Invalidating environments According to Linehan, “An invalidating environment is one in which communication of private experiences is met by erratic, inappropriate, and extreme responses,” an environment in which inner experiences are dismissed or punished, instead of being validated.In these environments, Linehan adds, “The experience of painful emotions, as well as the factors that to the emotional person seem causally related to the emotional distress, are disregarded.The individual's interpretations of her own behavior..dismissed.” But do the studies on parental invalidation and BPD really capture all the different aspects of invalidating environments?That is what the authors of the present study attempted to find out.If you take nothing else away from this post, make it this: Your feelings are important and they matter, they don’t have to make sense to anyone but you. No one else has followed your particular path or seen life through your eyes so any advice they offer is based on their own experiences. When you invalidate your own feelings, you’re denying yourself permission to feel what’s natural and authentic. Before you can tackle any issue you must be willing to admit there is a problem, then you can begin monitoring your self-talk and identify patterns and triggers. Do you avoid trying something new or pursuing an important goal because you doubt your ability to achieve it? Seriously, a journal is your best friend when it comes to developing self-awareness, achieving personal growth, and solving problems. Instead of telling yourself you CAN’T do something or you SHOULDN’T feel a certain way or you NEED to get over it – tell yourself the opposite.Keep in mind that invalidation doesn’t have to be harsh in nature; many people use self-deprecating comments and jokes as a way of declaring to the world they are well aware of their inadequacies. When you write down negative or self-critical statements chances are you’ll see how ridiculous they sound and then you can begin the work to flip the narrative. Most of us wouldn’t consciously think of asking a friend or family member to downplay or deny their feelings and needs, so we shouldn’t do it to ourselves either.To put it into perspective most women can relate to, assume you were preparing to give birth.
A central aspect of of this disorder is emotional dysregulation.
Why do people with BPD struggle to manage their (often very intense) emotions?
Because BPD typically develops in emotionally vulnerable people who were raised in invalidating environments.
Think of how often you’ve heard people say things like “you’re lucky, it could have been worse,” “lighten up,” “don’t let it get to you,” “just forget about it,” or “you can choose to be happy,” or “stop taking everything so seriously.” Invalidating behavior is not only habitual it is self-perpetuating.
As others invalidate our thoughts and feelings over time we begin to internalize the messages and that leads to repeating them to ourselves and the inevitable eroding of confidence and self-worth.
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Unfortunately, invalidation has become common in our society, particularly in social media where anything and everything is considered an acceptable target.