Emotional invalidation is a significant topic.
It comes up in a few ways: invalidating in yourself, invalidating in others and others invalidating your feelings or thoughts.
Caveat: don’t beat yourself up if you discover that you’ve dismissed someone’s thoughts or feelings in the past. You likely have at some point.
Here’s the thing: when we understand more, we can do better.
Invalidation means rejecting, dismissing, or minimizing someone’s feelings or thoughts.
It sends the message that a person’s internal experience is not important. That their experience is wrong, insignificant, or unacceptable.
It can leave you feeling you’re crazy – doubting yourself and feeling confused.
Some people knowingly invalidate others. They use it to manipulate, control, and injure psychologically.
More often it’s unintentional.
You mean to make someone feel better – or differently. Or you’re caught up in your own stuff.
What you might not realize is there’s judgement involved: you’re trying to get the person to feel something you consider more accurate or valid – or even emotionally/mentally healthy.
But validating someone’s feelings doesn’t mean agreeing with their subjective reality. It just means allowing the space for the person’s emotions to exist.
Validation is the foundation of emotional safety in relationships. It communicates love and acceptance. It’s a critical communication tool.
Here are examples of invalidating statements to eliminate:
“You shouldn’t feel that way.”
“Just get over/on with it.”
It could be worse.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“I’m not having this discussion.”
“You’re too sensitive (overreacting).”
“Why are you making such a big deal over it?”
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