Invalidating feelings relationship
Your own thoughts are put on the back burner; your focus, instead, is on your partner's current experience.
Show you are listening by stopping what you are doing (closing the laptop, turning off the TV), turning to face them, nodding your head, and making eye contact as they talk. Acknowledging and accepting is the next step in validation.
Research has shown that having these types of interactions with your partner helps your partner feel less upset and less vulnerable, whereas invalidating behaviors do the opposite; they make your partner feel criticized, dismissed, or contempt from you.
Relationships that are the most successful are those where both partners share their inner world with one another -- their real thoughts, feelings and desires -- and where their partner, in turn, is able to really hear them.
While it intuitively feels helpful to give suggestions, this can feel invalidating to your partner.In fact, one defintion of the so-called "borderline personality disorder" is "the normal response of a sensitive person to an invalidating environment" (2)Psychiatrist R. Laing said that when we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. He writes "...a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses).He found that when one's feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even they are perfectly mentally healthy. Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) (Reference)Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal.This means you acknowledge what they've said or what they are feeling.