Invalidating a person

These types of responses to children’s emotions are common, and usually not ill-intentioned, but they can be very damaging.

Emotional invalidation doesn’t just happen to children, either.

I went through years of silent abuse, thinking if I tried harder, if I was nicer it would work, I would change and please my husband. I think silent abuse is the worst of all abuses because you don't see it, but it weights you down like heavy bags of sand on your shoulders.

For years when a person came to me because they had to change because the other people at work didn't like them or their husband or in-laws didn't like them, I would tell them. Your problem is you are with people who do not value or appreciate who you are." I never dreamed that was my problem also.

Every decision, every behavior and every motivation we experience is driven by our emotions.

And yet, our culture says that raw emotions are bad.

This is true for me – growing up, I was a sensitive kid and I cried easily.

But instead of feeling supported in those moments, I was told that I was too sensitive, that I needed to stop crying, that I shouldn’t be upset.

It is, in my subjective opinion, one of the root causes of relationship conflicts, trauma-induced mental illness and violence.

) A sensitive child who is repeatedly invalidated becomes confused and begins to distrust his own emotions. The Power of Positive Thinking was a big one at the time.

He fails to develop confidence in and healthy use of his emotional brain-- one of nature's most basic survival tools. She would have me read to her while she made dinner. I believe in being mindful of our feelings, and expressing them unless it would be harmful to someone else in which case, find a safe outlet – write, paint, maybe vent to a listening friend.

When we are invalidated by having our feelings repudiated, we are attacked at the deepest level possible, since our feelings are the innermost expression of our individual identities. As a parent I want to teach my kids these things I’ve learned.

Telling a person she shouldn't feel the way she does feel is akin to telling water it shouldn't be wet, grass it shouldn't be green, or rocks they shouldn't be hard. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. So when they felt bad or angry I tried to help them find a way to make themselves feel better.

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