Regardless of the means, the effect is clear: the person's feelings are “wrong.”An environment perceived as invalidating generally means that the child grows up feeling that his emotional responses are not correct or considered in the regular course of things.
Over time, this can result in confusion and a general distrust of a person’s own emotions.
Some children are habitually shut down emotionally by their parents or caregivers.
Because children, particularly children with a high emotional quotient, can be hypersensitive and react emotionally to seemingly neutral situations in a way adults might not understand, the adult may respond with logic, invalidating the feelings of the child.
Over time, a child who is told their feelings are “wrong” will become confused and learn to not trust their emotions.
In this sense, to invalidate means to attack or question the foundation or reality of a person’s feelings.
This can be done through denying, ridiculing, ignoring, or judging another’s feelings.
I haven’t met a survivor who hasn’t been invalidated as they have journeyed through their recovery process. Step 1: We must have the initial pain of invalidation after a childhood experience. For example, if we experienced sexual abuse and try to tell an enabler parent, we may be faced with the famous accusation that we are making it up.