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Needing Validation

One thing so many of us subjected to narcissistic abuse want more than anything is validation.  We’ve been ignored & invalidated so long, we’re starving for validation.  It’s very normal to feel that way.  Unfortunately, it also can be very hard to come by!

Many people don’t want to hear our stories, because they say it’s “too negative”, they don’t believe us (in all fairness, the things narcissists do sound so crazy it can be hard to believe), maybe they don’t believe narcissism is a real thing or that it’s so incredibly commonplace, or maybe they know the narcissist & don’t believe that person to be capable of doing the things you say she/he did to you.  It can be super frustrating because we aren’t making this stuff up (honestly.. who really is that creative?!) & we’re so starved for validation

Then there is the narcissist.  We would love validation from her.  How many of us wouldn’t be thrilled if one day that person admitted the things they had done to us, & begged for our forgiveness?  That would be the ultimate validation.  It’s also a false hope that keeps us in relationship with narcissists for well beyond a time that we should be.

This need for validation, while normal, also can prove to be a problem.

Dear Reader, while validation from outside sources is a wonderful thing to have, you need to understand that some people simply will NOT give it to you, no matter what.  I know that is painful, & I’m sorry, but it’s true.  It’s something you need to accept.  You can’t make someone believe you or show you empathy because of what you have experienced.

Some time ago, I had a strange dream.  In it, my car was nose to nose with a much smaller car in a parking lot.  I was maybe 50′ or so away.  Suddenly, the little sedan backed up & rammed into the front of my car, then backed up & did it again over & over.  I was panicked- I love my car & ain’t no one messing with her, even in a dream!  As I ran towards the cars, I realized the smaller car was shrinking- every time it hit my car, my car was fine, but the small car’s front end was becoming more smushed in.  It leaked fluids & smoked like crazy.  I stopped running & stared at this scene in shock & with some amusement.  Then I woke up.  Before I could even ask God what this dream meant, He told me.  It had a two-fold meaning:

  1. Narcissists & flying monkeys are like that sedan.  They are so determined to make their point known, they don’t care if they destroy themselves.  Stand strong on the truth & what I know, & like my car, I’ll be just fine while they destroy themselves.
  2. Don’t be like the sedan.  Some people won’t want to know what I’ve been through & I can’t make them care no matter what.  Don’t try to force them to change their views- it’ll hurt me way more than it’ll ever hurt them.

I think this can be a very good lesson for you too, Dear Reader.  Don’t be like the sedan!  Don’t try to force people to validate your pain if they don’t want to.

Instead, learn to validate your own pain.  Talk to God, journal, talk to supportive friends or a counselor, & accept the fact not everyone can validate your pain.  It’s hard, but you can do this!  And, not validating you is their right, after all.  No one is obligated to do so.  Some people simply aren’t very caring or empathetic.  The invalidating people do one thing good though- they make you appreciate the kind, caring ones who do offer validation even more.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Do You Validate Abuse?

Most of us who have experienced abuse in our childhood have trouble standing up for ourselves even as adults.  It feels wrong, like something you should never do.

 

But, did it ever cross your mind that by not defending yourself, you are validating the abuse?  It gives the abuser permission to treat you however they want to.

 

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, it’s not always easy to put a stop to their evil actions.  They seem to think they have the right to do anything they want to whomever they want.  Even so, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries with them.

 

Remember, with narcissists, you can’t set boundaries like you can with normal people.  Normal people will respect it when you say that something they did hurt you.  They will apologize & try to make it up to you when appropriate.  Narcissists are the complete opposite- they will not only refuse to apologize, but remember what you complain about to do it more often.  They also may blame you for making them do that, being oversensitive or even making things up.

 

You have to get creative in setting boundaries with narcissists.

 

First, ask God for creative ideas.  He will NOT disappoint you!  Once, my mother told me where a former teacher of mine works.  She said he asked about me & she told him I don’t work (apparently being an author isn’t a real job.. could’ve fooled me!).  That made me angry, her discounting my writing yet again.  In venting to God, He put an idea in my head.  I made up new business cards, & when I saw this teacher with my parents a couple of weeks later, proceeded to give him one in front of my mother.  The look of shock on her face was priceless!  And, she couldn’t say a thing or else she would have looked bad in front of my old teacher.  HA!

