Emotional Invalidation: Breaking the Cycle

Emotional Invalidation Meaning

Emotional invalidation is a term used to describe an experience where a person’s feelings and emotions are disregarded, belittled or ignored by another person. It can have long-lasting effects on mental and emotional wellbeing, leaving a person feeling frustrated, invalidated, and unheard.

Addressing emotional validation is paramount when it comes to building strong and healthy relationships, whether it be romantic, familial, or professional. As a psychologist with years of experience, I’ve witnessed firsthand how emotional invalidation can be a common factor in many broken relationships.

In this article, we’ll unmask this phenomenon and explore ways to recognize it in your relationships, addressing the importance of emotional validation.

The Basics of Emotional Invalidation

Emotional invalidation is a term used to describe various behaviors that communicate to an individual that their emotional experiences, thoughts, and beliefs are unimportant, irrelevant, or wrong.

This can include dismissing someone’s feelings, minimizing their experiences, or even outright denying their reality.

One common misconception about emotional invalidation is that it is intentional neglect or abuse, but it can also be unintentional, stemming from a lack of understanding or awareness of how harmful it can be.

“Your emotions are real, valid, and deserving of acknowledgment. Never let anyone convince you otherwise.”

Furthermore, some people believe that emotional invalidation is a helpful way to toughen up or “get over” difficult experiences, but in reality, it can further amplify and prolong emotional distress.

As a psychologist working with clients, I have seen the detrimental effects of emotional invalidation firsthand and encourage individuals to learn more about it in order to create healthier and more supportive relationships.

Types of Emotional Invalidation

Dismissive Behaviors

Emotional Invalidation is a term used to describe dismissive behaviors that can be harmful to our emotional well-being.

As a psychologist, I have noticed that many of my clients have experienced emotional invalidation in various forms, including ignoring or neglecting their emotions, and minimizing or trivializing their feelings.

It can be difficult to recognize these behaviors as they often occur in subtle ways and can be ingrained in our personal relationships. However, it’s important to address emotional invalidation to prevent any further emotional damage and to foster healthy communication and relationships.

In order to do so, we need to unmask and acknowledge these dismissive behaviors and work towards cultivating a safe and supportive environment where emotions are validated and respected.

Blaming and Shaming

Emotional Invalidation is a serious issue that affects many people. Accusing and criticizing others for their emotions can be emotionally invalidating. Guilt and manipulation tactics are also common methods used by those who engage in blaming and shaming behavior.

This type of emotional invalidation can cause others to feel unworthy or unimportant. As a psychologist, I have seen firsthand the damaging effects of blaming and shaming on my clients. It’s important to recognize these behaviors and learn how to communicate in a non-judgmental and supportive way.

Emotional validation is key to building healthy relationships and promoting emotional well-being. Let’s unmask emotional invalidation and work towards a more understanding and compassionate society.


Gaslighting is a form of emotional invalidation where the perpetrator denies or distorts reality, which in turn invalidates the victim’s perception of events, leaving them feeling confused and doubting their own memory and senses.

This insidious form of emotional abuse can happen in any type of relationship, from intimate to professional, and can have serious consequences for the victim’s mental health and well-being.

As a psychologist who has worked with clients who have been gaslighted, I have witnessed firsthand the impact it can have on someone’s confidence and ability to trust their own judgment.

It’s important to recognize gaslighting when it occurs and to seek support from a professional who can help you navigate the feelings of confusion and self-doubt that can arise from emotional invalidation.

Conditional Love and Support

Emotional invalidation is a common experience among people, and conditional love and support is one of its types. This is when affection or support is only given based on certain emotions or behaviors.

For instance, a parent may only show love to their child if they achieve top grades or complete household chores. A partner may only provide support when their significant other follows their plans or opinions.

This pattern is damaging as it can create a sense of inadequacy and low self-esteem. As a psychologist, I have observed and experienced how this type of emotional invalidation affects individuals. It is crucial to recognize and unmask these behaviours to improve relationships and mental wellbeing.

How it Feels when Emotional Invalidation hit

The Impact of Emotional Invalidation

Emotional Distress

The consequences of emotional invalidation can be damaging. Suppressed emotions can lead to emotional distress and have detrimental effects on mental health. Through my experience as a psychologist, I have observed the negative impact of emotional invalidation on my clients.

