Invalidating behavior


20-Jan-2020 23:41

This leads to the proposition that when family members seem to be invalidating another family member, the apparent invalidators may really be disqualifying themselves.

Listeners would have no way of knowing this, and would be inadvertently led to believe that they were being mistreated by the apparent invalidator. I had a big clue that invalidators may actually be thinking about themselves when they appear to be invalidating others.

As I described in my post on the family dynamics of borderline personality disorder, “Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person said.

It is a process in which individuals communicate to another that the opinions and emotions of the target are invalid, irrational, selfish, uncaring, stupid, most likely insane, and wrong, wrong, wrong.

To my surprise, disqualification is something one does to oneself, not to someone else.

One disqualifies oneself when one is afraid to say what one really feels or means for fear that others will reject it.

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In some families, the invalidation becomes extreme, leading to physical abuse and even murder.

Patients brought me these tapes primarily because they were tired of other therapists continually insisting that their memories and descriptions of interactions with their families were all distorted.

One patient, one of the worst self-cutters I have ever treated, used to have phone conversations with her mother nearly every day that lasted for hours and hours.

Hence disqualifiers say things in a way that allows them “plausible deniability.” They can claim they were misinterpreted if another important family members objects. The answer has to do with something that the psychoanalysts, who got a lot of things wrong, got right.

They accomplish this through wide range of deviant communicational phenomena “…such as self-contradictions, inconsistencies, subject switches, tangentializations, incomplete sentences, misunderstandings, obscure style or mannerisms of speech, the literal interpretation of metaphor and the metaphorical interpretation of literal remarks, etc." (p. They thought problematic behavior resulted from an unresolved conflict within the individual between two opposite courses of action.In other words, when someone disqualifies themselves, they are often invalidating the person listening to them.



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