Psychological Invalidation Quotes

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All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.” At the time Switters had disputed her assertion. Even at seventeen, he was aware that depression could have chemical causes. “The key word here is roots,” Maestra had countered. “The roots of depression. For most people, self-awareness and self-pity blossom simultaneously in early adolescence. It's about that time that we start viewing the world as something other than a whoop-de-doo playground, we start to experience personally how threatening it can be, how cruel and unjust. At the very moment when we become, for the first time, both introspective and socially conscientious, we receive the bad news that the world, by and large, doesn't give a rat's ass. Even an old tomato like me can recall how painful, scary, and disillusioning that realization was. So, there's a tendency, then, to slip into rage and self-pity, which if indulged, can fester into bouts of depression.” “Yeah but Maestra—” “Don't interrupt. Now, unless someone stronger and wiser—a friend, a parent, a novelist, filmmaker, teacher, or musician—can josh us out of it, can elevate us and show us how petty and pompous and monumentally useless it is to take ourselves so seriously, then depression can become a habit, which, in tern, can produce a neurological imprint. Are you with me? Gradually, our brain chemistry becomes conditioned to react to negative stimuli in a particular, predictable way. One thing'll go wrong and it'll automatically switch on its blender and mix us that black cocktail, the ol’ doomsday daiquiri, and before we know it, we’re soused to the gills from the inside out. Once depression has become electrochemically integrated, it can be extremely difficult to philosophically or psychologically override it; by then it's playing by physical rules, a whole different ball game. That's why, Switters my dearest, every time you've shown signs of feeling sorry for yourself, I've played my blues records really loud or read to you from The Horse’s Mouth. And that’s why when you’ve exhibited the slightest tendency toward self-importance, I’ve reminded you that you and me— you and I: excuse me—may be every bit as important as the President or the pope or the biggest prime-time icon in Hollywood, but none of us is much more than a pimple on the ass-end of creation, so let’s not get carried away with ourselves. Preventive medicine, boy. It’s preventive medicine.” “But what about self-esteem?” “Heh! Self-esteem is for sissies. Accept that you’re a pimple and try to keep a lively sense of humor about it. That way lies grace—and maybe even glory.
Tom Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
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. Invalidators let it be known directly or indirectly that their targets views and feelings do not count for anything to anybody at any time or in any way.
David M. Allen
invalidation is crazy-making, and it is also at the root of gaslighting, where victims' feelings are purposely denied or manipulated in order to make them question their sanity.
Samantha Rodman (How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family)
All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.
Tom Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
That's the way the mind works: the brain is genetically disposed towards organization, yet if not controlled, will link even the most imagerial fragment to another on the flimsiest pretense and in the most freewheeling manner, as if it takes a kind of organic pleasure in creative association, without regards to logic or chronological sequence.
Tom Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
But one must remember that they were all men with systems. Freud, monumentally hipped on sex (for which he personally had little use) and almost ignorant of Nature: Adler, reducing almost everything to the will to power: and Jung, certainly the most humane and gentlest of them, and possibly the greatest, but nevertheless the descendant of parsons and professors, and himself a super-parson and a super-professor. all men of extraordinary character, and they devised systems that are forever stamped with that character.… Davey, did you ever think that these three men who were so splendid at understanding others had first to understand themselves? It was from their self-knowledge they spoke. They did not go trustingly to some doctor and follow his lead because they were too lazy or too scared to make the inward journey alone. They dared heroically. And it should never be forgotten that they made the inward journey while they were working like galley-slaves at their daily tasks, considering other people's troubles, raising families, living full lives. They were heroes, in a sense that no space-explorer can be a hero, because they went into the unknown absolutely alone. Was their heroism simply meant to raise a whole new crop of invalids? Why don't you go home and shoulder your yoke, and be a hero too?
Robertson Davies (The Manticore (The Deptford Trilogy, #2))
Invalidation is about dismissing your experiences, thoughts and above all your emotions. Indeed the intention is to not even allow you to have those thoughts, experiences and emotions. It‟s a way of invading your head and reprogramming it. It‟s psychological abuse (messing with your thoughts) and emotional abuse (messing with your feelings).
Danu Morrigan
This term is used in the 1944 Ingrid Bergman film Gaslight, in which a husband purposefully drives his wife insane by flickering lights, making noises in the attic, and then claiming the very real experience was all in her head.
Samantha Rodman (How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family)
Individuals need life structure. A life lacking in comprehensible structure is an aimless wreck. The absence of structure breeds breakdown. Structure provides the relatively fixed points of reference we need. That is why, for many people, a job is crucial psychologically, over and above the paycheck. By making clear demands on their time and energy, it provides an element of structure around which the rest of their lives can be organized. The absolute demands imposed on a parent by an infant, the responsibility to care for an invalid, the tight discipline demanded by membership in a church or, in some countries, a political party — all these may also impose a simple structure on life.
Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave)
A refusal on the part of psychiatrists and therapists to validate the horrors of their patients' tortured past implies a refusal to take seriously the unconscious psychological mechanisms that individuals need to use to protect themselves from the unspeakable. Such a denial is, however, no longer ethical, for it is in the human capacity to dissociate that lies part of the secret of both childhood abuse and the horrors of the Nazi genocide, both forms of human violence so often carried out by 'respectable' men and women.
Felicity De Zulueta (From Pain to Violence: The Traumatic Roots of Destructiveness)
The psychological definition of an invalidating environment is an environment where the responses of the child are pervasively treated as inaccurate, unrealistic, trivial, or pathological, independent of the actual validity of the behavior. This is really a mess of words, but here are some examples of invalidating responses: The child says he doesn’t like green beans. “Of course you like green beans. Everybody likes green beans.” The child brings home a grade of 98 on a test. “Why didn’t you get a 100? I know you could have gotten a 100.” The child says she is hungry. “You are not hungry. You just ate.” The child comes home crying after a fight with a friend. “You didn’t need him as a friend anyway.” The teenager comes home after a terrible day at high school. “Don’t you complain. These are the best days of your life.” (Honestly, would you want to do high school again?)
Shari Y. Manning (Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship)
Although there are more than six million documents on the Internet addressing the issue of ritual abuse, few take as fair and comprehensive approach as this; many of the writings deny the existence of ritual abuse despite masses of evidence to the contrary. As a consequence, some victims are persistently re-abused psychologically by having to deal with the fact that organised abusers, their defenders and even police refute their realities and dismiss their reports as fantasy or mental illness. - Ritual Abuse & Torture in Australia (introduction)
Freda Briggs
We all have innate emotional needs. If these needs aren't met, there can be serious consequences to out psychological health. Invalidation is no trivial matter. According to Steve Hein, MSW, author of the excellent and invaluable website,, invalidation is psychological murder or "soul murder." Having
Adelyn Birch (30 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics: How Manipulators Take Control In Personal Relationships)
Gratitude is not a psychological or political panacea, like a secular prosperity gospel, one that denies pain or overlooks injustice, because being grateful does not “fix” anything. Pain, suffering, and injustice—these things are all real. They do not go away. Gratitude, however, invalidates the false narrative that these things are the sum total of human existence, that despair is the last word. Gratitude gives us a new story. It opens our eyes to see that every life is, in unique and dignified ways, graced: the lives of the poor, the castoffs, the sick, the jailed, the exiles, the abused, the forgotten as well as those in more comfortable physical circumstances. Your life. My life. We all share in the ultimate gift—life itself. Together. Right now.
Diana Butler Bass (Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks)
Democracy, the apple of the eye of modern western society, flies the flag of equality, tolerance, and the right of its weaker members to defense and protection. The flag bearers for children's rights adhere to these same values. But should democracy bring about the invalidation of parental authority? Does democracy mean total freedom for children? Is it possible that in the name of democracy, parents are no longer allowed to say no to their children or to punish them? The belief that punishment is harmful to children has long been a part of our culture. It affects each and every one of us and penetrates our awareness via the movies we see and the books we read. It is a concept that has become a kingpin of modern society and helps form the media's attitudes toward parenting, as well as influencing legislation and courtroom decisions. In recent years, the children's rights movement has enjoyed enormous momentum and among the current generation, this movement has become pivotal and is stronger than ever before. Educational systems are embracing psychological concepts in which stern approaches and firm discipline during childhood are said to create emotional problems in adulthood, and liberal concepts have become the order of the day. To prevent parents from abusing their children, the public is constantly being bombarded by messages of clemency and boundless consideration; effectively, children should be forgiven, parents should be understanding, and punishment should be avoided. Out of a desire to protect children from all hardship and unpleasantness, parental authority has become enfeebled and boundaries have been blurred. Nonetheless, at the same time society has seen a worrying rise in violence, from domestic violence to violence at school and on the streets. Sweden, a pioneer in enacting legislation that limits parental authority, is now experiencing a dramatic rise in child and youth violence. The country's lawyers and academics, who have established a committee for human rights, are now protesting that while Swedish children are protected against light physical punishment from their parents (e.g., being spanked on the bottom), they are exposed to much more serious violence from their peers. The committee's position is supported by statistics that indicate a dramatic rise in attacks on children and youths by their peers over the years since the law went into effect (9-1). Is it conceivable, therefore, that a connection exists between legislation that forbids across-the-board physical punishment and a rise in youth violence? We believe so! In Israel, where physical punishment has been forbidden since 2000 (9-2), there has also been a steady and sharp rise in youth violence, which bears an obvious connection to reduced parental authority. Children and adults are subjected to vicious beatings and even murder at the hands of violent youths, while parents, who should by nature be responsible for setting boundaries for their children, are denied the right to do so properly, as they are weakened by the authority of the law. Parents are constantly under suspicion, and the fear that they may act in a punitive manner toward their wayward children has paralyzed them and led to the almost complete transfer of their power into the hands of law-enforcement authorities. Is this what we had hoped for? Are the indifferent and hesitant law-enforcement authorities a suitable substitute for concerned and caring parents? We are well aware of the fact that law-enforcement authorities are not always able to effectively do their jobs, which, in turn, leads to the crumbling of society.
