Emotional Validation and Invalidation: what are they and how do they affect us?
May 26, 2023
Yes, emotions are innate, they come with us; yes, they are the physical reaction to our own interpretations of our environment, to thoughts or memories; and yes, they are in favor of our survival by adaptation. Then it will be very important to know, identify and validate them.
- We recommend you read: "Emotional Validation and Invalidation: what are they and how do they affect us?"
What does it mean to validate emotions?
Validating emotions is the recognition and acceptance of another person's emotional experience and communicating that acceptance.. In simple words, it is allowing emotions to be because they have reasons to be. However, emotional validity was interposed by a cultural model, since in the identification of what is acceptable for each gender and age; it was classified between what was emotionally allowed for men and women; to children and adults. So men were only allowed to experience anger and joy, so you can see how fear and sadness are usually expressed from anger.
In some cultures a man with fear, sadness or disgust is considered a weakness for his gender. This emotional invalidation leads to catastrophic consequences; By keeping men away from most emotions, statistics speak of the alarming number of suicides of men in Spain that reaches 65%. Ignorance of emotions and the difficulty to identify them annuls coping strategies in the face of emotional discomfort.
On the contrary, women are allowed the emotion of sadness, fear and surprise. Anger is not acceptable to them since it is related to a "hormonal" state, that they are "emotional" or "hysterical". Likewise, emotion in children is invalidated, since it is usually believed that their problems are not so large and justified mood difficulties such as an anxiety disorder or depression childish. It is in childhood where emotional invalidation occurs most and therefore we learn self-invalidation.
The need of parents to make their children happy and to find a quick solution to the adversities of the children, even if there is a good intention. Their bias does not allow them to understand the emotional experience that the children are having, thus ignoring possible depressive or anxious symptoms in their children, since this would also confront them with their personal value of being good parents.
The lack of education in mental health and learning from the environment leads to the invalidation of emotions. When a child moves away from some emotion it is not because he cannot feel it or does not have the ability to produce it, it is because at some point he learned that it is not okay to show it. If a child is told or taught in any way that she should not be sad, afraid or disgusted, that she is bad feeling this way or with these emotions, guilt appears for feeling what you shouldn't feel. Guilt leads to emotional distress and learned self-invalidity.
Emotional self-invalidation is the rejection and contempt of one's own emotional experiences, it is judging in a negative way the physical and psychological relationships of emotions. On the contrary, emotional validity is the principle of acceptance of the human condition since by nature emotions are in most living beings, including animals vertebrates. Emotional disability produces confusion, anxiety and irritability, a feeling of inadequacy and guilt, in the end there is a need to avoid emotions because we do not know how to identify and less regulate them.
Emotionally invalidating is when we do not allow another person to have the emotion of the moment and their physical reactions; we pretend to know how you should feel, judging from our own personal experience. In the same way, believing that people who suffer from some condition in their mood is because they do not know how to manage their emotions, we It also leads to invalidating the way of perceiving their world, identifying it and emotionally valuing it due to their own experience and learning.
In therapy it is necessary to approach the patient validating him emotionally, knowing that when a person seeks professional help in mental health it is because he is having some kind of emotional discomfort and that discomfort has sufficient reasons to to be, as a first step the validation of the patient then it is necessary to guide self-validation, through psychoeducation about emotions and the need for validation emotional.