You can also use the therapeutic tactic, “When you _____, I feel _____.” As in, “When you tell me I’m not cold, I feel invalidated.” If your husband is merely unhelpful, these might work.If instead he genuinely sees his opinion as the only valid one, then no mere phrasing will unlock his inner empath.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.When we hear invalidating statements, it hits us hard. Gaslighting is the most popular manipulation tactic used by enablers of sexual abuse.Step 3: We grow up and decide we want more in life than the constant pain of squashing our unconscious emotions. This inner defender is just as adept at keeping their pain locked below the surface of their conscious mind.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE, is not just about violence; the staff can also help you find someone to talk to locally to help you find your voice — and find safety if your husband does not respond well to hearing it. I follow a four-step process: “I feel _____ when you _____ because _____.It may be a stretch to find compassion for them, but give it a try.Then move on with your journey knowing that your inner child will never have to feel that way again. And nobody’s projections will stop your healing journey. You have completed the process of overcoming invalidation in your recovery.For example, we might tell someone how we are going to rise above our circumstances one day, and we may be told to be realistic by someone who wants to keep us from being hurt by failure. Your inner defender feels vindicated and has gained a little strength. You inner child is now screaming at the ridiculousness of this invalidation which is repeated again and again. That doesn’t mean we had the exact same experiences. Projection is a fairly simple process that creates a whirlwind of difficulties in relationship. The person who invalidates you has faced similar invalidation in their own life.Step 2: We must internalize that invalidation as a means to keep our pain as unconscious as possible. It is an automatic occurrence that happens as a child is invalidated, but it is critically important to our reaction to invalidation in adulthood. They have built their own inner defenses including a similar inner defender.