Understanding Emotional Invalidation - Why Some People Don't Feel Safe in Conversations

Posted by tonyoverbay

Understanding Emotional Invalidation - Why Some People Don't Feel Safe in Conversations. Tony refers to the article What Is Emotional Invalidation by Brittany Carrico https://psychcentral.com/health/reasons-you-and-others-invalidate-your-emotional-experience#how-to-validate-someone

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[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 324 of the Virtual Couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. And today we are going to talk about validation, emotional validation. And before we get to that, just a very quick we'll get all the business out of the way, right out of the gate. You can go to Tony over Macomb workshop. I still have my very affordable we're talking $19 hour and a half workshop on all of the things that you go into a relationship in essence not knowing we don't have all the tools from the factory and then we get into relationships and we don't understand that we all have our own experiences and what emotional validation looks like and in differentiation, all those therapy buzzwords that are so important though, that we just don't know until we have to go find the tools. So I'm trying to give you a head start. You can go to Tony over Macomb workshop and you can go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you're interested in my online recovery program that is continuing to help people turn away from unhealthy coping mechanisms like turning to pornography and helping people become just their very best selves. And we have an online group every week that meets and it is just getting stronger and stronger. So PATHBACKRECOVERY.COM And if you're looking for the world of online counseling, you need if you need help there, go to virtual couch dot com slash.

[00:01:14] Nope that is not it. That is not it Tony over ebay.com slash virtual couch at 10% off your first month's treatment, you can be seeing somebody within 24 or 48 hours and you can see somebody online. You can see somebody through telehealth or there's even people that are texting and emailing and being able to reach out to a therapist pretty quick and they can help with a variety of things. So all of that said, let's get to today's topic. Today, we're going to talk about emotional validation. And I feel like there's a lot of talk around validation. That word seems to be just out there. You're seeing it more on Tik Tok therapy or people's posts on Instagram or podcasts. And and I'm grateful. I'm glad that it's getting a lot of attention or a lot of buzz because the concept of validation is so significant. Now I'm going to have Jennifer Finlayson Fife, one of my favorite guests, is coming on again in a few weeks. And she she has I think she's been on the show three times. And those are probably the top three downloads that I have. But I believe that she has a quote that I love where she says, you know, we want connection. We think that we want connection. But really, we are really just seeking validation that we want somebody to tell us that things are okay. And we need to recognize that at some point in this process of maturing emotionally, that we can validate ourselves so we can feel like, no, we are okay.

[00:02:34] And that way we can show up in a marriage. And we're not just looking for validation constantly that we're looking for a connection and we're looking for intimacy in those sorts of things. I want to set the table before I get to some really good conversation or some good content around validation to just let me take you on my train of thought. So I've had clients from almost every profession doctors, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, accountants stay at home moms, athletes, politicians, dentist salesmen, you name it. And one of the things that I love that I truly enjoy is learning, in essence, what they see, what they recognize because of their job, that if you are doing something over and over and especially something that you really enjoy or love, that you see, something that shows up in behavior or in something that somebody says that then you know, that that person either really understands what they're talking about or they don't. And let me give you some examples. An easy example is that once when I had asked a dentist if he looked at people's teeth everywhere he went out in the wild at parties, that that sort of thing. And he said, absolutely. He said, of course I am. Or a fascinating one time I had the opportunity to speak to a clinical psychologist that had spent time at one point in his career evaluating people to determine their sanity, meaning were they able to be tried in court? Were they able to be held as sane so that their decisions or their they could speak for themselves, that sort of thing? And he told me that what he found fascinating was watching people act out things that they assumed were the way that somebody who would be classified as insane would act.

[00:04:02] So he said they might make strange noises or he said one time somebody I think had jumped up on a chair. They started speaking gibberish or they barked like a dog. One time he talked about somebody that just continually drooled when he said that situation in particular, they've been watching this person through a closed circuit TV ad, which the person was apparently unaware of, and that guy was perfectly calm until the evaluator entered the room. But then he said when somebody would come in and just have this cold, just this this affect, or they would walk through a crime and there would just be this complete void of emotion and this dead stare. He said that's where he would know, okay, this is what this really looks like when this person is either experiencing psychopathy or insanity or those sort of things. So I thought that that was really interesting. And boy, I told you, I've admitted in a couple of episodes recently that I'm really drawn to interrogation videos, and that's where you really see the stuff.

