Emotions demand to be felt. You can choose how you respond to certain emotions or the actions you take because of them. But you can’t always control how you feel.
So, when you’re with a partner who invalidates your emotions, it can be crushing and overwhelming at the same time. You might start to question your own feelings, and it can cause you to develop low self-esteem.
An emotionally-invalidating partner might not know exactly what they’re doing or the damage they’re causing. But it’s important to recognize this kind of person if you’re in a relationship that’s making you feel belittled.
More importantly, you have to know how to cope with an emotionally-invalidating partner. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common signs and some tips you can use to deal with that kind of person in your life.
Take a Breath Before You Respond
When someone you care about offers an emotionally-invalidating response to what you’re feeling, it’s normal for your brain to go into fight-or-flight mode. You might instantly want to play a defensive role.
Unfortunately, that’s likely to make things worse.
While the fight-or-flight response is designed to protect you, it can also make you “attack” your partner with things you wouldn’t typically say. Instead of immediately responding to their remark, give yourself time to think about how you really feel and what you want to say to them.
Use “I” Statements
When you’re ready to speak up, tell them how their response makes you feel. Don’t say things like, “You always do this,” but focus on yourself. Say something like, “I feel hurt and like I don’t matter when you discount my feelings or treat them like they’re invalid.”
Ideally, when you use “I” statements, your partner will realize the error of their ways. If you’re in a healthy, caring relationship, they won’t want to keep hurting you intentionally, so they’re more likely to stop that behavior if you focus on how it impacts you.
If they don’t see a problem and won’t stop, that’s a different story and a big red flag.
Validate Your Own Feelings
It’s easy to lose self-esteem and confidence when you’re with an emotionally-invalidating partner. But, if they do not see your emotions as important and real, you have to do it yourself.
It’s not always easy to be self-validating when you’re with someone who’s constantly tearing down your emotions. But you have to remind yourself that what you feel is valid, real, and important.
It can help to write down what you’re feeling in a journal. Or, develop a personal mantra that you can say to yourself every time your partner makes you feel invalidated. Anything you can do to motivate yourself and remind yourself that your feelings matter will help.
Talk to Someone
It can also make a big difference if you talk to other people who will help you feel emotionally valid. That might include family members or a close circle of friends. Surrounding yourself with people who build you up and understand your emotions will help you see that they do matter.
SEEKING OUT HELP
Emotions not only demand to be felt, but they also demand to be validated, no matter what.
If you’re struggling with an emotionally-invalidating partner, talk to a mental health professional to help you see just how much your emotions matter. You might also get to some underlying issues in your relationship that need addressing.
Contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group
If you’re dealing with an emotionally-invalidating partner and you’re not sure what to do, feel free to contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group for more information or to set up an appointment.