Self-Invalidation: Setting the Record Straight


Emotional invalidation: an infamous and infuriating junction between the misunderstood and judgmental where identity-erosion inadvertently emerges as an aversive guest. Although often immediately received as scornful and uncompassionate, invalidation, when executed properly, compensates for its irritable nature with fruits of selflessness and maturity.

Obnoxious as it is unreasonable, rejecting an emotional response as acceptable will almost always leave the recipient feeling gutted and reeling in resentment. Any given action by any given person will always flush out as rational at the present time it was conducted. That is to say, a person’s intentions and reactions are always justified (perhaps even necessitated) to that person. Rejecting a person’s emotional response as invalid is, and always will be, utterly nonsensical to that person given their thought process at the present time of the response.

For example, if I stole a roll of bread from a baker because I was ravenously famished, I acted justly in my mind because to me, my need to survive overrides any anti-theft laws. Bluntly denying my justification is to value anti-theft laws over my own survival, and effectively deprives my own identity and reasoning of any value. Dissonance will then ensue. Denying my justification by explaining the significance of anti-theft laws or other legal means where I could have attained nourishment does not insinuate a sense of self-worthlessness, but simply an oversight on my part. An explanation of oversights or contradictions is imperative to preserve any respectable sense of humanity.

However, bringing oversights or contradictions to light will often at times be returned with resentment. When adding unnoticed and oppositional factors to the conversation, we are inherently placing value on conflicting aspects, and thus lowering the relative value of the person’s own perspective. Resentment typically follows, as a sort of self-erosion occurs due to Copernican move. That is to say, we often go about our lives with us at the center of the universe, but in cases of emotional invalidation we are forced to reconcile with a perspective that places us on peripheral grounds. Due to this relative disvaluing, resentment blooms as what it means to be me is less important than previously perceived.

Although we’d like to retain an opulent self-sense, the identity-erosion that occurs due to invalidation is actually healthy. Aversive as it may be, the wisdom reaped from decentralizing our own perspective is essential to combat against the tyranny of self-absorption. So valuable, in fact, that it would be foolish not to foster a habit of self-invalidation checks. Whenever we begin to feel disdain, contempt, frustration, bitterness, joy, zealousness, pride, etc., we would do ourselves well to at least be open to the idea of rejecting these emotions as justified given an analysis of the context they arise from. The identity-erosion then becomes an identity-refresh. Through self-invalidation and examination, we rift through new measures of unacceptable and acceptable behaviors, moving our own character closer to an ideal self.


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