[00:04:56] People that interrogate people for a living, it really does become. Hedonistic and you see the same things over and over or in the work that I do with narcissism or emotional immaturity. I was driving home from the airport last night with my wife and my daughter Alex, and we were talking about this and just we were going over a particular concept or this type of gaslighting that I see so often in my office. And it's to the point where I really and I told them that I had to stand in my healthy ego and that it's almost as if I wish that I was wrong about the that gaslighting is occurring in these certain situations. But so far it just continues to be the same over and over again when people show up and they try to communicate in a certain way a very passive aggressive or this covert, narcissistic way. Oh, and on that note, if you have not listened to or subscribe to my Waking Up to Narcissism podcast that continues to grow, and I interviewed Ross Rosenberg, who is the author of The Human Magnet Syndrome last week. That episode is going to come out in another week or two, but that was one of the most incredible interviews that I think I've done, where he talks a lot about what's called self love deficit disorder, or it's basically a new way to take a look at codependency and that we typically show up and almost become codependent in relationships because we maybe weren't modeled healthy version of how to love oneself, which I guess does it does kind of lead into the things that we're going to talk about today about validation.

[00:06:23] So that is coming up in a couple of weeks and I would highly recommend that maybe I'll run that as a bonus episode over here on the virtual couch as well. But I bring this up because I recently had someone ask me in an interview, What do I forget how they asked it? What do I fixate on, or what do I see more than anything out in the wild, so to speak, as a consequence of being a therapist? And there are some things that I seem to notice more than others. There's the constant use of the phrase good job. And if you happen to be familiar with the nurtured art parenting technique, at least the training that I first attended long ago, we were given a handout that I want to say consisted of five pages of things to say other than Good job, good job. Sounds positive and sure, it is far better than telling someone, Hey, you stink. But it doesn't necessarily build what they call inner wealth instead of good job. How about, hey, I appreciate you getting that done or that shows me that you're really responsible or things like that.

[00:07:12] So really acknowledging someone, you know, I see you not just good job, champ. And I also feel like I see people continually breaking one or more of my four pillars of a connected conversation, particularly pillar. I mean, actually, all of them pillar one assuming good intentions. I can hear that, by the way, of somebody saying things like, Oh, man, I can't believe you just said that. That is incredibly rude. You know, things like that or pillar to not telling someone, no, I don't believe you again, even if you don't believe them. That's an easy one because you literally will hear people say things like, you're wrong. I didn't say that. Or it can even take the form of I don't want to hear you say you can't do something. You can do hard things, meaning that you just invalidated somebody who is trying to be open or vulnerable or have a conversation. If they say something like, I don't feel good about giving a presentation at work, and instead of saying, Hey, you've done it before, which why? Why can't you do it now? It's things like starting with a question. Oh, tell me more about that. Why do you feel like you why do you feel that way? And then pillar three kind of building on that. Pillar three How about asking a few questions before telling somebody what you think? If somebody saying, you know, I think what you're doing, I think you're avoiding calling your boss because I think you're afraid that she may yell at you.

[00:08:25] Or how about, hey, why do you think you haven't called your boss? Because that just lends a to a conversation that is easy to lean into. And then pillar four is just hearing people just embrace this victimhood mindset or they just retreat to their bunker. They don't stay present. So they may do the first three pillars, right? But then they may hear you might hear them say something like, okay, you're right, my opinion doesn't matter. I'll just keep being the workhorse and everybody else can just do whatever the heck they want because the person goes into that victim mentality or that victim state because they want someone to then rescue them and to say, no, you're right, you're awesome. We're so grateful for you. But above all, I'm telling you, I feel like what I'm seeing more and more of is that concept of people telling others how they feel, not how I feel as a person, but how you feel. Let me tell you how you feel. Oh, you don't realize you're doing is or what you're really saying is or what you don't even realize or what I think you're feeling is this. And again, how about asking questions? And it isn't as difficult or scary or is it? And that's what we're going to talk about today.

