Invalidating the self

DAVID YANDA | OPINION COLUMNIST Emotional invalidation: an infamous and infuriating junction between the misunderstood and judgmental where identity-erosion inadvertently emerges as an aversive guest.

Although often immediately received as scornful and uncompassionate, invalidation, when executed properly, compensates for its irritable nature with fruits of selflessness and maturity.

Obnoxious as it is unreasonable, rejecting an emotional response as acceptable will almost always leave the recipient feeling gutted and reeling in resentment.

Any given action by any given person will always flush out as rational at the present time it was conducted.

Invalidation is so common in our society that you’ve probably inadvertently done it to others – and to yourself.

Emotional invalidation wears you down, and in the long term has an extremely negative effect on self-confidence and well-being.

In fact, one definition of the so-called "borderline personality disorder" is "the normal response of a sensitive person to an invalidating environment" (Psychiatrist R. Laing said that when we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. He writes "...a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). So I give myself a time-out, I nurture my inner whiny child or nurse my wounds, allow myself to feel self-pity, then I remind myself how many blessings I have and try to do better.

He found that when one's feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even they are perfectly mentally healthy. Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. Sometimes it feels as though as a parent life is so overwhelming and there is too much for one person to do.

It’s everywhere – and sometimes so subtle you don’t even realize it’s happening.Studies have shown that it increases the likelihood of problems such as anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder in adulthood, and is sometimes labeled as a form of emotional abuse.) 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.It’s called emotional invalidation, and for most of us, it starts in childhood, with parents and other adults.This is true for me – growing up, I was a sensitive kid and I cried easily.