Invalidation happens to anyone who’s in any kind of relationship with a narcissist.
Invalidation is when your, thoughts, feelings, opinions, weight, shape, Job, hobbies, dreams, relationships, it can be a severe as everything about who you are and what you do is rejected, ignored, criticised and judged, by the narcissist.
Invalidation is another form of the narcissist’s manipulation, to take control of us, as we slowly fawn to their demands through their invalidation of us. Narcissists use invalidation to put us down, so we don’t achieve, and they can feel superior.
When we are invalidated over a prolonged period of time especially if it was our parents, but it can be by siblings, friends, teachers, partners etc., we begin to lose trust in our own thoughts and feelings. We lose faith in our own abilities, we end up with low self-esteem, full of self-doubts and often people-pleasing, so others don’t feel the pain we do. We begin to second guess everything we do and what those around us do, thinking everything is our fault, as even their manipulative gaslighting and blame-shifting invalidates our experiences and invalidates our reality. Invalidation makes us feel shame for being our true selves, for having feelings, it makes us close down who we are, for fear of being invalidated.
One of our six human needs is love and connection, to feel like we belong. It’s as essential to our mental health as water is to our physical health. Connecting to others and having a sense of belonging and validation is a core human need.
When we feel validated, we feel understood and accepted by those around us, when we are supportive of each other, when we raise each other up, we feel, heard, seen, worthy, confident, loved, happy and valued.
People who have the empathy to appreciate and understand how another is or could be feeling will validate others, and those who validate others it makes them feel valued when it’s reciprocated. When people acknowledge each other’s thoughts, feelings and opinions, even if they are not their own, or don’t agree, they can understand the other person’s viewpoint, yet be strong enough to hold onto their own viewpoints when needed, while not being dismissive of others.
A narcissist, however, is lacking in empathy, so they are incapable of validating another’s thoughts, feelings or sense of self, as the narcissistic person has deep down hidden insecurities and possibly never felt valued, they try to create this within themselves by invalidating those around them, to feel valued within themselves. By putting others down, this then makes them feel superior, and when they feel superior, they feel valued. Which is the wrong way to go about it as it never truly validates them, they are incapable of connecting to others on a deeper level, incapable of learning from their own mistakes or the mistakes of those around them, as growth is another one of the six human needs. They never grow; they become stuck in that pattern of repeat, hurting others and hurting themselves, contribution is another human need. As they only ever contribute sometimes positive, nonetheless it’s always to meet a need of their own, mostly it’s negative to meet their own needs. They end up feeling even less validation, creating more insecurities, more shame, which they have only learned to burry deep, hide it, mask it, run away from it, shift the blame, deep inside they live in a very woe is me, the world is against me mindset.
How do they invalidate us?
With their lack of empathy they don’t understand on the same level that we do, they can invalidate us without saying a thing, when we try to communicate our thoughts, ideas or feelings with them. We get that blank stare, they are invalidating us, when we try to express our pain and they smirk, this invalidates us, on a subconscious level.
With their arrogance, when we discuss something we would like to do, and they call us “stupid,” or “incapable,” the overt way, or when they say. “Are you sure you want that.” The covert way.
Their entitlement. So when they jump the line, or when they stand tutting and impatient as they expect to be served as soon as they walk into the shop, and you try explaining to them, we get put down, left feeing ashamed. Often we then fear to bring it up again, depending on their reactions the last time we mentioned it.
Grandiose, when you have ideas and plans for your future, and they put them all down, telling you it’s daft, or that’ll never happen, how you’re not capable, it places those doubts in our capabilities, often stopping us from doing the very things we enjoy doing, or if we do and make a mistake, as making mistakes is a part of life it’s how we learn, but that one mistake with their toxic words, their judgments, can make us quit before we even get going, we lose our drive, determination and will-power, as they invalidate us at every turn, to make themselves feel better.
