Invalidation in toxic relationships

Invalidation is a common theme in toxic relationships.  What is invalidation and how do I manage it within my relationship?  Emotional invalidation is when a person’s thoughts and feelings are rejected, ignored, or judged.  This can begin to happen within a relationship where there is a lack of healthy communication, trust and respect and if someone is harboring resentment.  Invalidation disrupts relationships and creates emotional distance especially with someone who is particularly emotionally sensitive.

Have you felt like your feelings or opinion doesn’t matter to your partner?  Is something that is really important to you constantly ignored or pushed aside?

I do remember feeling the change in my relationship where once my husband took my opinion on a matter really seriously and respected what I said, and then it was his friends he would ask, their opinion became more important than mine and I felt very rejected and ignored, like I didn’t count or matter anymore.  It was a horrible feeling and it only added to the other toxic behaviours that we had become used to and accepted in our relationship as normal.

If you recognise some of these situations occurring for you now in your relationship, how can you begin to turn it around?  Can it get better and what can you do to help this to improve?

In a blog from Huffpost titled “the single best thing you can do for your relationship”,  which you can read more about in this link below https://www.huffpost.com/entry/relationship-advice_b_2127394

The article says – “Consistent, thoughtful validation of your partner’s thoughts and feelings is the best thing you can do for your relationship”.  “You join their world and see things from their point of view”.

Of course this also needs to be reciprocated from your partner, so that you feel understood and heard as well.  The problem is when only one of you is doing all the work.  Research has shown that having these types of loving, caring and thoughtful interactions with your partner helps your partner feel less upset and less vulnerable.  Whereas toxic, invalidating behaviours will do the opposite: they make you or your partner feel criticised, dismissed and build feelings of anger and contempt.   If you are constantly in this invalidating, toxic environment, the resentment will grow until you cannot take anymore, or you will shut down and become numb to it.  We encourage you seek help to learn how to communicate in a healthy way together.  This could be by booking a session with a counsellor or life coach together.  If you both know what you need to do and both make a consistent effort together then you will certainly see a positive change.  If only one of you is making an effort this will become hard work and very discouraging!  If your partner cannot be bothered to help make this work and change the way you communicate and treat each other it doesn’t look hopeful for a positive future together.  Although this may be the last thing you want to hear, it is important to know that you have discovered tools to improve validation and healthy communication in relationships going forward which can be beneficial in all areas of your life, at work and with friends!

Sophie S Fort

Sophie S Fort

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