 

Secondly, always do your best to appear happy or neutral when setting a boundary.  Never show your hurt or anger, as I mentioned above.  Also, it flusters them when you can set a boundary cheerfully after their valiant attempt to hurt you.  When they get flustered, they will stop what they are doing.

 

And, don’t forget- subject changes can be your friend.  Rather than saying you don’t want to talk about whatever topic they are using to hurt you, change the subject.  It may not always work, but it will help you sometimes.  Just be sure to keep changing the topic back to what they wanted to talk about if they try to change it back.

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Do You Validate Or Invalidate Yourself?

Validation is very hard to come by.  People are very quick to minimize the successes of others & to tell others their pain isn’t so bad.  When others either fail to validate you or directly, deliberately invalidate you, it hurts.  It also leads many people to invalidate themselves, especially when the invalidation starts early in life by their own parents.  Parental invalidation of a child easily can instill a belief in the child that she or he isn’t worth validating.  Accomplishments, dreams, needs, feelings all become trivial, unworthy of any recognition.  I believe invalidating a child helps to instill a root of deep shame in him or her.  The child becomes ashamed of his or her own needs, wants, feelings & even accomplishments.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, this is a very common phenomenon.  In my own life, I have only recently begun to see how badly I have invalidated myself.  I tend to look at what I haven’t done rather than what I have, & berate myself for what I haven’t done rather than be proud of what I have. Or, if I accomplish something good, I just look at it as something anyone can do, or it’s something I should do so why should that be celebrated?  My wants, needs & feelings come after those of others, even if I have a crisis.  While I am getting a bit better at these behaviors, it’s difficult since they are so deeply ingrained in me.  Plus, by behaving this way, I have essentially told others it’s perfectly OK for them to invalidate me, which means others do so on a regular basis.

If this describes you as well, I want to encourage you today to do as I am trying to do myself- begin to validate yourself!  It’s time to recognize that your wants, needs, actions & feelings are just as important as those of other people.  To do this, ask yourself why you believe the way you do.  What makes you think your wants, needs, etc. are less important than those of other people?  If you are unsure, ask God to show you.  Once you realize why you feel the way you do, ask Him to speak truth to you about why you feel this way.  Are your feelings accurate?  Or, are they the result of someone else invalidating you?  How can you change this false belief into the truth?

Also, pay attention to those things you feel, good & bad, & acknowledge them.  Don’t brush things off so easily- feel your feelings.  If someone hurt you, then feel that hurt & be good to yourself by doing nice things that make you feel good.  If you feel good because you accomplished a task that was on the back burner for too long, stop & bask in how good that feels for a few minutes.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Maybe even celebrate by giving yourself a gift.

Another thing to think about.  People who invalidate on a regular basis are often toxic.  They can be narcissists (or even just plain self-centered people) who believe they are the only ones worthy of validation, passive/aggressive types who use it as a means of punishing others, or they can simply be the superficial type of people who don’t like to delve into any deeper subject matter.  Superficial people don’t care for anything that requires much thought or effort on their part, & validation requires some of both.  Validation requires one to see things through another’s eyes if you wish to truly understand their feelings, plus you have to consider the right thing to say to properly validate another person.

In any case, the point is an invalidating person is the one with the problem, not you.  People want & need validation.  It’s how God made us, & is completely normal to want it!  I believe it is also abnormal not to wish to bless people by giving it freely.  There is nothing wrong with you for being hurt or disappointed when you are invalidated.  But, since it is becoming a rare thing in today’s society, you can validate yourself.

And, while you’re becoming more aware of the importance of validating yourself, don’t forget to validate others as well!  People are starving for validation- be a blessing, & validate others!  If you are unsure when it’s appropriate, ask God to show you who to validate & when.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism