What NOT to Do
- Don’t accept the premise of an invalidating statement or comment.
- Don’t take the bait and be drawn into a fight or a circular conversation about an invalidating comment. Stay focused on the issues that really matter.
- Don’t argue or debate or repeatedly go over the issues with someone who is invalidating you. You may end up arguing for a very long time and get nowhere, and, the harder you try the more opportunities they have to further invalidate you. State the truth once. Then save discussion for a time when they are ready to listen with respect.
- Don’t stay in the same room with a person who speaks to you with anything less than the respect you are worth. Don’t wait for them to understand your point of view. Take a break. Remove yourself politely and tell them you’ll be back at a later time when you feel safe.
What TO Do
- If you find yourself feeling shame over the statements another person is making about you then it is possible that the problem is them – not with you. Healthy people don’t go around shaming others.
- Confront invalidation once, calmly with truth and without emotion.
- End the conversation as soon as an invalidating statement is given.
- Allow the other person their feelings and thoughts – without taking responsibility for making them see the truth.
- Focus on seeing yourself in a validating way. Remind yourself of your qualities and strengths. Strive for excellence – not perfection.
- Surround yourself with healthy people who will tell you with kindness what they see of your strengths and weaknesses. Find a few supportive friends who will lift you up when you are down and of whom you can safely ask – “Am I really that bad?”
- Write down the qualities you like about yourself – remind yourself that you have gifts and talents – that you are unique in this world and there will never be another you.