This piece is reposted from the blog My Two Cents: Thoughts of a Small Town Therapist.
Jonas is 47. He grew up with critical parents. To this day, whenever he's successful at something, he calls them right away to tell them. They're not particularly interested. Yet, he still seeks that pat on the back, that "good job son, you did great."
No matter what the age, most people want their parents' approval. They hope and hope and hope for that validation. Especially folks who didn't receive it as children. They still want Mommy and Daddy to be proud.
Of course, there comes a point where one has to let go of that fantasy and stop the cycle of false expectation and disappointment. There needs to be an acceptance of the reality that your parents, for their own usually troubled reasons, are not capable of that kind of affirmation.
One must move on, and look for positive feedback from others; people who love and respect you ... friends, peers, co-workers, significant others. And most importantly, make every effort to pat yourself on the back. My guess is that you deserve it, and always did.