13 thoughts on “Are You Invalidating Your Partner – Without Realizing It?

  • May 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Sometimes, when I don’t like the response I get from my husband, I tell him with a big smile ….” and the correct answer is ……….” and he usually smiles back and then the tension is broken and a discussion can ensue or sometimes no discussion is necessary.

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  • June 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    All of the advise I have read in the past few articles have been an excellent outreach for people who are looking to become a better person. It is within these writings that one can find direction and methods for Change if you will:
    1) Be honest with yourself.
    2) Allow time for review.
    3) Make time to read over occasionally.
    4) Share these thoughts with anyone you have not considered your
    equal.

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  • October 6, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    A person has a right to believe what they want and thus feel as they do about it. We should all honor that right.

    But, I find that the main difficulty is when one’s spouse thinks that one must agree with their beliefs about reality in order for you to be sufficiently ‘validating’ them; you must agree with what happened, how important a thing is, etc.

    A corollary is when the spouse allows you to add nothing to the conversation because the strength of their feelings is sufficient proof that their understanding of reality is the correct one; and if you say anything, then you are ‘invalidating’ them.

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    • April 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Thanking you for making this point! My partner and I tend to naturally agree on many things, so when we converse over various topics, half the time it’s pretty pleasant. But the other half…it’s just horrible, I am so frustrated. He simply cannot handle it if my opinion does not line up with his. I know how he is and for a long time I have tried everything I could think of to avoid making him feel defensive. I maintain a very friendly and relaxed tone, I don’t tell him he’s wrong I fact when it’s my turn to speak I try to respond to what he last said first and validate points I agreed with, and I rarely interject while he’s talking but if I do and it offends him, I apologize right away and allow him to finish. But despite all this effort, he still gets defensive rather quickly. He begins impatiently waiting for me to shut up and stop talking so that he can tell me I’m wrong about everything . He’s often so absorbed in doing so that many times he’s failed to realize that there are things I was actually agreeing with him on so in that respect I can tell he’s often not really hearing me. On top of that he’s often too impatient to even allow me to finish my sentence . As soon as he thinks he’s hearing something that he doesn’t like he interrupts me, and when I point out that his interrupted me in the hopes that he will actually care and allow me to continue speaking, he instead excuses the interruption and continues on with whatever point he wants to make. This is more hurtful to me than I can describe and now I understand that it’s because he invalidates me when he behaves this way. Eventually he’ll give what seems like a genuine apology but it doesn’t make me feel better. I know that I’m probably going to leave him because I’ve tried many times to talk to him about this, make him understand how I feel. And he always placates me. And I guarantee the day I break things off with him he’ll be angry with me and he’ll be baffled as to why even though I told him more times than I could possibly count.

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    • May 1, 2017 at 4:36 am

      Hello, i really loved your explanation as to how invalidation’s can be over used by some.

      i am constantly told i am invalidating someone when i bring statistics into something. even when the statistics are not to invalidate them but show them other possibility’s. a lot of the time it is not to invalidate them, but to enlighten to other perspective’s and possibility’s, i do not say that their feelings for the situation they are currently in are being invalidated in any way. but if i point out that it is not as big of a problem as they make it out to be (population wise) and that their are ways to avoid them because it is a minor issue in scale. i am told i have completely invalidated their feelings on the matter even when i say their feelings are validated for what they are currently experiencing. mostly because i am not wholly agreeing with their every word about how big they feel the problem is. does this mean i am completely invalidating them? is their a word for partial invalidation? i am constantly being linked to Websters definition of invalidating someone. as evidence that i am invalidating them because it is vague in description. basically that because i don’t completely validate everything they say i am completely invalidating everything they say.

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    • July 26, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Excellent point. People read articles like this and then, when their partner does not agree with them about something, they claim “INVALIDATION”. Even worse, people expect that, because they are upset, their partner should make some changes. If not, again, “INVALIDATION!”

      I fault the people who write these articles for not tempering their point. They will often say that validation does not mean you have to agree. The problem occurs when your partner does not accept that concept.