Invalidating someone’s emotions can make them feel invisible, unheard, and misunderstood. This can result in a heightened sensitivity to future emotional experiences, leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

It’s essential to validate people’s emotions, allowing them to feel seen, heard, and supported. By doing so, individuals feel empowered to communicate their emotions effectively, reducing emotional distress and promoting a healthier emotional state.

As a society, we need to unmask emotional invalidation and promote emotional validation to support mental health and wellbeing.

Damaged Self-Esteem

Emotional invalidation can have a devastating impact on a person’s self-esteem. When someone constantly tells you that your feelings and thoughts are wrong or unimportant, you internalize that message. You start to doubt your own worth and value as a person.

Your confidence dwindles and you become uncertain about your abilities. Overtime, you become insecure and hesitant, constantly second-guessing yourself.

“Your feelings are the compass guiding you towards authenticity. Trust them, honor them, and embrace your emotional journey.”

As a psychologist who has worked with many clients dealing with emotional invalidation, I have seen firsthand how damaging it can be to a person’s sense of self-esteem.

It is important that we become aware of the signs of emotional invalidation in our lives and work to address them, in order to protect and nourish our own mental and emotional wellbeing.

Relationship Strain

Relationships can be complicated, especially when we experience emotional invalidation. As a psychologist, I have observed communication breakdowns and conflict escalation as common issues in strained relationships.

Invalidation can lead to mistrust and emotional distance between partners, which can make it tough to create an environment of vulnerability and openness. It can be difficult to regain trust once it has been lost, and the emotional distance can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

It is important to unmask invalidation and its effects to begin repairing any damage it may have caused in relationships. Working with a trained professional can help individuals recognize the effects of invalidation and learn effective communication techniques to rebuild trust and emotional connections.

Recognizing Emotional Invalidation

Signs and Red Flags

Emotional Invalidation: Breaking the Cycle is a crucial topic as it sheds light on a common issue that affects the emotional well-being of individuals. One of the signs of emotional invalidation is verbal and non-verbal cues.

These cues can be subtle, such as eye-rolling, dismissive gestures or tone of voice, and can have a profound impact on a person’s self-esteem. Another aspect of emotional invalidation is patterns of invalidating behavior that can be seen in repetitive situations.

As a psychologist, I have observed that invalidating behavior often leads to feelings of frustration, inadequacy, and isolation.

Recognizing these red flags is essential to maintaining healthy relationships and emotional well-being. It’s important to remember that everyone deserves to be heard and validated.


Self-reflection is a crucial step in recognizing emotional invalidation. It involves taking an honest inventory of our personal tendencies to invalidate others’ emotions, thoughts, or experiences.

As individuals, we all have preconceived notions based on our upbringing, culture, and past experiences that can unconsciously influence how we interact with others. By understanding and acknowledging these tendencies, we can begin to work on them and cultivate empathy and active listening skills.

Empathy involves putting ourselves in another person’s shoes and recognizing their emotions, while active listening requires us to give our full attention to the speaker, without interrupting or dismissing them.

As a psychologist, I have observed that practicing self-reflection, empathy, and active listening can lead to more positive and fulfilling relationships, while reducing emotional invalidation and its negative consequences.

Healing from Emotional Invalidation


Emotional Invalidation is a harmful experience that can leave lasting scars on an individual’s emotional wellbeing. Understanding and honoring your emotions is a crucial aspect of healing from this experience.

It is important to recognize the validity of your emotions and trust your instincts. Practicing self-compassion and self-care can also aid in the healing process. Self-validation involves acknowledging your feelings and accepting yourself without seeking external validation.

As a psychologist, I have seen first-hand the benefits of self-validation in my clients. It allows them to build a healthy relationship with themselves and overcome the effects of emotional invalidation. While it can take time and effort, the rewards are worth the investment in one’s emotional health.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication is a crucial skill that aids in healing from emotional invalidation. This skill involves expressing emotions effectively and constructively, which is an art that takes time and practice.

When one is emotionally invalidated, it is easy to bottle up emotions, leading to untold pain and frustration. However, through assertive communication, individuals can set boundaries and seek support from loved ones or professionals.

A psychologist, based on his observations and experiences with clients, sees that cultivating assertive communication comes with many benefits. It helps one build healthy relationships and boosts their self-esteem by enabling them to stand up for their needs and rights.

