Signs of Emotional Invalidation
Do you struggle with expressing yourself? You feel overwhelmed or cry when trying to say what’s going on for you. You wonder why you can’t say how you feel and it leaves you not wanting to share too much.
If you find that you say
‘I’m fine’ when asked how you are
or ‘Its fine’ when you’ve been asked to do something
But its not fine and you feel far from fine – then this could be one of the signs that you have experienced emotional invalidation.
What is emotional invalidation
Emotional invalidation in basically the dismissal of another persons feelings. Its saying how you feel isn’t important or irrelevant and can take the form of
- Telling you are over sensitive
- Poking fun at you and then saying it was a joke
- Saying you should get over it
- Being told not to make a fuss
- Replying it could be worse
- Ignoring someone when they talk about how they feel
- Rolling their eyes when you talk
- Walking away during the conversation
- Playing on their phone
- Changing the conversation to talk about them
By playing down your experiences, name calling, blaming or trying to problem solve without actually understanding how you feel – this invalidates your feelings.
Emotional invalidation affects you by eroding your self esteem and confidence. To not draw attention you may become quiet and compliant. Trusting how you feel is difficult because you are always ‘wrong’. You may choose to try and blend in and stay under the radar so as not to bring attention to yourself. You are always ‘happy’ and wear a mask to cover your true feelings. Either way being ‘fine’ becomes more acceptable than to even try to express yourself as you don’t know how and no one will listen to you. Understandably it can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression as you cope with not feeling heard, understood or accepted.
When growing up with invalidated emotions you would have developed different coping behaviours. As humans main drive is to survive, you would have learnt ways to keep your care givers close. To look after you and keep you alive.
If care givers were not
- Emotionally available
- Able to express themselves
- Capable of containing their own feelings
then you would have naturally learnt to not cause a fuss or show how you feel.
By doing so you were able to keep emotionally and physically safe – even though it affected your self esteem.
Knowing the cause and effects of emotional invalidation helps you to understand yourself.
As an adult, you don’t need the coping behaviours learnt as a child. You can begin to be your true self, and learn how to express your feelings. Exploring your feelings in a safe confidential space means you can begin to feel heard and understood. Growing your confidence and becoming the person you have always been.
Not letting past experiences hold you back from being who you really are.
If this blog resonates with you, click on the contact page to get in touch and see how I can help.
About the author: Chris Boobier is the owner of CRB Counselling specialising in anxiety, trauma, Bereavement & loss. Supporting adults and adolescents, she is passionate about helping people be their authentic self through counselling.