14 – Don’t be an Invalidator. – 2:33

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#14 Don’t be an Invalidator. – 02:33

What is an invalidator? It is a person who puts other people down, insults them in public, disregards their opinions, does not listen. Let’s their own ego try to control the other person, is emotionally manipulative or negates their feelings. Not a pretty picture.

Invalidators are everywhere in homes, the classroom, the board room, on the golf course, and the bedroom. Being with an invalidator isn’t fun, but they tend to give you several options when they come into your life. You can hide under a rock, lock yourself in the closet, fight back, give up, or run away from them.

How do you know if you work with, live with, or just hang out with an invalidator? Here are a few clues to consider. They interrupt you a lot. They ignore or don’t really care about your feelings. They say things like “You should, you never, you always, you don’t, You owe me.” They say, “Don’t you,” rather than, “Do you?”

They don’t listen to you. They are so wrapped up in themselves that you really don’t exist. They’re only concerned about their own needs and don’t give a rip about yours. They communicate things to you like, “What will people think when you act like that? You make me angry when you say dumb things in front of my friends. Are you really going to wear that?”

They also can be heard saying, “How could you do that to me? See what you made me do? It’s your fault. If you really loved me, you would. Why can’t you be more like I expect you to?” There is a lot more, but I am sure you can now identify if you are an invalidator or if you have one in your life.

Here are a few things you can do if you have one in your life. Change them. Good luck. Accept their behavior, it most likely will never change. Leave. Get yourself, them, or both of you into therapy. Record your conversations and play them back. Not to blame or criticize, but so that each of you can see where you may be invalidating each other. Read my book, Nit Pickers, Naggers, and Tyrants, have a signal you can use every time the other person invalidates you.

For example, whenever they interrupt you, you can tap their forehead and I just made that up. Ask a third party to act as an observer. Whenever the other person invalidates you, the observer can tell the other person. Develop some rules of behavior in the relationship. You can respond to their statements with things like, “I am sorry you feel I should have acted differently. It might not be acceptable to you, but I have chosen to do it.”

The key here is to not take personal ownership of the other person’s opinions, values, criticisms, or judgements.