[00:09:29] I mean, another variation is assuming that someone is supposed to know what they like, how they are feeling. There is no reason for me to just expect that my wife knows exactly what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling, or what I would love to see happen in certain situations. And I'm running into that more and more, and it's as if you have to ask for your needs to be met for somehow it's not going to be genuine or authentic. And now I am talking about emotionally healthy or people that are working on things in themselves and in the relationship. And I'm not talking about the narcissistic, emotionally immature relationships because in those situations then you are going to have people saying, this is what I would like to see in the relationship, but it's saying, A, because you're wrong or because you are doing it wrong, it's okay to come from a place of emotional vulnerability and say, Hey, I would love, I would love if we could connect more. You know, I would love if we had more conversation. I would love if there was more curiosity in the relationship. But here's where I fall back on pillar one of assuming good intentions. If my spouse says, okay, how would you like that? What would that look like to you? If you're saying, Hey, I would love it if you were more curious if you if you would ask more questions, because I feel like you don't really know me or I feel like I feel like I want to share these experiences with you.

[00:10:52] But then when I do, I feel like you just jump into your own narrative. And that happens so often in relationships. And so what that would look like is saying, okay, if I would like for you to be more curious, let me explain what that would look like. Let me give you an example that is near and dear to my heart. My wife and I had a very interesting conversation, and this is why I appreciate this. We've been married almost 32 years and I am a marriage therapist that's worked with 1000 couples plus and developed a and a marriage communication program. And I'm grateful that I have this this framework to work from, because we continually need to go to the framework. You don't just all of a sudden get this way to communicate down pat, and then there are never any challenges in communication. It's the opposite. There are challenges in communication. So it's nice to return to a framework. And I when she's expressing or telling me stories about certain people that she's interacting with, I would jump in often and say, Oh, okay. So that's fascinating because in my office I see this or I think this, and then I would notice that that would shut her down.

[00:11:52] And so the more we would have conversations around this, the more that she expressed to me that she felt like she would express something. And then in essence, it was if I was jumping in and then just saying, Oh, I know what that is here, let me diagnose that person or let me just tell you what what is happening in that conversation. And I was so grateful that she told me that because there's a part of me that wants to say, of course, of my emotional immaturity would say, okay, you don't know me then, because that is not who I am. That is not the way that I am showing up in the relationship. But if that's the way that she feels I'm showing up in the relationship, then oh my goodness. Thank you so much for sharing that. So then I said, Hey, what would that look like? Help me understand how I can show up so that we can continue having a conversation because I love having these conversations. So at that moment, if she would have said, Well, if I have to tell you, then it's not authentic, then it's not genuine. Oh, my goodness, no, please tell me because I care about you and I want to know now I reserve the right to say, okay, that would that might be really hard for me because I'm probably maybe I'm already down this path in my head.

[00:12:54] But the fact that you've told me that is I'm going to work hard. I'm going to be I'm going to be true. I'm going to try because I care about our relationship. So thank you so much for sharing that. And what was fascinating is this is where when we had this conversation, then she was able to see that, oh, there was no part of me that was trying to jump in and say, hey, you're wrong. Or Let me tell you, I'm so smart. This is what I know is happening. I was able to say after I understood her, after I heard her, after I validated her and I did not get offended or I did not go into my bunker, I didn't withdraw from the conversation. Then I was able to just say, I appreciate that that does that makes a lot of sense. And then I just shared with her, let me take you on my train of thought is that I felt like we are now connecting on this conversation because I felt like the way I could validate her was to give these experiences that I see in my office or because I thought I was relating to her. So once she understood that, oh, he's not trained to take over the conversation, he's he feels like this is a way to relate or connect. Now we're both leaning into each other. So now at this point, I'm noticing that I am no longer wanting to jump in and say, Oh, I have seen that.