Their need for excessive attention, so if something has happened to you or a loved one, and you go to talk to them about it, they’ll go on and on about something that happened to them far worse or far better. if they’re envious of your achievements, they’ll either take the credit, “You couldn’t have done that without me.” Or they’ll claim you only got that because of outside help. Two people can talk through their own experiences to validate, support and show they understand each other. A narcissist will not be interested in yours unless they can use it against you in the future to provoke a reaction and use that reaction against you. “You don’t trust me? I’ve not done anything, is this because of what your ex put you through, I’m not to blame for your ex, this isn’t about me, is it? This is about you and your past. Your mother, didn’t she abandon you? so now you think I would, that’s your issues, that’s no reason not to trust me?” They will turn your insecurities against you, they’ll not validate and help you, and this is all done to hide whatever behaviour of there is causing you to miss trust them, yet they’ll not admit to that, to them, it’s your feelings that are the problem. Then when they come at us like this, because of our past, their points in our mind become extremely valid, causing more self-doubt, causing us to focus on us, and not their treatment of us. They’ll not use things you wouldn’t be bothered about. They’ll go after the things they know will trigger you.
Invalidation is a form of gaslighting as they deny us our feelings, opinions, ideas, our reality, often to distract us from whatever they are doing to get their needs met.
Some of their manipulation methods and invalidation.
1. The silent treatment is psychological manipulation to control someone else’s mind by causing server psychological and emotional trauma.
One of the most emotionally and psychologically damaging parts of an abusive relationship is their invalidation, when a narcissist has nothing to say to us, goes silent on us, we feel, unimportant, invisible, irreverent, and worthless. We most often don’t understand why or what’s happening, we look for reasons of what we did, we are in the worst psychological and emotional pain. When we reach out, beg, plead, apologise, do all we can to make it up to them, and they still don’t respond, we feel even more worthless.
When they do finally respond, it releases the pain and trauma they put us in, in a negative way, we then perceive this as being heard and feel validated.
This is one of the causes of trauma bonding. Why we start walking on eggshells around them, with the intermittent reinforcement, of their reward, punish, when they move our emotions from excitement to panic and fear, releasing dopamine when we experience those highs and cortisol to help us through the stress of those lows, trauma bonding keeps us emotionally attached to the narcissist, we’ve lived the times when they will raise us high and shower us with attention, so we believe they can, we lived that reality, which gives us the false hope of who they can be and is what causes the cognitive dissonance within our minds, where we feel confused, in a trance a daze. In that fog. Controlled by fear, obligation and guilt. Believing we are depressed or going crazy as all our realities and beliefs are thoroughly mixed up, due to their manipulative treatment towards us, we believe if we can just treat them right, they will treat us right.
This then gets us believing within ourselves, that we are to blame. It’s all our fault because we don’t feel validated, we then falsely believe that their silent treatments, their invalidation of who we are are because of something we did wrong and not that their actions towards us are indeed what makes them in the wrong.
Then our minds get subconsciously trained into believing we must do something to earn validation. It leads us to falsely believe we are in the wrong of someone else doesn’t validate us.
As you are capable of accepting responsibility for things you haven’t even done, you are also more than capable of looking inwards, opening up, healing your inner traumas, learning about yourselves, growing and moving forward to a much happier life.
2. Gaslighting is also a hideous form of psychological manipulation to distort another’s reality, so the narcissist can keep us focused on the reality they want us focused on to distract us for the reality they don’t want us to know about, to get their needs met.
As a narcissist Denys us of our realties, our beliefs, our hopes and our dreams, our experiences, things like, ”that never happened, I never said that you’re just insecure, no one likes you, you’re overacting, you’re mistaken it didn’t happen like that, I’m not talking to you about this, you shouldn’t be angry, it’s all your fault, don’t take things so personally.” It invalidates our reality and our experiences, often leading us to go to them for validation and answers just to end up unwittingly having ourselves invalidate even more.
We slowly believe the false narrative of the narcissist’s toxic words, as it becomes easier for our minds to see it that way, and we feel validated by them when we accept their lies. Our minds believe the truth is harder to see and more painful to handle, so we run from it, when in reality that pain lasts until we face it, once we face it all and deal with it all, accept genuinely what has happened again, connecting with those who’ve lived it we then become validated within ourselves again.
