Have you been in a relationship with someone who constantly mocks & judges you? Has this person told you often how wrong, stupid or even crazy you are? As a result, do you struggle with relationships & mental health? If so, you are a victim of chronic invalidation.
Invalidation is an utterly sinister form of mental abuse. It’s when people reject, mock or judge another person’s feelings. Invalidation implies or sometimes says outright that the person being invalidated is wrong, stupid, abnormal or even crazy for feeling the way they do.
Invalidation is a common tool of abusers, in particular narcissists. Chronic invalidation destroys a person’s ability to trust themselves, & victims turn to their abusers for information. This makes the invalidated person easy to control, which of course is the goal for abusers.
Toxic shame is another natural result of chronic invalidation. Constantly feeling that there is something deeply wrong with you normally makes you feel ashamed of yourself. After all, if you believe you are wrong about everything, stupid, abnormal or crazy, why would you feel anything other than toxic shame!?
Another natural result of chronic invalidation is secrecy. You are reminded often of how awful you are, you learn that your thoughts, feelings & experiences aren’t worth sharing with anyone, not only the person who made you feel this way. Why would you talk about anything when clearly, at least in your mind, nothing about you is worth discussing?
Some mental health problems can be a direct result to chronic invalidation too. Being angry is certainly natural & understandable. No one likes the feeling of being put down constantly, no matter how much they may believe they deserve it. Many victims turn their anger inward & become self harming or even go as far as to having suicidal thoughts. Others turn that anger outward & become as abusive as their own abusers were.
Depression is another natural result of chronic invalidation. Not only does it make a person angry but also sad. Believing you are too awful, stupid, etc. for words is extremely depressing! Plus depression sometimes can be anger turned inward & ignored rather than dealt with, so depression in these situations is completely normal.
Relationships are affected drastically when someone experiences chronic invalidation. Victims may continually end up in abusive relationships, either romantic or friendships. This is because it can impossible for a victim of chronic invalidation to feel worthy of healthy relationships over toxic ones.
Victims also tolerate way too much because they believe abuse is normal. Or, if their abuser throws them the occasional bread crumb of love among the abuse, they believe the relationship is good, because they feel like wanting more is asking too much or being demanding.
Along these lines, victims also may sabotage or end healthy relationships because they feel so foreign, & too good to be true.
Victims also often find themselves taking on too much responsibility in relationships. If their partner isn’t happy, they assume it’s their fault & they must make this person happy. If the partner is happy, that is a form of validation to victims, so they try to make this happen at about any cost to themselves.
If you recognize yourself, please know there is hope! You can heal! Learn about boundaries & start setting them. Start small if you need to, because that will help you gain confidence which helps you to set bigger ones then bigger & bigger until you have healthy boundaries.
Question things. If someone makes you feel invalidated, ask yourself are they right or wrong? If it helps, imagine this scenario happened with someone else who feels as you do. Would you feel comfortable telling them the same things said to you? If not, why not?
And always ask God for help! Ask Him to show you the truth, to help you to heal & anything else you can think of that you need. With His help, you can heal & have healthier, loving relationships!