I’ll give some context by providing the link for the first part: https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/stories/invalidation/
This is my update. I’m going to explain more about the invalidation. It’s still affecting me to this day.
My parents were the ones who invalidated me. I was scared to disclose that the first time I told my story here.
Here’s the back story. I reconnected with one of my guy friends, and we had a great friendship. My parents didn’t like that I was talking to this guy. I was telling him the story of what happened. He was so supportive and sweet about it. My parents found out that I told him, and they were extremely angry.
Here are some of the things they said/did:
*This may be triggering, especially for people who have experienced invalidation.*
– You should be over this by now.
– You wouldn’t be a suitable role model for anyone.
I’m the oldest of all my cousins, so this one hurt.
– How can you major in cognitive science if your own cognition is wrong?
– shaking me by the shoulders and asking “How could you be so stupid?”
– He was just a kid.
My assaulter was 18, and I was 15. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. He was an adult. He knew what he was doing.
– People go through so much worse.
– You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
– They stood over my shoulder, made me text my guy friend, and forced me to take everything back.
They made me minimize what happened, even though it’s still affecting me.
– They said, “Before you tell anyone about this, you have to ask us first.”
It’s irritating because this is my story and I want to tell people on my own terms.
– They told me to pretend that nothing happened with the people I already told.
– This was your fault.
– You’re a zero.
– Did anything you learned in Sunday School help you?
– We’re still going to the place where I see my assaulter every week (my church).
– I told my mom I was feeling uncomfortable with going to that church (because of the assault and other reasons). She said, “At least you’ll be able to get out when you’re married.” If I get married at 25 years old, I’ll have been in that church for ten years after the assault. It’s already been three years.
– You’re only telling this guy because you want sympathy and attention.
– You have no character.
– Should we even trust what you say anymore?
– Is anything getting through to you?
Hearing these things from my parents hurt. I was so numb from shock, then the pain, anger, sadness, and confusion hit me. In the months after they said these words, they said some contradicting statements. For example, they told me I should be over this. A few months after that, they said they were still angry at him. It’s strange because they told me (the person this actually happened to) to be over it…and they’re not. There are more examples of this, but this is the most prominent one. It felt almost like they were being hypocritical. I know they said the invalidating words out of anger, but that doesn’t make them okay.
Last month, I thought about what they said. I realized that they have been invalidating me for a long time.
Here are examples of that:
– Sometimes when I get angry, I start crying. My mom asked, “Why do you guys [my sister and I] cry over everything?”
– not letting us LOOK anything but happy – they get mad at us for that
– insulting us under their breath when something small happens
– Get over it.
– saying we’re overly sensitive/too dramatic
– comparing us to other people (in a subtle way)
– telling us how to feel
– My dad always told us not to talk back. Sometimes I admit that we were not being nice, but he also said this when we disagreed with him.
It’s like we weren’t allowed to have contrasting opinions.
– I heard many of the examples from this website: http://www.eqi.org/invalid.htm#Examples of invalidating expressions.
There are probably more examples that I can’t think of.
Their invalidation has affected me in so many ways. When people even raise their voices (and it’s not directed at me), I get nervous and very uncomfortable. I’m scared to trust people with my emotions because I fear invalidation. I feel weird when I verbally disagree with people. I suppressed my emotions for years. I thought I was a burden to others. I questioned my feelings. Seeing my assaulter has been exhausting.
I stopped texting that guy friend after a while. I knew that if we kept talking, I would be met with more invalidation. It’s terrible because I miss him so much, and I didn’t even get to explain what happened (the invalidation). He was a great friend, and he was the person who made me realize that bottling my emotions was unhealthy. He taught me a lot, and I will forever be grateful for that.
I’m sorry if this is too long winded and ridiculous. I’ve been struggling with this for months, and I feel emotionally exhausted right now. I really don’t want to hold this grudge against my parents, but it’s been hard to deal with all of this.