constantly talking and bragging about it, then the way to handle it is to not give attention to what they are trying to seek attention for, the cutting, but rather to change the topic and get closer to the root cause of the behavior. Understand why they are cutting, what is the reason, allowing them to understand for themselves why they are doing it and why they want people to notice.

    Because, ignoring someone that is seeking attention that was abandoned as a child and feel bad about themselves, will only make it worse for them. And, giving them the attention they want for what they are doing is encouraging the behavior. But, understanding the underlying reason behind their attention seeking ways, giving attention to the root cause of it, and helping them understand it for themselves so they can become aware of it and work on it, is the only proper and efficient way of helping the person that is seeking attention, while at the same time having them learn to help and understand themselves.

    Additionally, I’ve said before that I do not believe in feeling bad for someone. While this may sound harsh, it’s not when you understand the reasoning. They way I see it is that if I feel bad for someone, that immediately makes them look inferior to me. In other words, saying I feel bad for someone is making it look like they are lower than me because of what they are dealing with. Talking down to them in a sense saying, “Oh, I feel so bad for you that you have to deal with that.” While I can sympathize with them, and will say, “I’m sorry to hear about that,” I will not and do not feel bad for them because I feel it makes me look superior and them look inferior, which is not something I am trying to convey. And, this is the same reason why I don’t like people to feel bad for me and give me that kind of sympathy, since it’s none of their concern to worry about me. But, this is just my perspective.


    Stop Seeking Attention

    If you are an attention seeker, there are ways of controlling the behavior. Many times it will be very difficult to stop because it can become an addiction or a way for you to get the attention that you do need, but are not getting. The number one most important thing is to recognize the behavior and want to change it. If you are not willing to change or are oblivious to the behavior, then you will not change. You have to take that initiative to want to change. You may not even recognize your behavior, which is why you need to analyze yourself and become introspective to learn to recognize what you are doing and why you are doing it.

    Which brings me to the next point, understand why you are seeking attention and get to the root cause. Why are you trying to get attention and sympathy from others? Why do you want others to notice you? Why are you trying to stand out and seem special? There is an underlying reason behind all this behavior that you will need some time to discover. What can help is talking it through with someone, analyzing yourself and reason for doing it, and then accepting it and wanting to change it. If you are not getting the attention you need, what can you do about that behavior? These are all questions you need to take into consideration to understand the underlying reason for the behavior.

    After you have done this, perhaps you know why you are seeking attention, or maybe you still don’t. Regardless, it may be best to talk about it with someone that is understanding and can help you through it and to help aide in the process of understanding yourself on a deeper level. Getting to the root cause, perhaps it’s due to severe trauma and abandonment, and then addressing those deep rooted psychological issues, talking through them, and then learning to overcome them, overpower them so they do not have control over you, but you have control over them.

    Then, when you have realized your behavior, when you are seeking attention you will become aware of it. Which also means that you can learn to control the behavior. This is possible, but only after you have learned to recognize it. In order to stop, you will need to learn self-restraint, resist that behavior. It may seem tempting to get other’s attention so the conversation is about you, but since you are now aware of it, you have the ability to say ‘no’ to it and find a better outlet. Find a constructive way of releasing those feeling you have in the moment where you want to seek attention, and do something good with them. Don’t let it control you, but rather control it.


    My Experience

    I thought I’d share a bit of personal experience now. Prior to transitioning, back when I was a male, in no way was I an attention seeker. I avoided any and all attention at all costs and would continuously retreat from everyone so I could be alone. However after transitioning, things changed and I was able to come out of my shell in a sense and be myself. Due to all those years of being abused and abandoned by so many people, and me retreating from them, after I began to love myself, I needed to know I was accepted and loved by others. But, this was all subconscious and I would seek attention but was not aware of it. This is also because I was resisting, denying love and acceptance from others for so long that it made me subconsciously crave those things, but I was oblivious to it.

    I have never been called an attention seeker until I started making videos online. No one that knows me personally sees me as such. So, that tells you something doesn’t it? That the people online are just making an extremely biased, misinformed opinion. None of them bother to get to know me personally and only base their conclusion off the limited amount of myself I share online. But, at one point I let their words get to me and it formed a different side of me with those exact characteristics. It would call me a liar, fake, attention seeker. I doubted myself because I let those people get to me.

    But, there was something good that came of it. Through this side that formed due to these people online, I have managed to become aware of attention seeking behavior I had. One of the things I clearly remember doing was trying to change the topic of conversation from whatever the people were talking about, to me, or rather something I was doing or using or whatever.

    Over some time however, due to this side of me that formed, I was able to recognize this behavior and have moved on from it because I learned to control the behavior. Again, these were with people that know me personally, and none of them view me as an attention seeker, even when I was doing it because it was subtle and non-dramatic. So, these people online that call me one, my videos have nothing to do with attention seeking. They are solely an outlet for me to share my experiences and what I have been through, as well as to help others and myself cope with various things and better their lives. Anyone that thinks I’m an attention seeker and is watching this or any of my other videos for that matter, well guess what, you’re giving me attention. You’re giving attention to what you think is an attention seeker. You are feeding that behavior. That makes sense apparently, so thanks. Looks like this attention seeker’s goal is successful.

    That is just my experience. I find it so fascinating that none of these qualities were there prior to transitioning. Very interesting. But, I have overcome much of it by learning to understand myself and my behavior, and then getting control over it.


    Conclusion

    So in the end, we all need attention. When we do not get the attention we need, perhaps from abuse, abandonment, betrayal, we will often subconsciously seek attention and sympathy from others, usually in a destructive, dramatic, and/or illogical way. Learning to understand your behavior and why you are doing it will allow you to get better control over it so you are in charge of your life and not your past experiences. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    After so many people started accusing me of seeking attention, I knew I had to discuss the topic. Due to the volume of people that would call me an attention seeker, I thought I was for the longest time. However, we are all attention seekers in a way, no? Seeking attention is something we all do in some form as we like to feel accepted and loved. And when we are not, a subconscious attempt is made to achieve this. Many people refer to that trait negatively, but it’s not unhealthy in itself since it’s something we all do. How we approach it, however, can be unhealthy.

    Nevertheless, I find it so fascinating that people who call me an attention seeker are ACTUALLY giving me attention! I mean, come on, that’s like the most hilarious thing. They share my videos and talk about me, all while saying, “Look at this attention seeker.” While at the same time giving me the attention. Yet subconsciously they are saying, “I’m making fun of this individual because I am lacking attention. I feel the need to hate on someone else because I am the one that truly needs sympathy and acceptance since I am unhappy with my own life.” Yet, that is often blocked behind a barrier that they aren’t even aware of. That’s why I simply do not take it personally anymore.