Saturday, May 24, 2014

Invalidation

INVALIDATION is the root of codependency. Our true selves, our personal truth was not validated... If we want to heal we must REPARENT ourselves by validating ourselves instead of repeating the abuse that we received while our hearts were innocent and vulnerable... http://eqi.org/invalid.htm

Love this article by Darlene at Emerging from Broken on Self Validation for Emotional Healing from Abuse


This article contains my research on Invalidation

"Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. It is an attempt to control how they feel and for how long they feel it."

Constant invalidation may be one of the most significant reasons a person with high innate emotional intelligence suffers from unmet emotional needs later in life.(1) A sensitive child who is repeatedly invalidated becomes confused and begins to distrust his own emotions. He fails to develop confidence in and healthy use of his emotional brain-- one of nature's most basic survival tools. To adapt to this unhealthy and dysfunctional environment, the working relationship between his thoughts and feelings becomes twisted. His emotional responses, emotional management, and emotional development will likely be seriously, and perhaps permanently, impaired. The emotional processes which worked for him as a child may begin to work against him as an adult. 


All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. When we are attacked, our survival instinct tells us to defend ourselves either through withdrawal or counter-attack. Repeated withdrawal, though, tends to decrease our self-confidence and lead to a sense of powerlessness and depression. On the other hand, going on the offensive often escalates the conflict or puts us in the position of trying to change another person. 

One sign of both high self-esteem and high EQ is the absence of either of these defensive responses. A healthier response, one which is both informative and assertive, without being aggressive, is to simply express your feelings clearly and concisely. For example, you might respond, "I feel invalidated," "I feel mocked," or "I feel judged."
How the other person responds to your emotional honesty will depend upon, and be indicative of:
(a) how much they respect you
(b) how much they care about you and your feelings
(c) how insecure and defensive they are
(d) how much they are trying to change or control you
All of this is information which will help you make decisions which are in your best interest.

Recent research by Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. of Duke University supports the idea that invalidation leads to mental health problems. He writes "...a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) (Reference)

We regularly invalidate others because we ourselves were, and are often invalidated, so it has become habitual. Below are a few of the many ways we are invalidated:
  • We are told we shouldn't feel the way we feel
  • We are dictated not to feel the way we feel
  • We are told we are too sensitive, too "dramatic"
  • We are ignored
  • We are judged
  • We are led to believe there is something wrong with us for feeling how we feel

Examples of invalidating expressions. -- Each is an attempt to talk you out of your feelings.

"Ordering" You to Feel Differently
Smile.
Be happy.
Cheer up
Lighten up.
Get over it.
Grow up
Get a life
Don't cry.
Don't worry.
Don't be sad.
Stop whining
Stop laughing..
Don't get angry
Deal with it.
Give it a rest.
Forget about it.
Stop complaining.
Don't be so dramatic.
Don't be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself (
Source)
Stop taking everything so personally


Ordering You to "Look" Differently
Don't look so sad.
Don't look so smug.
Don't look so down.
Don't look like that.
Don't make that face.
Don't look so serious.
Don't look so proud of yourself.
Don't look so pleased with yourself.



Denying Your Perception, Defending
You've got it all wrong.
But of course I respect you.
But I do listen to you.
That is ridiculous (nonsense, totally absurd, etc.)
I was only kidding.
That's not the way things are.
That's not how things are.
I honestly don't judge you as much as you think.
It's not going to happen

Trying to Make You Feel Guilty While Invalidating You
I tried to help you..
At least I .....
At least you....
You are making everyone else miserable. (
Source)

Trying to Isolate You
You are the only one who feels that way.
It doesn't bother anyone else, why should it bother you?


Minimizing Your Feelings
You must be kidding.
You can't be serious.
It can't be that bad.
Your life can't be that bad.
You are just ... (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)
It's nothing to get upset over.
It's not worth getting that upset over.
There's nothing wrong with you. (
Source)


Using Reason
There is no reason to get upset.
You are not being rational.
But it doesn't make any sense to feel that way.
Let's look at the facts.
Let's stick to the facts.
But if you really think about it....


