Emotional invalidation: what it is, the type, how it affects us and examples

Chances are we have all heard phrases like “What worries you is nothing”, “You drown in a glass of water”, “I don’t know why you care so much about things that don’t. don’t matter. “,” You’re a melodramatic, you take it all in stride “and things like that besides not helping someone who might need it, what is done is to invalidate their emotions.

Emotional invalidation occurs in those acts of everyday life in which the emotions of others are rejected or minimized, and can be brought about in oneself when one tries to deny or avoid certain emotions felt at certain times.

In this article, we will briefly explain what emotional invalidation is. and what are some of the most common situations it usually occurs in people’s lives, as well as their influence on factors conducive to the development of borderline personality disorder.

    What is emotional invalidation?

    Emotional invalidation is made up of these lived experiences in which you have experienced denial of your own feelings by other people, or avoidance or rejection by others, being an experience that unfortunately most people have had at some time or even several times in their life, may have been given the case that others have acted incorrectly without intending to do so, either because of distraction or ignorance of the right way to act in a given situation.

    Regardless, it is important to consider some of the most common forms of emotional impairment towards others in order to be aware of them and prevent them from happening again due to the harm that other people might. cause.

      Different types of emotional invalidation

      Here are some of the more common forms of emotional impairment.

      1. Remove the importance of something that worries another person

      A very common form of emotional invalidation is when we have explained to someone that we are sad for some reason and instead of trying to put ourselves in our shoes, he just tells us “it’s nothing, you shouldn’t care”, or “everything revolves around you, you are drowning in a glass of water” and similar phrases that come to mind.

      At the same time, most of us have told other people at some point, maybe because we weren’t in the mood at the time or because we didn’t seem so. relevant. And while we probably haven’t done it with bad intentions, it’s important to keep in mind that each person experiences and sees things differently from others, which is why we need to respect them and not. judge. serious or not, but we just need to show our support for that person when they say something to us that worries them, making them feel heard and understood.

        2. Emotional repression

        There are times when it is not others who are causing the invalidation, but it is oneself that is emotionally invalidated. it happens when we feel bad and try to hide our discomfort in an attempt to prevent people around us from realizing that we are having a wrong time, perhaps out of embarrassment of being judged, or for some other reason.

        The reality is that when we suppress our emotions, we are more likely to end up “exploding” so that the explosion is more harmful than if at the beginning we had expressed this emotion and asked for help, either to someone who is close to us. trust or a mental health professional.

        In some cases, an emotional disability such as suppressing our emotions could negatively impact many areas of our life. it could cause us symptoms of stress and anxiety.

          3. Judge emotions

          A form of emotional invalidation is when another person’s emotions are judged, by actions such as telling them they are too sensitive. And that in addition to not helping the other person, it might be easier for them to feel uncomfortable or uncomfortable.

          In this case, something similar happens in cases where the concerns of others are minimized, having to follow the same advice, and we should try to sympathize with that person and accept that we don’t mind that this person is worried. doesn’t mean she has to stop feeling like this because of it.

          If we try to put ourselves in his shoes, maybe we can understand that he has enough reasons to worry, or at least even if we don’t fully understand his reasons for being, just by showing our support and proving that we are there maybe enough and what this person really needs.

            4. Believe that what happens to yourself is more serious than what happens to others

            Another very common emotional impairment that occurs in everyday life is when a person tells a friend or family member that they are having a bad time under certain circumstances and that the other person responds. “It’s nothing, if I tell you what I’m going through right now …”, or phrases like this “could be worse, if you knew what I’ve been through.”

            These ways of responding to someone who is talking to another person because they are going through it not only will not help them feel better, but might just cause them to do the opposite and make them feel that what is happening to them is not. It doesn’t really matter, when in reality for that person if they are and that’s what needs to be considered.

              Strategies to Avoid Emotional Disability

              Some guidelines for preventing emotional invalidation of others would be the following:

              • Don’t judge how another person is feeling.
              • Listen carefully to what he is saying and put yourself in his shoes to understand what he is feeling.
              • Sometimes the best resource may be to give that person a hug.
              • Tell the other person that they can tell us how they feel and that we are there.
              • Show understanding for the other person when they tell us how they’re feeling and having a bad time.
              • Don’t underestimate what is worrying another person.
              • Don’t compare what is happening to you with what is happening to the other person.

              Further guidelines for avoid emotional invalidation are the following:

              • Learn to listen to yourself to understand the emotions you are feeling.
              • Don’t suppress your emotions.
              • Avoid loopholes to dodge our emotions.
              • Take a break and don’t force yourself to recover until a bad time happens.
              • Go out when needed and in front of people you trust.
              • Calling in a psychologist is considered necessary because we feel overwhelmed.

              Influence of emotional disorders on borderline personality disorder (BPD)

              There are studies that indicate that the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is caused by an interrelation between social and genetic influences, with a determining role in gene weight or heredity. For example, in studies with univitelline or monozygotic twins, it was found that when one was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, the other was 55% more likely to develop the same disorder.

              On another side, when situations of violence or abandonment have been experienced from an early age, this has also been a factor in the development of borderline personality disorder. There are also studies that found that 60% of the patients in the sample who were diagnosed with BPD had been sexually abused as children.

              Whether childhood trauma determined the subsequent development of BPD, without any other favorable factors, remains a subject of debate and research.

              Professionals representing dialectical therapy and behavioral (CDT), conceived as a psychological treatment for borderline personality disorder, argue that negative social influences on childhood are extremely detrimental to that person’s regulation emotionally, which promotes further development of a TLP.

              In In this sense, the emotional invalidation of a child, despised and / or ridiculed by his parents, plays a relevant role, for example, when the child cries because he has been hurt and his mother tells him: be silly, nothing hurts you, so don’t overdo it.

              Emotional handicap or total disregard would be what children who have been sexually abused go through, and it is in such cases that his feelings and emotions have been deeply despised, dishonored and outraged, being a major factor in the possible further development of a TLP..

              In short, studies so far have not found an unequivocal determinant in the development of borderline personality disorder, but they have been able to uncover a number of negative factors experienced during childhood that influence very important on a possible development of it. in later years (eg, extreme emotional impairment, sexual abuse, trauma, and the role of genes, among others).

              Bibliographical references

              • Boll, S. (2009). Therapy for borderline personality disorders. Mind and Brain, 36, p. 20-27.
              • Fernández-Abascal, EG, Garcia, B., Jiménez, MP, Martín, MD and Dominguez, FJ (2011). Psychology of emotion. Madrid: Ramón Areces University Publishing House.
              • Lambie, JA and Lindberg, A. (2016). The role of maternal emotional validation and invalidation in children’s emotional awareness. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 62 (2), p. 129-157. https://doi.org/10.13110/merrpalmquar1982.62.2.0129.
              • Rodriguez, A. (2019). Manual of psychotherapies. Theory and technique. Barcelona: Herder.

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