If you’re the recipient of invalidating messages, know this: YOU’RE NOT CRAZY!
One of the most important emotional skills is the skill of validation. Whether it is or ever will be part of the academic or corporate measures of emotional intelligence, I really don't know. But once most people start, and feel safe and validated, they will continue.
But I do know that if you want to have better relationships with people, the skill of emotional validation is extremely useful. Validation allows a person to release their feelings in a healthy, safe and supportive way. Thus it builds bonds of caring, support, acceptance, understanding and trust.
It’s acceptable to be angry about that.” Or you may need someone to validate your parking ticket — which means you have to prove that you bought something, so you can get parking for free.
Whatever it is you are seeking to validate needs the added support or action from someone else to make it valid.
Sometimes it means being patient when the other person is not ready to talk. I felt very sad for the boy but I wasn't sure how to handle the situation. Sometimes when Max wakes up from his naps, he's sad -- especially when his mama isn't home.
Most of us truly want to help other people, but often we don't know how, or we try too hard and we start giving advice, as our parents did to us. Since Patty often uses naptime for her work, I've struggled to keep wakeup time from being a descent into wailing.
In fact, if there is a communication breakdown, if there is a wall between you and someone else, it probably has been built with the bricks of When we validate someone, we allow them to safely share their feelings and thoughts. By validating someone we demonstrate that we care and that their feelings matter to us-- in other words, that they matter to us.
We are reassuring them that it is okay to have the feelings they have. By "mirroring" someone's feelings, we show them that we are in tune with them.
Some individuals knowingly invalidate others as a form of manipulation, control, and psychological injury.
Possible explanations (other than psychopathy) are: a low capacity for empathy and compassion, not understanding or valuing the importance of validation, and/or not knowing how to express it effectively. The well-intentioned invalidators often defend that the goal is to help someone feel better or differently — to an emotion they judge as a more accurate, more valid one.
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 unintentional abuses.