𝐀 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞: “𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮, 𝐢𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨 𝐮𝐩𝐬𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭.”
I can’t overemphasise how healing it is to hear, “the way you feel is valid. I understand why you are so upset. It makes sense,”, especially to people who were invalidated as children.
𝐒𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐰 𝐮𝐩 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝. As a child, did you ever know a fight was going on, but when you asked, your parents said nothing was happening?
As a child, did you ever get upset about something and be told you were overreacting? Many times in our childhood, we are inadvertently shamed for our feelings, knowing, and even our very presence.
𝗪𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐝𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐬. The fear of not being heard, of not being validated. We even expect that the people will not validate our version of reality we care about; we expect it to be dismissed.
This is why, especially for people with insecure attachment styles, it is essential to receive validation. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐭, with someone who has been trained to hear deeply, validate, and be curious. This is where therapy is a healing process.
It takes practice to learn to hear someone. We have to be willing, for a time, to put aside our own experiences and agendas to make space for someone else’s experience to be heard and held in the space between us.
This can be a magical experience and bring renewed intimacy, understanding, compassion, security, and love into the relationship.
Do you remember a time after feeling invalidated, you felt validated? What did that feel like for you?
*Adapted from Gottman Method Couples Therapy – John & Julie Gottman