Invalidation: The Root Of All Evil?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Trying to understand why one particular event leads to complex trauma for one person but not for another, it seems that it always comes down to invalidation: the "get over it" syndrome. No one was willing to acknowledge that something wrong was happening at the time. Friends that decide to pretend nothing happened, and ignore the person, and finally distance themselves. Therapists that tell you that you don't meet the criteria so you can't get any help...

Not having experienced deep trauma myself, I would like some input from members of this great community who have, to tell me whether invalidation has been and/or continues to be a major "fuel" to the distress they have experienced or continue to experience?
 

Tinyflame

MyPTSD Pro
Yes, I think it contributes to fear, shame, self-blame and minimizing. Also a lack of confidence.
Messes with one's mind or self-identification, I think. Definitely leaves one without support or even practical help.

Lack of validation or lack of being able to disclose, I would say. Because why 'disclose' anything you blame yourself for or minimize or you feel will be misunderstood or held against you and/or (also) that no one would want to hear, anyway. Especially when you feel it's 'not important'. 'No voice', followed by no right to a voice, followed by no desire or ability to have a voice.

Hope that makes sense! :rolleyes: -JMHO
 

Meadowsweet

MyPTSD Pro
I dont entirely understand your use of complex or deep trauma. But I believe I invalidated my own trauma.

I have been told to 'get over it' and much more. But I don't communicate the actual incidents. I communicate all the fears of smaller things that happened around it, but never quite get to the point. People rarely understand or have the patience to put up with it, and those reactions certainly add to the distress, but I don't think they cause the real problems in my mind.
 

maddog

MyPTSD Pro
I have a theory, based on nothing other than my own observations and deductions, that human beings, even very young children, are relatively resilient and can tolerate a lot in the way of physical/emotional/psychological pain and suffering without significant long term harm, as long as there are a couple of circumstances in existence... and one of those is the presence of a safe, supportive other who can vallidate (help the victim make sense of) their experience at or close to the time, and hence circumvent that process of internalisation of the invalidation that Junebug so eloquently identified in the previous post.

Woo, that was one of the longest sentences I've ever written... sorry... it's 1.10am in the morning!!

In the case of long term prolonged child abuse, I think that the absence of a source of validation is particularly critical, as it allows faulty conclusions and beliefs and perceptions to form and flourish around the critical elements of self identification, psychological/personality/emotional development and other very core human conditions. Left unchecked, these conclusions and beliefs and perceptions come to define the entire self and once formed, they give rise to much of what we know as complex trauma.

As I said, this is my view of the world only, but I do strongly believe that the presence or absence of validation of our experiences is one of the critical determining factors as to whether or not a negative experience becomes a clinically traumatic one.

Maddog
 

Lionheart

Sponsor
Maddog,

I think I understand what you are saying about invalidation and it is a great point. I suffered severe, prolonged child abuse and as a result of the lack of validation, the false beliefs, faulty perceptions did flourish and caused a lot of the symptoms of complex trauma.

There were no safe people or places, no validation, only an incorrect self-Identity process which labeled me defective, damaged, useless, unlovable etc. I don't know what the therapy process entails for everyone else, but I had a lot of unlearning to do before I could learn to correct those faulty perceptions and mistaken beliefs. It is like a electronic component with faulty wiring, the bad wiring must be removed before the new wiring can be installed.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think you make a valid and important point!

LH
 

maddog

MyPTSD Pro
It really is a process of rewiring the brain as you say Lionheart. Personally, I'm not sure that you ever "unwire" the old stuff and held core beliefs - once there, I doubt they can ever truly be removed. But by developing new neural pathways and slowly, over what feels like an agonisingly long time, teaching your mind to default to the new pathways, I think we learn to work around the old ones and to encourage our new, healthy beliefs to the surface of our conscious processing of the world.

Much like physical scarrs, I think the psychological ones are there forever. I hope that one day they are only an ever present, but less intrusive, reminder of the person I was and the journey away from that person.

Holding onto some idealism this morning...

Maddog
 

Tessa

MyPTSD Pro
After several years of seeing one psychologist ,when I moved to the next one and he asked me what I hoped to get from sessions I told him 3 simple things..to be believed,valued and understood. Sounds simple however is very powerful.
My previous stress leave after nights of constant call and 5 suicide attempts in one night was met with "just toughen up",
 

James B.

MyPTSD Pro
I told him 3 simple things..to be believed,valued and understood.

Being believed is fine. But having to demonstrate my case for belief, has worn me out. I no longer assign so much power to the lunatic convention. The circus can procede at it's leisure. I can no longer live the lie that I like the values that have been shoved at me since birth. I take back my power.

Validation, being validated, is really really important.
 

intothelight

Sponsor
Personally, I believe that complex trauma results from the constant invalidation of a persons emotions. Beat me, sexually abuse me, kill my pets, threaten to kill me, threaten those closest to me, and then take what would be a "normal" response and teach me that it is my fault. That what I "feel" is wrong, or incorrect, so that I never learn normal emotional responses. The lesson is learned so well, that I perpetually invalidate myself.

I believe a normal response to being told to "get over it", would be to realize the individual who stated it had not gone through the same event that you had. You would therefore internally invalidate their response, and not invalidate your own.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top