3. Blame shifting, where the narcissist definitely did do something, yet they twist and turn it all around onto you, so they can escape accountability and avoid responsibility.
With the gaslighting and silent treatments our minds have already been trained to look internally at ourselves for blame, the narcissist uses many gaslighting phrases to pass the blame onto us, the silent treatments. Hence, we self blame, or they provoke to get a reaction from us, then downplay or forget what they did and turn it all around to what we did, even if we didn’t do anything, they would find fault.
When someone is always picking faults at your own behaviour, it leaves us questioning what’s wrong with us? Rather than looking at reality, their blame-shifting validates our negative behaviours. No one is perfect we all make mistakes, even with good intentions people can act in negative ways when these are the things that are always brought up, our minds begin to subconsciously look for the negatives, look for the blame, as they never validate the good that we do, we no longer feel good about ourselves, good enough or worthy of others, leaving us with self-doubt, questioning all our behaviours and actions
When our minds are programmed to think in negative ways, we find it increasingly more difficult to find the joys in life, overwhelmed with negative emotions, often causing anxiety and CPTSD.
There are lots of steps to overcome anxiety and CPTSD, another to help with this is reprogramming our subconscious mind to work for us, this takes time and practice, once you can master your own thoughts and emotions life becomes more joyful, it doesn’t mean bad things will not happen, or pain, that those low moments will not hit, it means you’ll be better prepared for how to handle those moments, be able to understand how to make life work for you, so when something happens In a morning like you can not find your car keys and start to think it’s going to be one of those days, then find everything about that day to make it one of those days, you’ll stop and think, find them, call a friend, get public transport, you’ll recognise it’s just a moment in time and doesn’t need to affect the rest of your day, you’ll find methods within your mind to overcome obstacles rather than avoid them, overcome situations, rather than let them bring you down, face the real problems rather than finding other problems.
4. Denial, the narcissist denies us of realities and truths, always lying and hiding things, I’m sure deception is their middle name, and the aim of the game is to invalidate all others, gain control and do as they please, even the breakups the discard is done in such cruel ways to deny us closure, we have to learn to give ourselves the closure that we owe to ourselves. As they leave us to try and work it all out while left in emotional turmoil, they great news is once you do learn about the narcissist personality disorder you can give yourself the closure, even with facts and evidence placed in front of them they will deny, leaving our minds confused, questioning them more, leaving us hurt and angry. At the same time, their sense of self is inflated as they feel important that others want answers, they don’t care for negative attention or positive, attention is attention, what matters to them is when they are ignored, no longer important to others, often why most will seek to destroy those who go no contact.
5. Financial abuse, there are so many ways narcissist financial abuse people. Yet, somehow most control the money, either not wanting you to work, and finding ways. So, you can not, or them not working and playing the guilt card to borrow money and never pay you back, both methods invalidating your security to either have the right to earn or spend money on yourself, invalidating your capabilities of being able to take care of yourself, keeping us trapped for fear we aren’t capable of getting the financial resources to support ourselves.
6. The constant criticism, from how you look, what you wear, your shape, size, hair, they continuously go at any flaws or insecurities that you might have had, they pick us apart bit by bit, from telling us directly. Overt. “You couldn’t do that course.” To the covert “I wouldn’t bother if I was you.” They slowly invalidate how we feel about ourselves, our capabilities, our thoughts, so they can feel better within themselves.
Narcissistic people love to manipulate and invalidate, why most survivors of narcissistic abuse are left afraid to speak out, in case others invalidate them further, yet joining support groups and supportive people, just sit back and observe first make sure they are the right people, once you are ready to open up, you’ll see how you are thinking and feeling after or during a narcissistic relationship is normal. Your thoughts and feelings are incredibly valid.