[00:13:59] I think this is what's happening. But then there are times now where she sees me engaged or listening in the conversation and she might even say, Hey, so tell me, have you seen that in your office? Or what are some examples that you see? So again, it can be a fairly quick shift when you are showing up emotionally mature. And this is I had a couple of ones I think are the so often where the wife then they had been married a long time and then the wife just said, I really would love it if he would just tell me he loves me more, that even if he could tell me he loves me on a daily basis. And the guy of course makes a guy joke. He said, Hey, I told you at the wedding and he chuckles. She didn't think it was very funny, but then we had a great conversation that he didn't grow up ever really hearing much love expressed in his home. And so that just wasn't his default. But he cared about her, and so she had to ask if that would be. She would said, I would love to hear it more. I would love to hear you tell me that you love me. And he said, I would love to do that.

[00:14:53] I want to do that. It's not my default setting and I'm going to have to work on it. It's going to take me some time. But that was they showed up and they had an emotionally mature conversation. And I know because it came up in later sessions where she said it was still hard for her because there were a few days where then he didn't say it and then she said, okay, I guess he doesn't care about me. And then we brought it up in some later sessions and he just said No again, please. You assume the good intentions that I want to give that to you. It's just not my default programing at this point. And over time it will be if I have to put a sticky note, if I have to set a reminder. But of course I want to know you. And in order to do that. I need you to express yourself to me. I'm not a mind reader. And that's what that's another thing is I think about one of the most common questions that I ask, I feel like in my office is, well, have you told them that? Or What did they say when you told them or when you said that to them? To which more often or more times than not, I get back the answer. Oh, no, I didn't say that. I was just thinking that. And then, I mean, just imagine.

[00:15:52] Imagine going into a restaurant and just thinking, okay, I hope they get me what I want. They really should know. I've been here several times and I know that analogy isn't perfect, but something I might be feeling. Sometimes I'm feeling like I want the pasta. Sometimes it might be feeling like I want a burger. It might depend a lot on a lot of variables. When was the last time I had a burger? Or am I going on a long run tomorrow? Do I need a few extra carbs? Because even if our partner is pretty aligned with us, what are we pretending not to know that there are times where we may be predictable, but there are probably times that we're not. Or we're also just maybe assuming that people are somewhat similar or have similar needs and wants than we do, and why they might have similar ones, those might look completely different in a relationship. Because and I'll give you another example, which I thought was just fascinating. I remember one couple session where a husband was listening to his wife say that she felt like when he was engaged in projects that he ignored, the kids and husband did an amazing job of listening and validating and then thanking her and then expressing that he felt like there were also times where when he focused on the kids. But then she said that he wasn't ever getting the projects done on the task list that she so desperately wanted or asked for.

[00:16:57] And she said, You know what, you're right. And I can understand that would be confusing. And she said she needed to feel like she could ask him when a project really needed to be taken care of moving forward. And he really appreciated that. And so much of this stems from drum roll please. Shockingly, our childhood, because we are often not encouraged as kids to communicate what's wrong. We're told what's wrong. You know, your dad didn't mean to sound rude, you know that, right? Or, Oh, you're okay. You'll be okay. You'll be okay. How many times do we hear that? When you're a kid, it's fine. You can get over that. It's not a big deal, which is in essence teaching us early on that. Well, I guess my opinion about my experience really doesn't matter, and that might even be happening in our subconscious. And then we're being modeled that we can tell somebody how they're feeling. That's what our parents often do and why, bless our parents heart, talk about assuming good intentions. Well, if you fell down as a kid and now if you're a parent and you've maybe had that experience where your kid does fall down or does get hurt, there's a decent chance that a parent might feel bad because they really don't know how to comfort you. And when you start wailing, crying, expressing emotion, they're uncomfortable.

[00:18:05] And so the easiest thing to do is just to say it's okay. It's not a big deal. Stop crying. You're all right. Because sometimes if we say, Hey, tell me what you're feeling, but they come here, let me let me hold you, let me give you a hug. Then we may feel like, oh, my gosh, what if they just keep doing this? And what if they keep expressing emotion for the rest of the day, the rest of their lives? What if people see? That makes me feel uncomfortable. So how about I just tell them that it's going to be okay? Don't worry about it. And because in a parent may feel guilt, also because they feel like they didn't protect you or so the easiest way to make the parent feel better in that situation again is to tell you that you're okay. And then we carry that into our adult relationships. And again, if you look at that, because if you emit big emotion, then the parent may feel like they're a bad parent. And here comes good old shame kicking in. And the magnetic marriage course, Preston and Pug Meyer and I, we have an activity where we have each spouse write out everything about themselves, their favorite cereal, their ring size, their likes or dislikes. And it's really interesting on a couple of levels. A lot of people have a hard time answering the questions themselves, meaning they aren't really sure what they like and why, because they probably been told what they like for so long, or if they express what they think they like, then their reality is challenge somebody close to them saying, Really, you like that? I know you like that.

