6 Lasting Effects of Family Invalidation
There are people who are incapable of making their own decisions or setting goals for themselves. This can be a direct result of family invalidation.
Family invalidation is common in a lot of families and it’s usually unintentional. It’s a process where family members suffer rejection, manipulation, and psychological abuse.
In many cases, family invalidation manifests in the form of a passive aggressive relationship. Since invalidation comes from an authority figure, the person that isn’t in control succumbs to the abuse.
What are the consequences of family invalidation?
- Loss of identity: An adult who was invalidated from childhood doesn’t know how to behave. This includes having control over their emotions. Typically, they have trouble fitting in with society, and they cannot plan their own future.
- Emotional inhibitions: The most common way families invalidate their children is by downplaying the child’s emotions. One example might be of a child who is told to stop crying by his or her parent because the reason for being upset isn’t justifiable.
In the future, these children learn to hide their emotions instead of learning to control them. They ultimately grow up to become adults who hide their feelings because, “they’re not important.”
In many cases, this results in inappropriate outbursts that can potentially become unsafe.
- Inability to relate to others: Isolation is one of the many consequences of family invalidation. Once self-confidence is lost, socializing becomes very difficult. As a result, these children grow up to be unstable or recluse.
- Invalidation can also cause children to become dependent. In the long run, this causes them to stay in toxic relationships as adults. They believe they deserve any bad treatment they receive and won’t be able to find someone better.
- Excessive self-criticism: People who were invalidated as children tend to criticize themselves harshly. They’re never satisfied with themselves and will often display high levels of frustration, fear, and self-limiting thoughts and behaviors.
Guilt is also another factor that plays into their moods and behaviors. Regardless of the situation and whether the consequences are good or bad, they may react impulsively.
- Potential abuser: Invalidated children may also become the abuser in their adult relationships. When they’re never validated, it’s common for them to repeat the cycle of abuse with others.
Bullying is another form of family invalidation
Contrary to popular belief, bullying doesn’t only take place in schools and playgrounds. Bullying can also take place at home in the form of psychological abuse.
On many occasions, parents routinely criticize their children as a way of reprimanding them or as a form of correcting unwanted behavior.
Criticizing your children won’t always achieve the desired behavior. On the contrary, this very well may only reinforce the negative behavior.
Once again, it’s important to note that positive reinforcement is a much more effective parenting technique than threatening or punishing.
For example, this behavior is very common among children who are obese. Parents might use derogatory terms or tease children to make them conscious of their weight. This is how parents inadvertently become bullies, causing them to invalidate their child’s feelings.
“Family invalidation is common within families who don’t do it intentionally”
Regaining Validation as an Adult
Reversing the effects of family invalidation is a lengthy process. It will take time. However, it’s possible to liberate the adult from the traumatic and lasting effects of what they experienced during their childhood.
- The first step is to forgive their parents. Most likely, their parents were also victims of family invalidation. Since it frequently happens unintentionally, this vicious cycle is repeated over and over.
- The second step is to reinforce self-love and positive affirmations in order for the individual to have control over their emotions. The person should work on smaller, short-term goals rather than long-term ones. Each step should be positively reinforced through encouragement and support. This will help to curb the level of frustration and insecurities.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Core Topics. (n.d.). Invalidation. http://www.core.eqi.org/invalid.htm