The power of validating and being validated can’t be understated. As human beings we all have a need to feel heard. To have others reflect and mirror us. We have a need to feel empathy from others. Even if at times it’s just for the sake of feeling sane we have a need to feel validated by others. If we have a bruise or a cut it’s the difference between others just noticing it, and them saying, ‘Oh that looks sore.’ However, when someone looks at that bruise or cut and refuses to acknowledge it, or they tell us it doesn’t look sore, they don’t accept how it happened then we are being invalidated. When this is deliberate then it’s abuse through invalidation.
Invalidating another person can be unintentional and subtle but it is still a very damaging form of abuse. When we deliberately deny another’s experience or feelings they may feel there’s something wrong with them for feeling the way they do, even question their own experience.
Although some may invalidate through a misguided sense of helping or alleviating distress, Invalidation when deliberate is a form of manipulation. Its is a form of control, emotional injury and humiliation.
It’s not that bad
Get over it
You’re too sensitive
I don’t understand
I don’t accept that
Sure look at the things you do/say
Consider yourself lucky
You should be grateful
No one else has a problem with it
Stop going on about it
That didn’t happen
It could be worse
You shouldn’t feel like that
We’re not talking about this
If you’ve heard anything like this rest assured you are not crazy. You’re feelings and experiences are real. If they are being dismissed by another then perhaps they are the one’s with the problem. Some people lack empathy. Some don’t have the capacity to understand the effect of their invalidation. For some the thought of accepting responsibility of their words or actions is emotionally humiliating. In other words to validate you would feel like they’re invalidating themselves.
Recognizing when we validate another person we are not necessarily agreeing with them or liking what they’re saying, but we are respecting their experience and them as fellow human beings.
When we validate another we are saying, “I hear you and I care.”
This article was written by sentientcounselling