Telling You How You "Should" Feel or Act
You should be excited.
You should be thrilled.
You should feel guilty.
You should feel thankful that...
You should be happy that ....
You should be glad that ...
You should just drop it.
You shouldn't worry so much.
You shouldn't let it bother you.
You should just forget about it.
You should feel ashamed of yourself.
You shouldn't wear your heart out on your sleeve.
You shouldn't say that about your father.


Defending The Other Person
Maybe they were just having a bad day.
I am sure she didn't mean it like that.
You just took it wrong.
I am sure she means well.


Negating, Denial & Confusion
Now you know that isn't true.
You don't mean that. You know you love your baby brother.
You don't really mean that. You are just ... (in a bad mood today, tired, cranky)


Sarcasm and Mocking
Oh, you poor thing. Did I hurt your little feelings?
What did you think? The world was created to serve you?
What happened to you? Did you get out of the wrong side of bed again?


Laying Guilt Trips
Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself?
What about my feelings?!
Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings?


Philosophizing Or Clich├ęs
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons.
Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.


Talking about you when you can hear it
She is impossible to talk to.
You can't say anything to her.


Showing Intolerance
This is getting really old.
This is getting really pathetic.
I am sick of hearing about it.
A person with well-developed emotional intelligence, a healthy set of emotional skills, empathy, and a healthy self-esteem will rarely invalidate another person's feelings, especially not the feelings of a sensitive child.
___

Validating / Invalidating  - Great article

"One disqualifies oneself when one is afraid to say what one really feels and means for fear that others will reject it.  Hence disqualifiers say things in a way that allows them “plausible deniability.” They can claim they were misinterpreted if the other family members object." 


They accomplish this through wide range of deviant communicational phenomena, “…such as self-contradictions, inconsistencies, subject switches, tangentializations, incomplete sentences, misunderstandings, obscure style or mannerisms of speech, the literal interpretation of metaphor and the metaphorical interpretation of literal remarks, etc." (p. 76).
___
 
Linehan (1993a) investigates 'invalidating environments' and relates them to self injury.
"An invalidating environment is one in which communication of private experiences is met by erratic, inappropriate, or extreme responses. In other words, the expression of private experiences is not validated; instead it is often punished and/or trivialized. The experience of painful emotions disregarded. The individual's interpretations of her own behavior, including the experience of the intents and motivations of the behavior, are dismissed..."

"When your awareness rises, you'll begin to notice such comments on a regular basis. Together, they take their toll on us. We wonder if there is something wrong with us for feeling how we do. It seems fair to say that with enough invalidation, one person can figuratively, if not literally, drive another person crazy. This is especially possible, I believe, in the case where one person has long-term power over another. Examples of such relationships are parent/child, teacher/child, "spiritual" leader/follower, boss/employee, spouse A/spouse B. Such a sad scenario appears to be even more likely when the person being invalidated is highly sensitive, intelligent and has previously suffered self-esteem damage."

Addressing Invalidation with CBT

7 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Here's another invalidating phrase: 'Let it go.'

      Delete
  2. Here's another great article on Invalidation & Validation. http://www.uri.edu/research/lrc/scholl/webnotes/Motivation_Affirming.htm

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Invalidators are people who use a set of self esteem reducing mechanisms to make you feel bad and make them feel good.

    What Invalidators Do? The goal behind invalidation strategies is to put you down and make you feel inferior, incompetent, or unneeded. Invalidators pretend to support you by acknowledging some important aspect of your self concept (a skill, value, trait). They follow this supporting behavior by pointing out a shortcoming- again and again. The invalidator acts to keep you in a constant state of uncertainty through vagueness and lack of commitment. Just when you think the person likes or admires you, he or she drops the hammer of invalidation with a criticism, insinuation, or implication of your incompetence. This is often accomplished through body language and tone, and when challenged the invalidator is likely to claim that you misinterpreted his or her actions."

    http://www.uri.edu/research/lrc/scholl/webnotes/Motivation_Affirming.htm

    ReplyDelete
  4. thank you so much for this. just what I needed to read

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this! You have no idea how much I needed this reminder right now that all feelings are valid and don't need to be diminished by terms such as " let it go" or "get over it."

    ReplyDelete