Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Today in therapy we discussed psychological invalidation. The reason it was brought up was because of an incident that happened yesterday. My husband woke up and was talking to me when I was I was in the kitchen. He asked why I had been crying and I told him that I was sad that it was our son's birthday and I couldn't talk to him. My husband responded with, "It's like you are looking for reasons to be sad. You don't need to have an anniversary for everything!" Well, that was a bad thing to say to me. Ginger flew out and started screaming at him and cursing him out. She was beyond pissed and was venomous towards him. Then the tears started and the threats of self harm. My therapist and I discussed why this may happen. It boils down to the feeling that we are be belittled, judged and made to feel stupid for our our emotions. This stems way back to my childhood and how I was not allowed to display any emotions. If I did there were huge consequences. If I was. on a rare occasion, asked for my opinion on a matter it was immediately ridiculed or diminished. I was stupid or didn't know what I was talking about. If I became emotional because my feelings were being hurt I was labeled as melodramatic, a crybaby, overly sensitive or an attention seeker. My feelings didn't all.

Having emotional trauma in the past sets you up for over-reaction to any kind of criticism. You feel like you have to defend yourself. You have a hard time understanding criticism that is constructive. It's either black or white. There is no middle ground. While my husband could have phrased his comments differently, he was not trying to hurt me. He was trying to understand why we are emotional about some things. It's hard to explain to him when we don't understand it well ourselves. Just because people don't understand and I don't understand doesn't make what I'm feeling any less real. I need to find a way to help people to understand what it is I need from them when I feel like they aren't hearing me or responding to me in a helpful way. Is it really all that important that people understand my emotions and feelings? To me, yes, it is. For so many years of my life I did not receive positive validation. I had to beg, cry, and rant to try and be heard. I yearn to be heard and to be understood. The fact that I am fractured into so many parts tells me it is important. A person with DID is not just healing oneself. They are healing multiple selves. As me, the host, I can better comprehend criticism on my own. The issue lies with my younger selves. They have not reached the same maturity level as me. They are on a whole different level psychologically. When Ginger came out it was a 15 year old adolescent who was looking out for the younger alters best interest. She will not allow anyone to harm them again. She handled just as a teenager would. Ranting and storming off instead of talking things through. I am still working on finding a way to keep her from doing this. Triggers happen quickly and we are working on finding a way to recognize when it is happening so we can avoid switching.

The one advice I would like to put out here is this: When someone is upset about something you may not understand, try to just listen. Don't assume, don't act impatient and don't make comments that are not necessary.  It does not matter if the person in front of you is having a meltdown, you just have to listen and keep them safe. Telling someone to calm down or stop acting in a particular way never helps and only makes the situation worse. Talking in a quiet tone and often a hug will defuse the whole situation. Another thing, please don't accuse a person of bringing a problem or sadness on to themselves. Honestly, that's another form of invalidation. This person doesn't want to feel upset or sad. Telling them that they do is cruel and wrong, especially when the person was looking for comfort. Allow the upset person to reflect on their emotions when they have calmed down. Not everyone is looking to be fixed when sad and are just looking for a sounding board or having their feelings understood. Ultimately the only one who can fix us, is us. Your advice is helpful, when it's asked for otherwise it really is not much help.

Here are a few links that talk about invalidation:

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