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Emotions are very mysterious; every person reacts differently, even when it’s the same situation. One such emotion is invalidation — well, it is not as simple as it seems, but it’s important to remember that it can have a detrimental impact on those it is used against.
You might have come across people, who are almost always dismissive of everything. Such people are ignorant, and having a relationship with them can be mentally daunting.
At times, these people are also known to be really very toxic for your personal growth. But it is more important that you understand the signs of invalidation, so that you can deal better with the situation.
Psychological invalidation is a term that is used to describe the act of belittling a person and making them feel less important. Sometimes, it can be regarded as a form of emotional abuse that does not take into consideration what the other person feels, thinks or experiences.
Also, we need to understand not all kinds of invalidation are dreadful. That’s because there is a possibility that the other person might be overreacting to a situation.
Also, invalidators are of different kinds:
Most of the time, a person does not even realise that they are invalidating others, and justifies it as constructive feedback. A person who invalidates others does not have the ability to express his/ her emotions in a rational manner, and uses power and force instead. It has been observed that a person who validates others has also been a victim of invalidation.
“Most commonly, children who experience invalidation from their parents are known to invalidate others, when they grow up,” says Dr Sonal Anand, psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai .
1. You feel uncomfortable and scared about sharing your views with the person, who you feel is invalidating you. Eventually, this can lead to a major rift and it is very hard for a relationship like this to flourish.
2. You have a general sense of low self-esteem, which impacts various other aspects of your life. “You feel scared instead of nervous, before taking up anything challenging. That’s because your confidence is at an all time low,” suggests Dr Anand.
3. You feel dejected and low, and are unable to focus. This can also hamper your creativity.
4. You are fearful of expressing new ideas or even forming new relationships, due to low self-confidence.
5. You observe changes in appetite, either by way of binge-eating or anorexia.
“It could also cause increased depression or anxiety, if you were already going through some mental health issues,” advises Dr Anand.
“Don’t get emotionally overwhelmed. Instead, try to get a grip over yourself and your situation. It is important to be affirmative sometimes. Try to explain your point of view and how you look at the situation. If invalidation continues it is time to re-evaluate the relationship. Professional counseling can help in dealing with low self-esteem and conflict clearing,” suggests Dr Anand.
Another thing you should always remember is that if you are being let down by somebody who is invalidating you time and again, don’t feel guilty about it. You yourself should validate your feelings, so that others get a message that you’re emotional.