Emotional validation and invalidation, two different but essential aspects of understanding human nature. So what does emotional validation is? It’s about understanding and accepting another person’s emotional experience. Invalidation is when the person’s emotions are rejected, ignored, or undermined. When someone undermines our emotions, it’s a painful experience, especially for people who have been survivors of any form of abuse.
Your feelings are important. Emotions are an integral part of human nature and shouldn’t be ignored. When you feel angry, sad, stress, or fear it’s reflecting that something is not right. Feelings cannot be deemed as right or wrong. They are rumination of your ideas and experiences and thoughts. That is why two people can feel differently in the same situation. However, it should be kept in mind that acknowledging someone’s feelings is different from agreeing with them.
Most of the time the other person doesn’t know or possess low emotional intelligence to understand emotions and accepting them. Sometimes it is the form of Narcissism where a person makes you question how you are feeling or thinking about a particular situation. They dictate your emotions for you.
If it is consistent it can be considered as a form of gas lighting or emotional abuse.
Invalidating emotions simply means that the person refuses to accept or ignore how you feel. They tend to imply that your emotion is wrong or you are overreacting to a situation. The ways to invalidate someone’s emotion include blaming them for overreacting, judging them for expressing their emotions, or defying their emotions altogether.
Some common phrases for invalidating emotions are,
- You shouldn’t be angry.
- Don’t be sad.
- You make big deal out of everything!
- You’re being Petty…
- You probably misunderstood this?
How to tackle invalidations:
When someone emotionally invalidates us, the first response we think of is to defend ourselves. We want to be validated, we want to feel what we are expressing is important which makes sense but, in most cases is not a helpful approach for a Getaway. Especially if someone is trying to gaslight you. The last thing you want is to take a defensive stand and get yourself into a nonproductive argument.
Before you react to any form of invalidation ask itself a few things,
- Is this person an important aspect of my life?
- does it matter to me what this person thinks?
- Does this person generally understand or reason with me when I express myself or does he or she denies it?
- How does this person react before when I tried to express myself?
At times it’s not worth making an unknown person or even a friend understand your emotions, When seeking emotional validation you have to understand the nature of bonding with this person but you also have to understand and consider their emotional capabilities. If this human constantly denies how you feel take a step back from them and process your own emotions and take care of yourself. You can be constructive and without blaming other people express that you feel emotionally invalidated, this gives you room to express the hurt you have felt as a result and gives other individuals a chance to think it through. Again, the focus of this invalidation shouldn’t turn into a debate of blame game, who is right and who is wrong but to set a boundary and to walk away if you feel your emotions are not respected.
How to self-validate your feelings:
As important as it is to build relationships with humans who love and respect you, it is equally important to take care of yourself and your feelings. Here are some tips to validate your self first,
- I am going to accept the emotions feeling without denial or suppressing them.
- I will take a step back and think about how I feel about a certain situation.
- I can accept my feelings and stay open to other person’s opinions as long as they maintain mutual respect.
- I can choose to leave people who emotionally invalidate me whether I will be surrounded by people who understand and help me to feel and grow and become a better person.
Understanding that emotion has a purpose and it’s OK to have all sorts of feelings. Feelings are not right or wrong, Most of us get stuck with the notion that they need people who are close to them to understand and validate to them how they feel, but it’s an equally important thing for you to accept your own emotions. You are the only one who can do it yourself!