[00:19:17] I can't believe that. That's weird. I only weird people like that. Whatever you're saying that you like, which then that can lead to this concept of feeling invalidated. So today we're going to talk about validation, emotional validation. We're going to dig more into also emotional invalidation. That's probably where we're going to start. And for this part of the podcast, I'm going to be referring to a really good article from Psych Central called What is Emotional Invalidation by Brittney Kariko and Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Laettner, who is a PhD in left. So much of the content will be from Brittany and I'll be interspersing my thoughts in throughout. So let's get to this article. Brittany says Emotional invalidation can be hurtful, but learning to recognize it might help prevent its effects. So she says that validation is the acceptance of a person's thoughts, feelings and emotions. So then what is invalidation? It's the opposite when a person's thoughts, feelings and emotions and behaviors are being rejected or judged or ignored. So how often then, if I go back to this example of when someone is telling someone what they think, how they feel, or what they should do and nobody likes to be showed on, then that is emotional.

[00:20:29] Invalidation and invalidation can affect anyone at any age. So we kind of given those examples that we go through so often in childhood and whether you're a child or an adult, then invalidation is going to feel upsetting. It's going to feel painful because this is that concept of I really feel like abandonment is goes hand in hand with invalidation, that in childhood, if someone doesn't validate us, if they don't meet our needs, then we assume it's because they don't care about us or because there's something wrong with us or because we are broken. And if we go into relationships and we're seeking that external validation, then when someone emotionally invalidates us, we really do feel like they must not care. And this must be me. And that's why it can be so difficult to get out of this unfortunate trap of We want to grow and become more emotionally mature, but then when we're continually feeling emotionally invalidated, then it's hard to then really say, no, I am okay because if everybody around me is telling me how I think and feel and believe and. Doesn't really resonate with me. Then how can I not feel like, hey, I'm okay? And mentioned Ross Rosenberg earlier and the opposite of this self-love deficit that he talks about, which is this feeling like I'm not enough or I'm not okay, which can lead to this concept of pathological loneliness.

[00:21:47] The opposite of that is self love abundance. And it's realizing that I am imperfect, but I am a human being and I am okay as I am. And then as I start to then take action on things that matter to me, I am going to absolutely experience more invalidation because all of a sudden now I'm challenging these relationships where people have felt like they've been able to tell me how I feel, think and what I'm supposed to do my entire life. So this emotional invalidation from yourself or from others can lead to these feelings of worthlessness and self isolation. This loneliness and these feelings then impact your everyday life. Whether you're at home and work and especially in your relationships, you have to be in your intimate relationships. But if you're continually seeking external validation, if you don't feel sure of yourself, so you're wanting someone else to help you feel better about yourself, then this is where I give those examples of where there's a really good chance of that person's not going to say the right thing, and then you're going to feel like they don't care about you and that something's wrong with you. I give this example and I know I've done it in the past, but I had some knee troubles and I go out on a run and I won't go into the big long version of the story.

[00:22:53] But I didn't. I couldn't listen to music or books or podcasts, which was very unusual for me. And but I just ran. I was running my feelings out. And then I got home and I had had a time that I hadn't hit in a few years since having some knee, knee trouble. And then I was going to walk into the house and I and that's where it hit me, where if I, I felt good about my time now it was only a few seconds better than my best time since coming back from this knee injury. And so I thought, man, I'm, I feel really good about this because there was a period where I thought, am I going to have to give up running? Which is this thing that I've just had is such a core piece of my identity for 20 something years. So here I was not running the distances that I have, but I was running and it was the fastest time I had run in years. And so then I felt good. I was validated internally. I knew that was something I was excited about or I was proud of. So then as I entered the house, if I would have been seeking validation from my wife and basically saying, Hey, I'm not sure how I feel about this, so what do you think then? There were so many things that she could have said that would have been, quote, wrong.

