Emotional invalidation is when someone’s feelings are denied, rejected, or dismissed. Invalidation makes someone feel as though their emotional experience is wrong. They may feel that their emotions are unacceptable, insignificant, or inaccurate.Psych Central
Dad called me “Elizabeth Taylor”, A drama queen, that and ‘Fatty”.
Growing up my emotions were intense and were met by the family with ‘invalidation’. My sister would hit me in the arm and when I reacted would tell me, it didn’t hurt that much. Repeated invalidation, had me doubting my own emotions and I learned to push down my emotions with food. I ate the emotion away, I did something that felt good, when things felt bad.
Doubting how I should feel
I went from relationship to relationship with people who were uncomfortable with my emotional intensity and would invalidate how I was feeling. Tell me I was being over sensitive, tell me I shouldn’t feel that way, tell me to just get over it.
Not until my diagnosis with BPD a couple of years ago did I see this pattern of behaviour in myself and those around me. When from childhood you’ve been told you’re too much, you shouldn’t feel like you do, you learn to doubt who you are, how you feel and believe those around you, must be ‘better’ than you.
BPD is emotionally painful
I think this is the most painful aspect of BPD, the lack of self identity. Not knowing who you are, how you ‘should’ feel. Always doubting yourself. If I think myself a kind person, the voice in my head is telling me that’s only because you want people to like you.
If I write an article like this, the voice tells me it’s just because you want attention. The constant doubting of who I am and why I do what I do has left me with no idea of who I am. I’m crying writing this and the voice is telling me not to be silly, you turn a mole hill into a mountain. You had a great childhood, your parents loved you, housed and fed you. You’re making stuff up again. On and on the voice will go. Drowning out that observer of my thoughts, me.
Not knowing how I should feel and behave had me mirroring those around me, taking on others behaviours, being a chameleon to fit in. The observer of my thoughts was not enough.
Being 56 years old and still having little idea of who you are and what you believe, is such a waste of this precious one life.
Is BPD over diagnosed?
I’ve been a part of a couple of conversations recently, the subject raised of BPD being over diagnosed and the recent ‘trendy’ diagnosis by mental health professionals. Not being a mental health professional or having researched the growing number of diagnosis. I can’t give an opinion on this. In my own case the diagnosis makes a lot of sense and provides me with the keys to recovery. An opportunity to research, learn, get treatment and connect with others. Hearing others stories, validates my experiences.
I’m not alone, I’m me, the observer of my thoughts.