The first lessons are about finding yourself and becoming whole. One of the factors that causes fragmentation of your identity – who you think and feel you are – is invalidation, which happens when you feel made wrong by another’s comments or actions.
When you act according to the will of another person and suppress your own wishes, you have identified a part of yourself with the other person. You have let them into your mind, as your master. You have become fragmented. One of the main ways this comes about is through invalidation, or ‘making wrong’. If somebody says your effort was ‘not good enough’ or that you ‘shouldn’t have done that’, then you start to question yourself. You begin to introspect and ask, ‘Is there something wrong with me?’
When another person wrongly evaluates or misunderstands your communications or your state of mind, naturally this is upsetting. It means the other has not understood you. Your enthusiasm wanes. You may accept this false evaluation – perhaps because of the authority or dominance of the other person. If you ignore your own feelings and believe they must be right, you begin to follow their will, not your own. A part of you has identified with the other person and split from the real you. The you that is responsible for your choices.
This very commonly occurs with children, where they take on the characteristics of their parents. It is also very frequent in relationships where one partner adjusts to match the other’s expectations. And of course it happens at work too.
When our goals are suppressed by another – however well meant – it is eventually life destroying.
Negative evaluations (personal criticisms, opinions) by another especially at times of stress can cause extreme upset.
Most of us wonder why the populations in the world who seem to have the greatest mobility and most material possessions are suffering from the yoke of despair and depression. One of the biggest causes is invalidation.
As human beings we need to be both independent and interdependent. We need to feel a sense of love and of contribution. If either are missing we are sad, we are defeated, we are joyless.
Following is a list of ways you may have been invalidated:
Did anybody try to describe your reality?
Did anybody try to define you?
Did anybody deny or change your reality?
Did anybody judge you?
Did anybody make an unfair generalization about you?
Did anybody say you don’t have a right to your opinion?
Did anybody criticize you unjustly?
Did anybody tease you?
Did anybody make you feel insignificant?
Did anybody tell you that you shouldn’t be there?
Did anybody tell you that you don’t belong?
Did anybody tell you that you couldn’t leave?
Did anybody force you to follow their rules?
Did anybody trick you into an agreement?
Did anybody bypass you or take away your job?
Did anybody make you do something you didn’t like?
Did anybody decide things for you?
Did anybody take away your ability to choose?