Shulamit Blank (Fearless Parenting Makes Confident Kids)
All of this begs the questions as to why psychologists are wasting so much valuable training time on arcane, unproductive, invalid, unreliable, and inaccurate courses.
David B. Stein (The Psychology Industry Under a Microscope!)
Most of these techniques, including lying to a suspect about evidence against him or others who have implicated him, are perfectly legal and accepted. In fact, detectives are specifically trained in these methods, and there are few rules limiting what they can do in interrogations. In 1936, the Supreme Court decided in Brown v. Mississippi that evidence obtained through physical torture, in this case being hung from trees and whipped, was not admissible in a trial. In 1940, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions of three men in Chambers v. Florida because they had been held for nearly a week and subjected to continuous and intimidating interrogations in the presence of up to ten police officers at once before confessing. The court found that these extreme conditions, though not physical torture, still constituted circumstances that invalidated those confessions. Despite that second ruling, there is still no absolute definition of when this type of psychological pressure crosses the line and constitutes coercion or, worse, torture.
Sarah Burns (The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding)
Childhood neglect. Loss of a parent or someone close to you. Witnessing domestic violence. Feeling emotionally invalidated by your parents. Fear of expressing your thoughts and emotions
Anna Nierling (Borderline Personality Disorder - A BPD Survival Guide: For Understanding, Coping, and Healing (Behavioral Psychology Books For Mental Health))
Going to therapy and talking about healing may just be the go-to flex of our time. It is supposedly an indicator of how profoundly self-aware, enlightened, emotionally mature, or “evolved” an individual is. Social media is obsessed and saturated with pop psychology and psychiatry content related to “healing”, trauma, embodiment, neurodiversity, psychiatric diagnoses, treatments alongside productivity hacks, self-care tips and advice on how to love yourself without depending on anyone else, cut people out of your life, manifest your goals to be successful, etc. Therapy isn’t a universal indicator of morality or enlightenment. Therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that everyone must pursue. There are many complex political and cultural reasons why some people don’t go to therapy, and some may actually have more sustainable support or care practices rooted in the community. This is similar to other messaging, like “You have to learn to love yourself first before someone else can love you”. It all feeds into the lie that we are alone and that happiness comes from total independence. Mainstream therapy blames you for your problems or blames other people, and often it oscillates between both extremes. If we point fingers at ourselves or each other, we are too distracted to notice the exploitative systems making us all sick and sad. Oftentimes, people come out of therapy feeling fully affirmed and unconditionally validated, and this ego-caressing can feel rewarding in the moment even if it doesn’t help ignite any growth or transformation. People are convinced that they can do no wrong, are infallible, incapable of causing harm, and that other people are the problem. Treatment then focuses on inflating self-confidence, self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-love to chase one’s self-centered dreams, ambitions, and aspirations without taking any accountability for one’s own actions. This sort of individualistic therapeutic approach encourages isolation and a general mistrust of others who are framed as threats to our inner peace or extractors of energy, and it further breeds a superiority complex. People are encouraged to see relationships as accessories and means to a greater selfish end. The focus is on what someone can do for you and not on how to give, care for, or show up for other people. People are not pushed to examine how oppressive conditioning under these systems shows up in their relationships because that level of introspection and growth is simply too invalidating. “You don’t owe anyone anything. No one is entitled to your time and energy. If anyone invalidates you and disturbs your peace, they are toxic; cut them out of your life. You don’t need that negativity. You don’t need anyone else; you alone are enough. Put yourself first. You are perfect just the way you are.” In reality, we all have work to do. We are all socialized within these systems, and real support requires accountability. Our liberation is contingent on us being aware of our bullshit, understanding the values of the empire that we may have internalized as our own, and working on changing these patterns. Therapized people may fixate on dissecting, healing, improving, and optimizing themselves in isolation, guided by a therapist, without necessarily practicing vulnerability and accountability in relationships, or they may simply chase validation while rejecting the discomfort that comes from accountability. Healing in any form requires growth and a willingness to practice in relationships; it is not solely validating or invalidating; it is complex; it is not a goal to achieve but a lifelong process that no one is above; it is both liberating and difficult; it is about acceptance and a willingness to change or transform into something new; and ultimately, it is going to require many invalidating ego deaths so we can let go of the fixation of the “self” to ease into interdependence and community care.