[00:23:57] If she would have said if I would have said, yes, my best time in a couple of years, if she said, Oh, it's nice, then I would feel like, Oh my gosh, she doesn't even care. I must really be unlovable. But or if she would have said, Well, how much faster? And I let her know a few seconds, then she would have said, Wow, you seem pretty excited about that. Almost. If she would have said that in some passive aggressive way, then I would've thought again, like she doesn't care and what is wrong with me. But instead I felt good. I was internally validated. So now I'm going inside and now we're having a conversation. And as I'm not seeking her validation now, I just want a connection and she can say anything and it's not going to be viewed as criticism. So there's the importance of not needing the external validation and why it can be so painful when we feel emotionally invalidated because we go right to the what's wrong with me and they don't care about me in some cases. Brady talks about emotional invalidation can lead to other negative emotions and even mental health conditions. And that is absolutely the fact when we just don't feel heard or understood that that's where you start to see a lot of the body really wants to help you. And so if you aren't feeling heard or understood at times, this is where we might really start to react.

[00:25:06] We might start to go big with our emotions because trying to train to just have someone meet our needs has not worked up to that point. So sometimes we feel like I got to go big if I want my needs met or if I want this validation. So then understanding and validation, knowing how to recognize it really can help you deal with it when it arises. So what is emotional invalidation? It's the act of dismissing or rejecting someone's thoughts, feelings or behaviors. It's to say to somebody, your feelings don't matter or your feelings are wrong. Now, does that mean that somebody saying that directly, but it's saying that in telling someone how they feel or what they you think they should do, emotional invalidation makes you feel unimportant or irrational, and it can take a lot of forms. It can happen at any time. And she goes on to say that some people use it intentionally as a tool to manipulate you by making you question your feelings. They might say something like, I'm sure it really wasn't that bad, or, Well, what role did you play in it? And this is where when you want that validation, when you want to know that this is your person, or when you want to have a connection or a conversation with somebody, and all they're doing is saying, well, I'm sure there's two sides to both stories, or can I play devil's advocate? Or really, that's what happened then.

[00:26:10] I'm not going to continue to put myself out there even for just a connection with somebody. And that's why people often look to other relationships. And I'm not even talking about infidelity or emotional affairs or but if somebody just comes home and they feel like all we can talk about is the kids or our schedule, then that might mean because they don't feel safe in talking about their hopes and their dreams because they are going to get them questioned and told they're wrong and invalidate it. And it can also involve nonverbal actions such as rolling your eyes or ignoring a person or playing on your phone while somebody's talking to you. So no matter how it happens, emotional invalidation creates confusion. And it. Creates distrust. In the article, she talks about Why do people invalidate? And I want to give some thoughts here, too. She says emotional invalidation often happens when you're expressing your feelings or talking about an experience, and people often invalidate somebody because they're unable to process that person's emotions. They might be preoccupied with their own problems, or what I think is so common is they don't know how to respond in that moment. And so if all of a sudden I feel like I'm not sure what to say when when I feel like I want to whisper into the microphone, all you have to say is, tell me more about that.

[00:27:16] What's that like for you? How long have you felt that way? Man? Thank you for sharing. What can I do to help? Those are all better than. Well, that's not a big deal or I certainly wouldn't have said that. I can't believe he said that. Those are all the things that are not going to bring you closer to someone because those are going to be invalidating to somebody that is reaching out to you, that's trying to have a conversation with you. And validation can be used as an argument strategy because it gives the appearance of supporting the way somebody feels. But in reality, you're distancing or you're avoiding taking responsibility for your role in those emotions. Emotional invalidation can look like blaming it's name calling or problem solving, and that's where before I had the four pillars, I would say, okay, turn off your fixing and judgment brain. So when you tell somebody, Why did you do that? You're judging them. Or when you tell somebody, okay, well, I would have done this, now we're fixing things for them. And while there can be a time where somebody might say, Hey, what would you do? But I feel like it needs to come after the validation, after the tell me more about that when somebody really does feel hurt and they feel understood. Because playing down another person's experience is absolutely invalidating.

