Invalidation of emotions really sucks. Invalidation sends a message that the emotions are not heard, and so this can result in the emotions being escalated. Example: ‘You shouldn’t feel like that because no one else does.’ Your emotions are valid, whether people hear or understand them
No? The half of me that has Scottish heritage is crying inside. The point is that, contrary to the song’s message, we don’t have to split up and make life a race to the finish. Could we not take a path that is some place halfway between the high and low roads? In other words, we could try one of those crucial relationship-cementing C-words: compromise.
Neither party should silence the other, and even if a decision is made by one person, they need to at least consider the other person’s thoughts and emotions. To form a relationship with one of your travel companions, you do not have to surrender your individuality, any more than you should demand this of someone else. This is, after all, a relationship, and not a power grab.
To compromise in a relationship means that you are communicating respect for that other person’s thoughts and emotions. It does not mean that you have to agree with what they think or how they feel, but you should at least respect that these are their experiences. Compromise allows space for the thoughts and emotions of your travel companions.
Some refer to this as validation, and when it does not take place, it can lead to a whole avalanche of scary consequences. If you grew up in a household where your caregivers did not understand the concept of compromise, where your thoughts and emotions were constantly invalidated
You can end up pursuing more unbalanced, unhealthy relationships where there is a glaring lack of compromise, and your thoughts and emotions are invalidated on a daily basis.
You can end up trying to express those thoughts and emotions through other, less helpful, means, such as
As a result, your travel companions are even less likely to strike a compromise with you (not least because you have scared the living daylights out of them with this scary behavior). And so you become invalidated again.
If any of this resonates with you, and you need to speak to an experienced psychotherapist, get in contact today.
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Psychotherapist in Ridgewood (NJ), and author
+1 (201) 779-6917
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