One of the most detrimental trademarks of Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse is psychological and emotional invalidation. Narcissists pull this tactic out of their arsenal to ultimately destroy their victims’ self-worth and self-esteem.
Invalidation by definition
According to Out of the Fog, invalidation is defined as “The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.”
What Narcissists are actually doing when they invalidate you is inadvertently telling you that your ideas, thoughts and feelings are wrong. That you have no right to feel the way you do, or have the opinions that you do. Your views and feelings don’t count for anything in the Narcissists’ eyes.
Why it's so insidious
Psychological and emotional invalidation is so insidious because it occurs over a period of time. It’s a subtle form of abuse. Narcissists don’t want you to know that they are using this tactic on you. You may feel like something is wrong, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
So often, I would walk away crying from an argument with my NX not even really knowing what happened. All I knew is I felt like I wasn’t being heard. Sometimes, I had to scream louder than him just to literally be heard! But all that did was make him scream louder. He once screamed so loudly in my ear that it was ringing for two days afterwards!
It’s so insidious because the Narcissist will toss out simple harsh statements like “Oh grow up” or “Stop being such a crybaby” – two statements that my NX loved to use with me. It is telling us that our feelings don’t matter. I remember when I was very pregnant with my daughter and I was mixing myself some chocolate milk. The glass literally broke as I was mixing it. Chocolate milk spilled all over the counter and onto the floor. I actually cried over spilled milk. My NX dismissed my very real emotion and told me that I was silly for crying over a glass of chocolate milk, and just to make myself another glass.
Not only would my NX tell me my emotions were wrong, he’d then go ahead and tell me what he thought I was feeling and even how I should really be feeling. Or, he’d totally ignore me, which was a complete dismissal because it told me that my feelings weren’t important enough to address appropriately.
A basic need
We all have a basic human need to feel validated, that our thoughts and feelings matter. When that isn’t met, we are often left feeling dismissed, unloved, unappreciated, devalued, rejected, and a host of other emotions.
My NX was keen on asking me for my thoughts or opinions on different things – where we should go for dinner, where we should buy a new couch or a new vacuum, or what I thought about the new movie that was released in theaters. But almost as soon as I opened my mouth to voice my thought on the matter, he’d interrupt and announce we were doing what he felt should be done.
Well, why ask me in the first place what I thought? That’s because the Narcissist wants you to think you matter. But all it will do is tear you down little by little. I felt like I had no voice in anything. And god forbid I voice my opinion when he didn’t ask for it!
Lack of attachment
Narcissists cannot and will not ever be able to emotionally attach to another person. They are incapable of true emotional connections. This says nothing about who you are as a person. It is all on the Narcissists.
Ok, so what about the beginning of the relationship? They validated you then, right? Yes and no. The Narcissists were in the throes of lovebombing you. Of course they met your emotional needs! They needed you to fall in love. They needed to have you quickly become attached to them. So when they seemed to meet our emotional needs, of course we felt loved, validated, appreciated, understood, and valued. By mirroring our emotions, our likes and dislikes, and our views, they get us hooked.
Once you became attached and in love, they changed course. They began to devalue us. That is their lack of attachment. Narcissists don’t ever truly attach to anyone romantically because that would show a vulnerable and human aspect. They can’t have that because they need to feel superior to you and others.
On the flip side
On the opposite side of the coin is true validation. A healthy relationship will always have validation. Your partner will want to know what you think and feel. Your partner will not only say he or she appreciates you, but they will show it, too. Your partner will love and value you.
When I began dating my now-husband, it shocked me when he really wanted to know what I think and feel. To say to me that I matter to him. To have him ask me my opinion on something and then actually listen! I was blown away by this new-found validation. So much so, that when it came time for our wedding, I wrote my own vows and included in my vows how incredible it made me feel that I had finally found someone to validate my thoughts and feelings.
When you are being psychologically and emotionally invalidated, your emotional needs are not being met.
Did the Narcissist in your life invalidate you? How did it make you feel? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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