Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 256589

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parental invalidation

Posted by Reva on September 3, 2003, at 7:44:40

I'm afraid that parental invalidation can cause their children to lose sight of their goals if they have them, or to fail to form any in the first place. The result is a chaotic mind and soul with depression, exaggerated "happiness" (mania) or more frequently-- both combined, yielding an agitated depression or an urgent desperate anger directed mostly at oneself or misdirected to the nearest irritating target. I also strongly suspect that a literal drop in IQ and learning ability is another disasterous result. It seems that there is no drug to help with any of this in the long run. I don't mean to be negative, only real. I believe the "solution" lies in very carefully structured family therapy, and I suspect that virtually nobody gets this for obvious reasons. I also suspect that the next best "treatment" is for the sufferer is to be willing and able to confront the (hopefully still alive and kicking) invalidators themselves WITHOUT any intervening "therapist". BUT THIS IS SO HARD AND SO FRUSTRATING AND SUCH HIDEOUSLY LONELY WORK, and requires SUCH CAREFUL SELF-EDUCATION AROUND ONE'S OWN PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES, that I'm also convinced the outcome will be hopeless WITHOUT constant outside support and guidance. CAN THIS BULLETIN BOARD PROVIDE THAT?? Any feedback will be more than welcome! OVER...

 

Re: parental invalidation Reva

Posted by fallsfall on September 3, 2003, at 22:22:33

In reply to parental invalidation, posted by Reva on September 3, 2003, at 7:44:40

You bring up interesting questions.

1. What is the effect of invalidation? I think that there is a long continuum, and the effects on one person would not be the same as on another.

2. Family therapy is not likely to happen when the children are still living in the family. If the parents were enlightened enough to get family therapy, they probably wouldn't be invalidating.

3. The only way for a sufferer to recover is to confront the invalidators. I don't believe that this is true. I think that it is ONE of the ways, but not the only way. In my case, my parents loved me and tried to do their best. But due to a psychological issue for one, and workaholicism for the other they couldn't give me what I needed. I can see NO benefit to showing them how they hurt me. They aren't going to change now. It would make me feel awful to hurt them.

4. Confrontation must be done without a therapist. Why do you believe this? How would a therapist's help make the confrontation less useful? I don't understand.

5. Can Babble provide support for a confrontation like this? Babble provides support, but does not provide therapy. There are also types of issues (i.e. someone is suicidal) where local, real live support is essential. My personal opinion is that it would depend on the magnitude of the hurt, and the initial state of the relationship between the parents and child, and all of their personalities. I, personally, would feel better if Babble provided support in addition to a therapist. I would certainly defer to the Babble experts.

 

Re: parental invalidation fallsfall

Posted by Reva on September 4, 2003, at 10:18:53

In reply to Re: parental invalidation Reva, posted by fallsfall on September 3, 2003, at 22:22:33

