Feelings don't have a size!
Hi Everyone! I am sorry it's been a few months since my last blog post, where did that time go! As you can imagine it's been really busy over the last few months so I haven't always had the time to create new content for my website.
Following on from my last blog "Is your positivity toxic?" I wanted to continue the conversation around not showing our true feelings. I started thinking about how this may impact others, myself included, and the word "minimising" kept coming into my head. If we can't show our true feelings we minimise how we really feel, often to our own detriment.
So why does it happen? In my experience it's mostly due to wanting to fit in with someone else or not have them judge us in some way. If we have someone in our lives that finds emotions difficult to cope with we can minimise how we're feeling in order to try and make them feel better, or worst still they can minimise our feelings for us. This is called Psychological Invalidation and it also can involve our feelings being rejected or dismissed as well as minimised. If the person that is doing the invalidating isn't aware that they're doing it then it may be due to the fact they don't want to trigger any emotions or difficulties in you, or as they can't cope with their emotions they also can't cope with yours. If, however, the person is aware they're invalidating your feelings this can be interpreted as manipulative or controlling behaviour. Here are some psychologically invalidating phrases, how many have you heard?
It could be worse
I am sure it wasn't that bad
Just get over it
Man up/ put your big girl pants on
I am not discussing this with you
Oh I know exactly how you feel
Why do you always have to make a fuss?
In addition to these phrases, psychological invalidation can also include some body language such as eye rolling, tutting, arm folding, walking out of the room or looking at their phone whilst you're talking.
The impact of psychological invalidation can be that we feel we can't share our emotions with certain people for fear of their reaction or it not being met with the response we'd like so we give up. Whilst I acknowledge we can't change how other people respond to us, we can reflect on how we deal with the reactions we get. This is where emotional boundaries and values can be so impactful on us as we can allow others to see what we're willing to tolerate and what we're not! I also find that Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) can also be beneficial with clients that are being psychologically invalidated. Exercises such as filling out a compassion/ self-esteem journal can be a first step in talking to yourself in a more compassionate way. You can google "self-esteem journal" and find some great examples to help you with this and fill out on a daily basis. Or if you're more confident with writing you can buy a journal and start writing. Whatever works for you works!
Feeling validated isn't something we should take for granted and our feelings matter, simply because they're ours. We're worthy of expressing our emotions no matter what they are. If you feel like you need help with this then please reach out and seek support from a professional therapist who can help you.
This will be my last blog post of the year so to all reading this I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here's hoping 2021 is a better year for all of us!
Take care and speak soon