How do you get out of validation loops? Numb and depressed without validation about how I look

Tldr: I struggle with self loathing. I compulsively seek validation about how I look. It was the only way I could feel at peace with myself. Now, it doesn’t even help anymore. But I can’t stop doing it.

Hello! I struggle with needing validation from others in different areas of my life. My self worth and self perception are very low and have been for years. While I can be self aware of this and know I have value logically, I haven’t been able to intervene on a moment to moment level in my self abusing thoughts or really *feel* it. In my automatic thoughts, I still regularly abuse myself or see everything from a lens of my lack.

I am stuck in needing validation about how I look, especially from *conventionally attractive men*. When I don’t get validation, I feel numb. I try to love my body, I can, but it never matches the true sense that I am beautiful and perfectly fine as I am when another person says they think I’m beautiful.

The worse part is that, like I said, I feel more elated when it’s from a conventionally attractive person. This means I am clearly trying to attain conventional attractiveness, as that is what I ascribe value to, so any proximity to it feels better. My thought process is that if a conventionally attractive person likes me = I am attractive = I have value. I know everything that’s wrong with that sentence, but these thoughts still come up for me automatically. If not verbally, the feeling. So very hard to shake without replacing the thinking with something healthier.

This works with everything in my life, but it is usually about physical attractiveness. I think this is because I over-prioritize my looks over the other stuff. I always struggled really badly with how I look, to the point of struggling to go outside because I would be seen a few years ago. I also think it’s bc I don’t like myself as a person, so it’s easier to put more importance in looks. It’s a less nuanced way of understanding the world.

Anyway, it’s affected my mental health. I get validation by posting on NSFW subreddits. I have no self control and have been maxing out on the validation by posting more and more. I even betray my own principles and talk to people I do not like in order to get validation about how I look. The worse part is, I don’t feel better afterwards now. I feel numb and occasionally, I actually feed worse.

But when I don’t get any validation, I am so depressed and numb. I actually look worse. I forget what it was like to feel euphorically happy with myself. And that’s how it is, I’m constantly on a roller coaster, even based on how many upvotes I get. I go from deeply depressed to euphorically happy. I never feel that way without something from outside, so when I stop getting it, I miss that feeling of peace.

As sad as it is, validation is my drug. It gives me that hit. When I feel empty, it makes me feel better. Not like that nice peace I can get from seeing a friend, because there’s still discomfort underneath it. It’s like my brain completely quiets because I don’t need to convince it anymore. And after I get validated, I don’t even want to talk to that person anymore. That tells me I don’t want company or affection, I truly just want to feel acceptable and whole and enough. I can’t give it to myself. It feels like a lie when I try to do it. It never compares when i do it. I’m unsure if it ever will. So I want to stop, I hate the way I think, but I know it’s because I just want that feeling.

What did you do if you experienced this? What do you think when you read this? I feel this must be common if you struggle with how you see yourself. Thank you for reading if you did, it is much appreciated <3 <3

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How do you get out of validation loops? Numb and depressed without validation about how I look