I am 56 and haven't lived in that house for a long time. We did try family therapy a little bit in the past with bad results to say the least. I wasn't living there then either. The effect of the invalidation is described in my initial offering... I can't wrap by mind, heart and soul around any goals because SO MUCH interferes every time I START doing it. I feel in my gut that the kind of stuff that interferes is the kind of bullying, ignoring, misinterpreting, and/or overcontrolling and basic INVALIDATION I ingested with my steak and potatoes. I ended up feeling that nothing I wanted, thought, believed, dreamed, or questioned was legitimate or valid. I don't think this stuff is that hard to understand. At the same time I kind of, on the sly, educated myself in humanistic psychology, and came to realize that no substitute will ever suffice for a healthy family of origin, and I say while there's life there's hope. It seems that everyone thinks I should give up. But it's the giving up that seals in the craziness. Of course, my need to hang on to this (probably futile) hope may be a bad symptom too.. ie: the pattern is after a good abuse session, I would be given the impression that forgiveness and reconciliation is possible. And then I'd get sucked back "in" again. It just happened for the millionth time a couple of days ago. I wasn't going to ever let them hurt me again and I was never going to give them the opportunity. But now I'm supposed to respond positively to their latest gesture suggesting of "wiping the slate clean". The crisis had been precipitated by their resentment at my forwarding them an article describing a certain international situation from a "leftish" point of view, complete with a sound intelligent call to action. They bristled at the idea that I know more about this situation and consequently cared more. And it opened a floodgate of recriminations from the past, (also related to my attempts to clarify OTHER of their distortions about me..) as if to say, "If you rebel against our success in making you a worthless piece of shit in our eyes, then that alone justifies our contempt for you." But because I've taught myself to become an excellent writer and written communicator, they, (actually my father this time - they alternate in a perfect slow metronomic beat in this regard) after slamming the "door" in my face before the exchange had really closed, decided to open the door again, and again without conceding their wrong- to another round - which will invariably end the same way. So now all is supposed to be forgiven (of me) and now I'm supposed to join them in their next meat-and-potatoes ritual at the end of this month and set myself up for it to happen all over again. (My mother stayed out of this one, but my father will stay out of the next one...they think they're the SAME PERSON!) If I don't go, the same result will ensue. It's so easy to say "just stay away"... But there was a family death/funeral recently. There was another one 5 years ago, which I didn't attend. The next one will probably be one of theirs. Should I stay away from that one? I DON'T WANT TO IMPART THE WRONG MESSAGE - this is what they think I'm trying to do anyway!!!!! I feel I have a sacred right and obligation to spread more love, peace and understanding in the world. I actually used to sneak into people's backyards at three in the morning to comfort some hideously lonely dog that was breaking my heart with its own unhappiness. WE REALLY ARE ALL CONNECTED in powerful, awesome ways. I had an inredible (for anyone else) mystical experience in 1970 in which I discovered all this connection stuff - and it's TRUE, for better or worse. I just really don't know how to break this healing work down into do-able steps with all the idiotic barriers thrown up at me. This is why I joined the bulletin board. Besides, I have no more money OR patience for these charletan shrinks... OVER.....

You bring up interesting questions.
>
> 1. What is the effect of invalidation? I think that there is a long continuum, and the effects on one person would not be the same as on another.
>
> 2. Family therapy is not likely to happen when the children are still living in the family. If the parents were enlightened enough to get family therapy, they probably wouldn't be invalidating.
>
> 3. The only way for a sufferer to recover is to confront the invalidators. I don't believe that this is true. I think that it is ONE of the ways, but not the only way. In my case, my parents loved me and tried to do their best. But due to a psychological issue for one, and workaholicism for the other they couldn't give me what I needed. I can see NO benefit to showing them how they hurt me. They aren't going to change now. It would make me feel awful to hurt them.
>
> 4. Confrontation must be done without a therapist. Why do you believe this? How would a therapist's help make the confrontation less useful? I don't understand.
>
> 5. Can Babble provide support for a confrontation like this? Babble provides support, but does not provide therapy. There are also types of issues (i.e. someone is suicidal) where local, real live support is essential. My personal opinion is that it would depend on the magnitude of the hurt, and the initial state of the relationship between the parents and child, and all of their personalities. I, personally, would feel better if Babble provided support in addition to a therapist. I would certainly defer to the Babble experts.

 

Re: parental invalidation Reva

Posted by fallsfall on September 4, 2003, at 21:52:59

In reply to Re: parental invalidation fallsfall, posted by Reva on September 4, 2003, at 10:18:53

Your family of origin does sound like there are some significant problems. I'm sorry that you had to grow up (and be a grown up) that way.

I guess that I would hope that you would ask yourself two questions:

1. Is there any chance (or is there a reasonable chance), that if I confront my parents and tell them how they have hurt me and continue to hurt me, that my parents will understand, care, and have the skill to change their behavior towards me?

2. If I tell my parents how they have hurt me and continue to hurt me will that make me feel enough better so that if they *don't* change their behavior I will still be better off than I am now?

2.5. If it does make me feel better, then does the guilt I feel over their feelings at hearing what I have to say over shadow my better feelings? In other words, is it worth it?

Since I'm not done with my own work yet, I can't show you that NOT confronting the parents can work, too. But I believe (at least for me) that it can.

I would be interested in hearing about your therapy experiences. It sounds like they weren't very helpful to you.