If you are struggling with emotional invalidation, learning assertive communication skills can give you the tools to better handle your emotional responses and live a more fulfilling life.

Seeking Professional Help

Emotional validation is a crucial aspect of mental health and overall well-being. However, sometimes we may find ourselves in situations where we feel unheard, misunderstood, or invalidated by the people around us.

These experiences can have a profound impact on our emotional and mental health, leaving us feeling anxious, depressed, or even traumatized. Seeking professional help for emotional invalidation can be an effective way to work through these difficult feelings and experiences.

Therapy and counseling options are available to help individuals explore their emotions, develop coping strategies, and work through emotional trauma. With the help of a trained professional, it is possible to heal from emotional invalidation and regain a sense of emotional balance and well-being.

Impacts of Emotional Invalidation

Rebuilding Relationships

Open and Honest Dialogue

In many relationships, communication is key to rebuilding trust and fostering emotional connection. Open and honest dialogue is a crucial aspect of this process. This means both parties need to find ways to communicate their needs and expectations in a way that is clear and respectful.

Emotional invalidation is a common roadblock in this regard. This term refers to situations where one person dismisses or belittles the feelings or experiences of the other. It can be devastating to a relationship, making it difficult to move forward.

Through my experience as a psychologist, I have found that addressing emotional invalidation is essential to creating space for open and honest dialogue. By doing so, both parties can begin to see each other’s perspective and work towards rebuilding the trust that is necessary for a healthy relationship.

Empathy and Validation

In order to rebuild relationships and promote emotional wellbeing, it is important to cultivate understanding and validation skills. Emotional invalidation can be harmful to individuals and their relationships, so creating a supportive and nurturing environment is vital.

“In a world that often invalidates, be the person who validates. Your empathy can create ripples of healing and connection.”

As a psychologist, I have observed the power of empathy and validation in helping clients feel heard and understood. Validating someone’s feelings shows that you care about them and their experiences. It can allow the person to feel safe and begin to trust others again.

Empathy and validation create a solid foundation for healthy communication and a positive relationship. If we want to promote emotional well-being and rebuild relationships, we must prioritize developing these important skills in ourselves and in others.

How to overcome Emotional Invalidation

Shared Growth and Healing

Shared growth and healing require collaborative efforts from those involved to strengthen emotional bonds and rebuild relationships. Emotional invalidation, or dismissing someone’s feelings as irrelevant or unimportant, can have a devastating impact on personal and professional relationships alike.

As a psychologist with years of experience in observing and working with clients, I have found that shared growth and healing is achievable when both parties commit to acknowledging and addressing the underlying issues that led to the invalidation.

Effective communication, active listening, and a willingness to be vulnerable and compassionate are essential components in this process. Ultimately, shared growth and healing can lead to stronger and more meaningful relationships.

Final Words

In conclusion, emotional invalidation is a powerful form of neglect that can have dramatic effects on those who experience it. As established by the observations and experiences of psychologists, it manifests in a variety of ways, including dismissive language, lack of empathy, and withdrawal of affection. Emotional invalidation can often leave one feeling alone and misunderstood.

Therefore, it is crucial to recognize and combat it when it arises. Through supportive communication and the validation of one’s feelings, people can begin to overcome the effects of emotional invalidation. With this in mind, let us reach out to others with compassion, understanding, and love.

Why do people engage in emotional invalidation?

People may engage in emotional invalidation for various reasons. It can stem from a lack of understanding or empathy, a desire to avoid uncomfortable emotions, or a belief that expressing emotions is weak or unnecessary. In some cases, emotional invalidation may be a learned behavior passed down through generations.

How can emotional invalidation impact relationships?

Emotional invalidation can strain relationships and lead to a breakdown in communication and emotional connection. When one person consistently invalidates the emotions of another, it can create resentment, distance, and a lack of trust. Over time, this can damage the overall health and satisfaction of the relationship.

What can I do if I feel emotionally invalidated?

If you feel emotionally invalidated, it’s essential to recognize and validate your own emotions. Seek support from trusted friends, family, or a therapist who can provide a safe space to express your feelings. It may also be helpful to communicate your needs and concerns to the person who invalidates you, fostering open and honest dialogue.

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