Very few would purposefully invalidate someone else.
So critical in fact, that parenting experts report that it’s one of the most important things a parent can do to foster healthy psychological development in their children (Read: The Power of Validation by Karyn D. Denying someone’s feelings and emotional experience can make them feel like they’re going insane!
Validation is a critical communication tool and expression of love and acceptance in relationships. What’s scary, it can be one of the most subtle and inadvertent abuses.
A person can state, “You think it’s wrong that you’re angry with your friend,” and not agree with you. But because they want to reassure you they invalidate by saying, “You shouldn’t think that way.” Wanting to Fix Your Feelings: “Come on, don’t be sad. ” People who love you don’t want you to hurt so sometimes they invalidate your thoughts and feelings in their efforts to get you to feel happier.
Invalidation, as used in psychology, is a term most associated with Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Marsha Linehan.
Hence disqualifiers say things in a way that allows them “plausible deniability.” They can claim they were misinterpreted if another important family members objects. The answer has to do with something that the psychoanalysts, who got a lot of things wrong, got right.
If you have led a normal life, this has happened to you thousands of times. As human beings, we are 98% emotional and 2% rational.
When people invalidate themselves, they create alienation from the self and make building their identity very challenging.
Most people would deny that they invalidate the internal experience of others.
Invalidation is emotionally upsetting for anyone, but particularly hurtful for someone who is emotionally sensitive.
Invalidation disrupts relationships and creates emotional distance.
As I described in my post on the family dynamics of borderline personality disorder, “Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person said.