[00:28:24] And I just hope that you, if you are the person who typically fixes or judges or feels like you are playing devil's advocate, or you notice that man somebody else's experience, I guess if you're that person, I don't know if you're right now hearing this and thinking, yeah, I feel like I feel less than when I am not able to give someone advice. And if so, then I boy, take a look in the mirror in a good way. Self confrontation because this is an area to grow in emotional maturity to be able to say, okay, yeah, I do that. Why do I do that? It's because I'm uncomfortable. If I feel like I'm saying, well, I don't know, or if if somebody's having a different experience and they're showing up more empathetically, they're telling me a story about something that they said to their boss or their mom or something, and that isn't the way that I handle things. That's okay. How about be curious about their experience? That doesn't mean that your experience is wrong. It's your experience, but the way to build connection again. Jennifer Finlayson Fife, do you want are you looking for intimacy or are you looking for validation? Are you looking for control or love? Because here's I love to drop this one out there whenever I can. You can't have love and control and adult relationships. Pick one. And I would advise against control.

[00:29:35] But again, playing down another person's experience is absolutely invalidating. Here's a bunch of emotionally emotional invalidation statements that she lists. It could be worse. You're too sensitive. You're overreacting. You shouldn't feel that way. I know exactly how you feel. I talk about that one often. You don't. You've never been that person. I promise you, even if you're their twin, you've still had different life experiences. I know exactly how you feel. You don't. Boy, my daughter Alex is getting a lot of that, bless people's heart, where again she said a shattered pelvic ring and is six months into post or car crash and and is still has a long way to go and people are saying I broke my toe once and so yeah I couldn't I couldn't walk for weeks. I know exactly how you're feeling. I mean, that isn't the way to build connection. Way to build connection is, man. Tell me about that. What's that like for you? Other emotionally invalidating statements. Just don't worry about it. Let it go. You take everything so personally, you make a big deal out of everything. I don't see the problem. And on that one in particular, if you don't see the problem, then okay, but it's a problem for that person that is expressing their problem. So what an opportunity to connect, to say, tell me about it, what is that like? And again, you're going to have to step outside of your ego.

[00:30:46] Your ego is your adorable security guard that's trying to protect you, protect your feelings and emotions. But as you emotionally mature, step outside of that ego, every single situation in your life up to this point and forever you are seeing through your lens. So you have to actively work on seeing something from someone else's point of view. And that is again a sign of emotional maturity. And it takes effort and it takes work. And if you find that you are all of a sudden going into this, you shouldn't have done that. I wouldn't have done that. I don't see the problem. How do you think that makes me feel? I don't want to have this conversation. Don't make things up. That didn't happen. Any of those statements that's on you. So pause, step outside of your ego and show up for the person that's reaching out to you that is trying to connect with you. Because if you are not willing to do that, if you are or emotionally invalidating someone in your life, then I promise you they're going to not continue to try to even come to you. And so then years into the relationship, when all of a sudden somebody says, I can't do this anymore, and you think, Wait, why? What's wrong? I didn't think anything was wrong. What? I said, I'm pulling my marriage therapist card out here big time and saying it's because that person has been emotionally invalidated for who knows how long.

[00:31:57] And so at some point, if you're thinking to yourself, you should have told me if it's because you weren't willing to listen. All right. I'm going off on a tangent here, or I guess my soapbox, all of those things. So the consequences of invalidation she talks about emotional invalidation causes a number of consequences that for the person that's continually being emotionally invalidated, that it can really cause one to have problems managing their own emotions. Because the more that you communicate your inner thoughts and feelings, and the more that you're told they're wrong. That again, with repeated exposure of you trying to express yourself and being told you're wrong, I look at gaslighting. In particular, you might begin to distress the validity of your very own personal experiences and start to lose your sense of self. It can cause you to have, which is issues of personal identity. People who feel their emotions are invalidated start to hide their emotions, and that leads to lower self esteem and that can then lead to these mental health issues. Emotional invalidation can contribute to somebody who has suffers from depression or anxiety. And so if you already struggle with mental health issues, then adding to the emotional invalidation to that, it can be absolutely painful and can lead somebody to a real just sense of hopelessness. So while emotional invalidation can happen at any point in your life, if it does happen in childhood, then it does have long lasting effects.