What we must learn, as hard as it is at times, it’s up to ourselves to make our worlds work for us, to raise ourselves back up, to contribute to ourselves and others in positive ways, to know ourselves well enough to validate ourselves and those around us, so we have the help and support from good people, to achieve what we want from life and when that support network isn’t there, we can give ourselves the get-up and go, we can say no to the naysayers and those who intimidate or invalidate us. We can show them it is possible. For a narcissist to change, they would have to raise their own level of self-awareness face, guilt, pain, insecurities, and so many more, even then they’d only find coping strategies, they would still have the disorder. As they are unable to see any faults or wrongdoings within themselves, it’s highly unlikely. They can falsely change at the moment to meet a need, again that change is only surface level and not getting to the route cause, they are only temporarily changing to manipulate others into getting their own needs met.
There are hurt people who go around hurting people to help themselves feel better. Then there are hurting people who go around helping people as they don’t want others to feel how they feel.
No contact with those who invalidate who you are is the best method to start recovery. Finding people who will validate you until you can start to validate yourself again helps massively.
If you can not go no contact, Retreat, rethink and only respond if you need to do so, that one response is for you, you can communicate with them, but you must understand if it doesn’t serve them they are not listening and will seek to take you down, to gain control over you. You, however, are entitled to be who you want to be and think how you want to think, narcissistic people are not looking for compromise as you are, they are looking at everything single-minded and from their way only.
If you respond state your point calmly and once, you do not need to defend your actions, thoughts or feelings to them, and most will try to take you off topic leave them to it, know your point and stick to it. You can only compromise with those who understand give and take.
Let them know if you want that you understand their point of view, yet it’s not for you.
Make sure your behaviour matches your words, once they take you down on one thing, they’ll go for more.
Don’t get angry, yes it’s hard at. First, they want you to be angry; that’s why they are doing what they do.
Creating your inner confidence and self-validation, so you observe others negativity and don’t absorb. Confidence is not something anyone just has; it’s something they create, for themselves.
Not everything is positive; try to find the positive in everything.
Start speaking up for yourself, no more I don’t mind, unless you genuinely don’t about that thing, start doing what you’d like to do for you.
Stop worrying about offending others, be tactful yes, be humble yes, but don’t deny yourself the truth of who you are, with good intentions, there is no wrong way or right way.
Face your fears head-on and overcome them one by one, not easy, start with the small ones, if it’s smiling at a stranger keep doing it, when people start smiling back it lifts you up, then look for the next fear.
Dress how you want to dress, raise your head high and walk tall, dress to impress yourself.
Compliment others, genuine compliments, raising others up actually helps raise yourself up.
Focus on the good, things to be grateful for, look for something you have achieved.
Look to others for inspiration that has achieved, and they are human just like you, they will have had their ups and downs, perhaps different to yours yet they’ll have had them, if they can do something, you can too.
Ignore the haters they are not for you.
Make some You time each day to sit and reflect, give yourself credit for things you have achieved, progress made and something you are proud of.
Know within yourself, you have a right to feel how you feel, accept how you feel in the moment, learn to recognise the emotions, and what they are teaching you, work through them.
Don’t allow frustration to let you feel shame; we all slip up, we all make mistakes, then our minds look for. “This always happens to me.” Or. “It’s going to be a bad day.” I knew I couldn’t do it, no point trying.” We the spiral into depression, most often left with these feelings after a narcissistic relationship, remind yourself that you are human, If Thomas Edison felt that way he wouldn’t have invented the light bulb. Instead, he said. “I haven’t failed, I just found 10,000 ways it didn’t work.” Tell yourself to go again, you can and you will.
Find your strengths and skills and work to create brighter things.
Some people believe having confidence makes them narcissistic, with good intentions towards others this simply isn’t true, a narcissist has arrogance and tries to build themselves up by destroying others, kind people build themselves up by helping others.
Remember, there is a difference between a confident narcissistic negative person. Their confidence is actually arrogance, as they believe they are better than all others.
Being an Empathetic, confident person, means you have learned to be certain within yourself, and your abilities.
Remember to beat any narcissist at any game. We have to just stop playing.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.