For children, as I have mentioned before, it means their parent taking over the narrative in terms of what the child is experiencing, feeling, thinking, and believing. The child is rendered without a voice.
This means that the child cannot have his needs met by the parent. Depending on how much of it is going on, it can mean child neglect on every level: physical, emotional, psychological, learning, safety, etc.
* “Mom, I’m hungry.” Invalidating answer: “No you’re not. You just had food an hour ago.”
Continued: “That was just a cracker.” Invalidating answer: “I don’t want to hear another word of this.”
* “Mom, I’m being beaten up in school by a gang of boys.” Invalidating answer: “What did you do to deserve it?” or “What did you say to them that made them do that to you.”
* “Mom, grandpa sneaks into my bedroom every night to play doctor with me. I don’t want to play doctor!” – sexual abuse. Invalidating answer: “How dare you say something like that about your own grandfather! He would never do that! Little liar!”
* “Mom, I feel sick.” Invalidating answer: “No, you don’t. You’re faking it.” – typical for scapegoats.
* “Dad, (my brother) is hurting me. He’s always finding an excuse to punch me. My guts are so sore from being punched there.” Invalidating answer: “Boys will be boys! Just slug him back!”
Continued: “But he’s stronger than me. I don’t want to do this any more.” Invalidating answer: “You’re a sissy then. Is that what you’re telling me?”
* “Dad, I’m feeling sad. I don’t want to go that party.” Perspecticide answer: “No, you’re not. You are angry and you are going to go, and that is all there is to it. Put on a happy face.” – teaches a child to be inauthentic if it is done a lot.
If you grew up with a lot of this (weekly or daily basis), no, it is not normal by a long shot. It is definitely a sign of either substance addiction in the parent, or a Cluster B personality disorder.
Rejection and being retaliated against does a lot of damage to a child, and to the relationship between parent and child. The child’s main relationship to the parent will be filtered through the child’s fear: they will not look to their parent for love, care or comfort, for truth, for reasonableness, for safety, for stability and constancy, for acceptance — all the things we associate with a good family. The child will also be seen as not not seeing the parent as an exceptional being (except in the way that the parent gets away with hurting the child over and over again) – so the parent feels insulted by that instead of working towards being a better parent. The main way that the parent is viewed is “Scary, inconsistent, subject to rage at any moment, is out to hurt me and destroy me.”