[00:33:14] And I really believe that this is one of those I'm not trying to say we. Everybody's hosed. But I really feel like for the most part, we all come into our adolescence and our adulthood with a lot of these emotionally invalidating or abandonment experiences. And I've been saying lately that even a parent who has done their very best, the child is emotionally immature. They're seeking external validation. So if the emotionally immature child says, I want a pony for my birthday and you live in a 1200 square foot house with a 20 foot backyard, they don't understand that that pony is not going to fit in that backyard. But when you don't get them the pony, then they are thinking, you must not care about me. So even the best parent in the world is going to emotionally invalidate their kid. So then that's why we come into adult relationships and we are trying to mature and validate ourselves and receive this connection intimacy. So that's why we're expressing our thoughts and our emotions to another person. And that's why it is so important to have a framework to be able to communicate, to understand things like invalidation, emotional maturity. Because when a couple can get that framework down and they can start to express themselves and they aren't being shut down. The exponential growth is phenomenal.

[00:34:31] Now you've got a safe place to process emotion. You got two people with their own experiences, and then you're going into situations with curiosity and then you are going to learn more about somebody else. And it doesn't mean that your version of reality is wrong when you start laying it out that way. It just is what makes a marriage or a relationship just amazing because now I'm excited. Oh, hey, what do you think about this? What? What's your experience? Here's mine. Or I can go to someone and say, Oh, man, I was thinking about this today and here's what I'm thinking. And have the other person say, Oh, wow, that's fascinating. Tell me more about that, because here's what I think about it. That's a real emotionally mature, mutually validating relationship. If that if any of this has resonated with you, then I hope that you can share this. If you share this with your spouse and you are hearing this as the spouse, be grateful that your spouse is saying, hey, I think this is something that we could work on. What a gift. Because it doesn't mean we it doesn't show weakness. It shows a maturity that we want to grow. We want the best relationship possible. Emotional validation tells somebody that their emotions are respected and it makes space for another person's emotions to exist. And then through that validation back to this article, Brady says, we can confirm that others have their own emotional experiences and that those experiences are real, they are valued, and they are important.

[00:35:45] How do you start to validate someone? You listen, you tune into the conversation, you put down your phone, you turn your attention to the speaker, and then it's okay to say, Hey, tell me what that word means for you. Use and use it. If you can just be very present and use a positive, affirming tone, a gentle tone that makes room for all the emotions during a conversation and then be aware, avoid becoming defensive, don't offer unsolicited advice, and then take ownership of any of your own. If you blurt something out, if you say, okay, you want that? My bad. That's I don't know. That just kind of came out of me. She says some validating phrases to try instead of it could have been worse. How about this? I'm so sorry that it happened here instead of this doesn't sound so bad. That must've been really hard. Or instead of You'll get over it. I care about you. What can I do to help? Or instead of I don't want to hear it, how about I'm here for you? Or instead of you're overreacting? That sounds really frustrating. Or instead of Don't be such a crybaby, man, I can see you really upset. Or instead of What's the big deal, that must be painful. So navigating relationships is it can be a challenge and again plug for go to Tony Rom-com slash workshop because I really do believe that we just do not have the tools from the factory and that is absolutely okay because we're showing up in relationships, emotionally immature and then without the tools to to validate somebody.

[00:37:05] And so when we get those tools, it can lead to an amazing connected relationship. Again, it doesn't even have to be a marriage. It can be when you're dating, it can be with your kids, it can be with your parents, it can be in the workplace. But learning how to recognize invalidating behaviors and invalidating statements helps you have a show up better in your relationships and whether the other person is doing the work as well. That does play a role. But all you can really control is what you can control, and that is how you show up and how you how you are there to validate someone's experience and know that that doesn't mean that your experience is invalid. All right. Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to listen, and I hope you have an amazing week. And if you have any thoughts, questions, show ideas interested in, have me come and speak to your group, that sort of thing. Just reach out to me at contact at Tony Web.com or through the website Tony eBay.com. All right, thanks, everybody. Taking this out per usual, the wonderful, the amazing, the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It's wonderful. Have a great week.

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