But it happens. Image courtesy of Rido at dreamstime.com
Out of all the feelings I hate the most, at the top of the list would be invalidation. My Collins thesaurus defines invalidation as “having no force based on a mistake.”
Well, I would like to take the meaning of invalidation a step further. It would mean in my eyes that the so-called “mistake” is a mistake in the eyes of a certain person.
In a psychological sense, to feel invalidated would mean that very real feelings, and worse, facts are said to be false, not true, and to have never happened.
I will give an example, but change the name to protect anonymity.
Yesterday, my neighbour promised to spend time with me. She promised, in specific terms to ‘have a cup of tea with me.’
Now, I do not believe I am amnesic, for I know she said this; but I also know what she’s like. Let’s call her Sarah.
Sarah is very much a ‘on my terms’ person. There is not a lot of flexibility.
I used to feel anger, but deal with it in the wrong way. I would lose my temper, or behold a grudge.
Now I take in the bins for the neighbours when I am home. And remember.
I very much felt like taking in the bin for one neighbour, but not the other neighbour. However, I am was not going to let my temper get the better of me.
However, I said calmly that I no longer wanted to go op shopping like she wanted to on Saturday. In my books, that was a better way of dealing with invalidation and the feelings of anger that often go hand-in-hand with it.
When feeling invalidated:
**1. If it is real for you, then validate yourself.%% Don’t begin to put yourself down. Don’t believe you are stupid.
2. It is not worth losing energy expressing anger in unproductive ways to the person who invalidates you. It also is a wrong action as much as invalidating someone. I don’t believe in yelling, or getting nasty, because that can be just as hurtful. Try to remain calm and rational.
3. It is okay, however to feel angry. The anger comes from being treated like someone who does not know when they are being lied to. In other words, you are also being treated like a less intelligent being than you are. It’s okay to be angry.
4. Anger can be channelled, however into not wasting time on a non-reciprocal relationship. If invalidation occurs occasionally, you don't have to hastily withdraw from the relationship. However, if it does, spend time with someone who treats you as the real three-dimensional person you are.
5. Anger can also be channelled into asking yourself what good can come from a broken promise - something you were looking forward to. In this case, I am happy, because for days, I've been wanting 'me-time' to spend writing, and now I have it.
Invalidation happens to us all at times. People are fallible. It might be because they cannot face the fact they can't be honest, or because they really can't remember. Or maybe you did forget. Either way, your feelings are real just because they are.