The preponderance of an altruistic way of valuing is the result of a consciousness of the fact that one is botched and bungled. Upon examination, this point of view turns out to be: "I am not worth much," simply a psychological valuation; more plainly still: it is the feeling of impotence, of the lack of the great self-asserting impulses of power (in muscles, nerves, and ganglia). This valuation gets translated, according to the particular culture of these classes, into a moral or religious principle (the pre-eminence of religious or moral precepts is always a sign of low culture): it tries to justify itself in spheres whence, as far as it is concerned, the notion "value" hails. The interpretation by means of which the Christian sinner tries to understand himself, is an attempt at justifying his lack of power and of self-confidence: he prefers to feel himself a sinner rather than feel bad for nothing: it is in itself a symptom of decay when interpretations of this sort are used at all. In some cases the bungled and the botched do not look for the reason of their unfortunate condition in their own guilt (as the Christian does), but in society: when, however, the Socialist, the Anarchist, and the Nihilist are conscious that their existence is something for which some one must be guilty, they are very closely related to the Christian, who also believes that he can more easily endure his ill ease and his wretched constitution when he has found some one whom he can hold responsible for it. The instinct of revenge and resentment appears in both cases here as a means of enduring life, as a self-preservative measure, as is also the favour shown to altruistic theory and practice. The hatred of egoism, whether it be one's own (as in the case of the Christian), or another's (as in the case of the Socialists), thus appears as a valuation reached under the predominance of revenge; and also as an act of prudence on the part of the preservative instinct of the suffering, in the form of an increase in their feelings of co-operation and unity. ... At bottom, as I have already suggested, the discharge of resentment which takes place in the act of judging, rejecting, and punishing egoism (one's own or that of others) is still a self-preservative measure on the part of the bungled and the botched. In short: the cult of altruism is merely a particular form of egoism, which regularly appears under certain definite physiological circumstances. When the Socialist, with righteous indignation, cries for "justice," "rights," "equal rights," it only shows that he is oppressed by his inadequate culture, and is unable to understand why he suffers: he also finds pleasure in crying; if he were more at ease he would take jolly good care not to cry in that way: in that case he would seek his pleasure elsewhere. The same holds good of the Christian: he curses, condemns, and slanders the "world" and does not even except himself. But that is no reason for taking him seriously. In both cases we are in the presence of invalids who feel better for crying, and who find relief in slander.
Friedrich Nietzsche
So you’re saying,” I interjected, “that there is no organized, conspiratorial evil in the world, no satanic plot to which we fall prey?” “None. There is only human fear and the bizarre ways that humans try to ward it off.” “What about the many references in sacred texts and scriptures to Satan?” “This idea is a metaphor, a symbolic way of warning people to look to the divine for security, not to their sometimes tragic ego urges and habits. Blaming an outside force for everything bad was perhaps important at a certain stage in human development. But now it obscures the truth, because blaming our behavior on forces outside ourselves is a way of avoiding responsibility. And we tend to use the idea of Satan to project that some people are inherently evil so we can dehumanize the ones we disagree with and write them off. It is time now to understand the true nature of human evil in a more sophisticated way and then to deal with it.” “If there is no satanic plot,” I said, “then ‘possession’ doesn’t exist.” “That’s not so,” Wil said emphatically. “Psychological ‘possession’ does exist. But it is not the result of a conspiracy of evil; it is just energy dynamics. Fearful people want to control others. That’s why certain groups try to pull you in and convince you to follow them, and ask you to submit to their authority, or fight you if you try to leave.” “When I was first drawn into that illusory town, I thought I had been possessed by some demonic force.” “No, you were drawn in because you made the same mistake you made earlier: you didn’t just open up and listen to those souls; you gave yourself over to them, as if they automatically had all the answers, without checking to see if they were connected and motivated by love. And unlike the souls who are divinely connected, they didn’t back away from you. They just pulled you into their world, the same way some crazy group or cult might do in the physical dimension if you don’t discriminate.” Wil paused as if in thought, then continued. “All this is more of the Tenth Insight; that’s why we’re seeing it. As communication between the two dimensions increases, we’ll begin to have more encounters with souls in the Afterlife. This part of the Insight is that we must discern between those souls who are awake and connected with the spirit of love and those who are fearful and stuck in an obsessive trance of some kind. But we must do so without invalidating and dehumanizing those caught in such fear dramas by thinking they are demons or devils. They are souls in a growth process, just like us.
James Redfield (The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision (Celestine Prophecy #2))