Invalidation is denying or ignoring a person’s emotional experience and communicating that their thoughts or feelings are not valid or wrong.
Invalidation hurts the most when you feel like people are not listening to you, misunderstanding or minimizing what you are saying, or you feel that you are being ignored. Invalidation as a child or adult can come from family members, teachers, friends, people you work with, or your partner.
Invalidation, when used as manipulation by others, can be abusive and lead to damaging effects such as low self-esteem, depression, reliance on others, anxiety, and self-harm. –
However, not all invalidation is malicious. People may unconsciously invalidate others because they are uncomfortable with emotions, they want you to feel better quickly, they do not understand you or why you feel a certain way, or they could just lack the skills to validate someone. –
Invalidation may hurt but it is not always unwarranted. Sometimes invalidation is used as a way to challenge you to change and grow.
Before reacting defensively to invalidation you need to determine if the person’s comments are valid or not. You can do this by examining all of the evidence. Who is the person who made the comment? Is this someone you trust their judgment? Does this person usually make invalidating comments that are not warranted? Take a step back from the situation and analyze it closely before you respond. –
One step in healing from a lifetime of unwarranted invalidation is to learn about how to validate yourself and others and to respond to invalidation in a healthy way. Learn to give yourself self-compassion and start exploring and identifying how you really feel rather than relying on the words of others. Only you know how you feel.
Engaging in self-care and finding healthy and supportive people in your life is a good step in recovering from invalidation.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us directly.