Growing up I was always shy. As an adult I’ve learned to force myself to be more outgoing. This has never really posed any problems but recently I noticed a negative coping mechanism that I previously never noticed.
Of the many behavioral issues that I have I noted one specifically that I do when in a depressive state. I seek out affirmation or praise from external sources. This presented one afternoon after I left treatment and stopped by my apartment community leasing office.
The leasing office staff helped me set up my online rent payment account and then showed me to the community use computers that residents often use to pay their rent. As I sat down at the computer I was bombarded by pop up ads and fake virus notices. As a cyber security professional this raised some red flags for me. But I still went ahead and paid my rent. After I was done with that I decided to get nosey and looked at the configuration of the computers and noted that the resident account had full administrative permissions, this meant that anyone that used the computer could install whatever software they wanted on it as well as any malicious websites that were visited could result in malicious software being installed.
After I finished paying my rent I brought up the security concern to the office staff. They were aware of the problem but didn’t seem to really care. Armed with this knowledge I took it upon myself to “be the hero” and fix the problem without even being asked.
Now I dont think there is necessarily an issue with what I did but after I fixed the computer I went to the office staff and essentially bragged about what I did and gave them the credentials for the new accounts that I built out. Since the other computer was being used by a resident I figured I’d come back the next day to fix the other one.
In treatment the next day we all discussed how our previous day went and it was here that I discussed and realized with the help of the therapist that what I did was unhealthy. Armed with this I discussed how I had to go back again to complete the action on the other computer. This time however my goal was to complete the action and then not seek out affirmation.
Following treatment I returned to the leasing office and completed reconfiguring the other computer and simply notified the staff and left. I didn’t get into details I didn’t seek out affirmation, I provided the minimal information needed and then I left.
It felt good afterwards knowing that I was successful in avoiding unhealthy behavior but at the same time I failed to realize that I needed to address this with my wife. I needed to tell her that I played the hero and sought out affirmation/praise from the ladies in the leasing office.
This would later be discussed between my wife and I but it was something she brought up after seeing something that raised flags for her and was not something that I brought to her voluntarily. This is where I failed instead of building trust I had further eroded it.