[As I read this it sounds like gobledygook, but I can't figure out how to fix the sentences. If it makes no sense, please say so and maybe tomorrow my brain will work better]

 

Re: parental invalidation

Posted by Reva on September 5, 2003, at 6:03:01

In reply to Re: parental invalidation Reva, posted by fallsfall on September 4, 2003, at 21:52:59

Good questions. Actually I go much further and better. I tell them exactly what they did and why it hurt me. I ALSO tell them how their perception was distorted and why THAT is hurtful... After telling them, I ALWAYS feel better and I can't imagine they don't, because the (sometimes delayed) immediate effect is so often good. You have to be reminded to ask for forgiveness sometimes and you can't be forgiven without knowing you need to be. And really they are basically good people. I don't suppose this technique would work with basically bad people, if such a thing exists. (It might work even better!) I ALSO sometimes allude to how THEY might have been hurt- to cause the blindnesses that obviously show in their behavior towards me. I don't know enough about this however, so I have to be very careful to do it accurately as possible or (usually) not at all. I am learning more every day, though, after discovering Lloyd DeMause's website and the shocking evidence that virtually ALL children of German origin and most of other European origin, up until the tail end of the 19th century, were gratuitously injured by their parents as a matter of course! All of my grandparents just about fall into either of the above categories. I don't know why the OUTCOME is so different among differing individuals of my generation, (not to speak of other generations of seemingly high functioning people with very flawed parents). Maybe that iron-willed discipline thing really did create some benefits, who knows? And maybe very hurt people can actually achieve MORE on some levels. I never would have become a good writer if there hadn't been an urgent burning need to express myself. But to get either one of them to talk about their family history is like pulling teeth, so consequently I know very little about any of it.
I, by the way, never got married and never had any children although I wish I had some now. I think we'd have a glorious relationship, with what I know today. Of course, with the way the world is going, I'm often exceedingly happy that I DON'T have any, although I'm very lonely around this.... I don't have a whole lot of contact with other people's kids either, or other people, period. Happy people's teenagers set me apart the most and make me feel like a complete and hopeless freak by contrast. But once a happy gifted 3 year old I was babysitting for, drove me to tears of despair and grief, just by virtue of her happiness. The "lost paradise" aspect was so sharp and poignant I quit the job with no explanation after being there twice. This was about 25 years ago and I'm still moved to tears thinking about it today. My mother insists I was a very happy toddler myself. I was not. I hated myself for not talking well enough and being the stupid *** I felt myself to be. Actually that never changed.
I've had numerous therapists in the past, too many to count really, and many who should be arrested for presuming they were. And many more who should have been arrested for taking money they didn't earn and for taking money in exchange for making me worse. The best advice I ever got, as I alluded to above, was to stay away from their table unless I'm physically hungry, and stay away from their emotional influence at all costs, (a very hard piece of advice to fulfill). And not to feel guilty about collecting the disability payments. As far as your warning not to make them feel guilty by confronting them, that doesn't worry me. As I said, I'm getting clear enough to know how to do it rather well.
Actually today was an EXCELLECT day. The latest crisis wrapped itself up yesterday, thanks to my clarity and perseverence, and the euphoria might be temporary, but it sure feels good now. I even said NO for the first time in my life to another chance to pleasantly toxify myself in search of the spiritual relief that I'm managed lately to genuinely achieve(!) You can congratulate me for that if you want...
Thanks for caring, whoever you are. Please keep writing. This interaction is THE BEST!! and I want MORE MORE MORE!!!! Maybe I can help some of you out there. OVER


Your family of origin does sound like there are some significant problems. I'm sorry that you had to grow up (and be a grown up) that way.
>
> I guess that I would hope that you would ask yourself two questions:
>
> 1. Is there any chance (or is there a reasonable chance), that if I confront my parents and tell them how they have hurt me and continue to hurt me, that my parents will understand, care, and have the skill to change their behavior towards me?
>
> 2. If I tell my parents how they have hurt me and continue to hurt me will that make me feel enough better so that if they *don't* change their behavior I will still be better off than I am now?
>
> 2.5. If it does make me feel better, then does the guilt I feel over their feelings at hearing what I have to say over shadow my better feelings? In other words, is it worth it?
>
> Since I'm not done with my own work yet, I can't show you that NOT confronting the parents can work, too. But I believe (at least for me) that it can.
>
> I would be interested in hearing about your therapy experiences. It sounds like they weren't very helpful to you.
>
> [As I read this it sounds like gobledygook, but I can't figure out how to fix the sentences. If it makes no sense, please say so and maybe tomorrow my brain will work better]


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