Invalidation is damaging to the soul of the one being invalidated. Abused individuals are conditioned from childhood to believe that their own thoughts and feelings are wrong, bad and shameful. Invalidation is a tool used by psychological abusers like narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths in order to keep their victims off-balance.
Some people who grew up in an environment of invalidation will invalidate others unintentionally. Not everyone who invalidates is abusive, but every time one is invalidated, it is harmful and hurtful. It's crucial that you learn the subtle signs of invalidation, because it's not always obvious.
Watch out for these signs of subtle invalidation:
1. Withdrawing, ignoring, silent treatment. You can be invalidated by someone who never utters a word. If someone ignores what you are saying, this is a subtle form of invalidation, meant to send a message to you (albeit subconsciously) that you are less than, invalid and worthy of being ignored. Don't stand for it! Make your voice heard or move-on.
2. Sighing. If someone sighs or otherwise shows sign of disapproval whenever you express your feelings about anything, this is a form of invalidation. Your feelings are your feelings are your feelings, they are not wrong or right, they just are. If anyone insinuates with a disapproving sigh whenever you express a feeling--regardless of who it is about or what... then you are being invalidated. You need to reaffirm your right to feel as you feel, set a boundary, make it clear to yourself and to the invalidating other that you have the right to feel how you do.
3. Changing the subject. If someone changes the subject whenever you express how you feel about something, this is a form of invalidation. It is their way of saying, "What you feel is worth ignoring." and "Something else is more important than how you feel" and "You are invisible." It is your job to steer the conversation back to your own feelings, stand up, speak up, set boundaries and only spend time in the presence of people who respect you.
4. Minimizing your feelings. If you tell someone how you feel about a person, place, thing or situation, and that person minimizes whatever you feel by telling you it's not that bad or anything that implies that how you feel is not accurate, or too much, or that you're too sensitive, then you're being invalidated. No one has the right to do this to you! Stand up for yourself and feel confident in expressing your full-range of emotions. Surround yourself with people who respect how you feel and who are willing to listen to you without trying to change you.
Feelings are not debatable.