Helpful ways to respond to psychological invalidation


Helpful Ways to Respond to Psychological Invalidation

From a clinical neuropsychology PHD candidate.

Example: “You're crazy/ You're imagining things”

Response: “You saying that does not suddenly change my perception on this. It just shuts down the conversation. I may be seeing things differently so I am willing to hear you out. What makes you say that?”

Example: “You're overreacting / don't be so sensitive/ don't get so worked up”

Response: “What I feel is real and valid even if what I am assuming/thinking might not be true. I would appreciate it if you can acknowledge this and talk me through why you see things differently.”

Example: “I was just joking!”

Response: “Your joke was in bad taste and hurt my feelings. I value what you have to say and if you say something mean or inconsiderate to me, I have a right to tell you how that affected me.”

Example: “It doesn't mean anything/ there is no pattern”

Response: “You saying that does not change how I view this situation. I am noticing something that is bothering me and I would appreciate if you can work with me to resolve this.”

Example: “I'm worried about you/I think you are not OK”

Response: “Why do you say that?” [the person answers with trivial concerns, points to your emotions, or proceeds with more invalidating responses…] “These reasons don't mean I am not OK. Saying something like this is invalidating and can strain the trust we have for each other.”