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  • June 22, 2016 at 3:14 am

    this is insightful. I have been made to feel like I have something wrong with my personality if I ever express how I feel about something. For example, we have a young daughter and the day after I came home from hospital (after c section), he left me alone whilst he went on an 8 hour bike ride and drinks with his friend. He did the same the following day and left me to deal with his interfering mother who has constantly criticised me since the day we told her we were expecting. I know what he is like so I carefully thought about how I would address this diplomatically. It was somehow all turned around on me! I was in the wrong for feeling that way, I was selfish to address it. When I write this, it sounds ridiculous but he is clever about the way he invalidates me. I am highly educated and in a very good job, so externally, people have the perception that I’m a powerful, strong woman. At home, I’m completely different now. I was driving along yesterday feeling so saddened after another episode of being invalidated – I wondered how long ago I lost the fun identity that people were so attracted to. Now I feel like nobody and I truly believe that it is his fault. I won’t leave because of our daughter. So i want to know strategies for addressing this behaviour as I know he will not accept that he invalidates me and it will all somehow be a failing on my part.

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    • June 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      sounds like he learned to be an Avoider from having a mom like that! So he has developed some handy strategies to keep himself aloof. (maybe his Dad even modeled this approach for him.)

      Sometimes one can get further with questions than answers. For example, maybe you could ask him:
      “what do you believe goes into being a good husband and father?”
      “why do you think that?”
      “Can you give me an example of who you deem to be a good dad?”

      one boundary-setting device is: “Can we take turns? I will be happy to answer your question after you have answered mine”. Then make sure what he says DOES answer the question, even if you disagree. (I find that when I have labored under a conflictual situation and I know I am right, the other party always changes the focus, whether intentionally or not, and I stupidly respond to the misdirection.)

      just some ideas…. best wishes.

      bobster

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      • July 26, 2018 at 9:43 am

        Apart from “why do you think that?”, the questions you suggest: “what do you believe goes into being a good husband and father” and “can you give me an example of … a good dad” are a really terrible suggestion. (Uh oh, am I invalidating you there?)

        Asking like questions like that is pretty much guaranteed to put your partner on the defensive. Instead, take ownership of your own opinions, wants, and needs. Instead, of asking questions (when I think you already have a certain answer in mind that you are expecting) my suggestion would be:

        – as a good husband and father, I expect you to … (detailed, specific things that you want your husband to do)

        – I want you to be a good dad, and to me, that means you will … (again, be detailed and specific)

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    • March 17, 2017 at 1:55 am

      I am still married to the man that went camping while I delivered my premature son who passed away. I lost my first two pregnancies in miscarriages so after 11 hours of labor and delivering a one pound baby boy – that passed away immediately- I was devastated. Even then I was too dumb to leave. Therefore I went through (and sadly I’m still going through so many other terrible things in my marriage). I eventually left him 2 years ago and again I went back. Things were good up until a few months ago and now things are bad again. Unfortunately, I have no family to turn to. I feel stuck. I wish I had paid attention to the warning signs so long ago because I should have left. My man is a selfish man and he doesn’t even see himself as being like that in any way and yet that is his problem. He loves being in control and is a great manager at work. Unfortunately, his co-workers get treated better than I do. He will bend over backwards for work but he feels tortured if he has to bend for me in any way. I am often blamed for the majority of our problems. His self insight isn’t very good but he has a lot of “insight” for me. My advice to you– leave now. I wish you well.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 8:33 am

    It is so embarrassing when couples do this in front of you and other groups. During the years post WWII when it was common for everybody to get married and occupy nuclear straight families one of the many uglies was the “humour” that was common mocking husbands and wives for supposedly common characteristics. When fundamentalists hark back to this sick society of forcing all square pegs into round holes and vice versa I think of the horrors this type of thinking created within my own family – with 2 parents completely unfit to be married or parents but shoved into that role in order to thrive financially. I call out this behaviour or just leave when in a group or with a couple that does this.

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  • July 26, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Can you please give some suggestions of how to deal with a partner who refuses to separate the issue and requests for change from her emotions?

    Example:

    Me: “I understand that you are upset because you expected X and I did Y. I’m willing to discuss it, but as of this moment, I don’t agree to do X, because Y is important to me. Perhaps we can find a way that I can do Y and you can still get what you need.”

    Her: “You are invalidating me! I am very hurt that you did Y and I need you to apologize for doing it.”

    Me: ….

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