Consequences of invalidating environments

13-Sep-2020 17:02

Linehan (1993a) talks about people who SI having grown up in "invalidating environments." While an abusive home certainly qualifies as invalidating, so do other, "normal," situations.

She says: An invalidating environment is one in which communication of private experiences is met by erratic, inappropriate, or extreme responses.

Do you steam in silence, act out in passive aggressive ways or become depressed because you fear that anger you are feeling will destroy relationship? People stand in judgment or just don’t understand....

This implies that although childhood trauma contributes heavily to the initiation of self-destructive behavior, lack of secure attachments maintains it. who could not remember feeling special or loved by anyone as children were least able to ...control their self-destructive behavior. note that dissociation and frequency of dissociative experiences appear to be related to the presence of self-injurious behavior.

This invalidation can take many forms: "You're angry but you just won't admit it." "You say no but you mean yes, I know." "You really did do (something you in truth hadn't).

Stop lying." "You're being hypersensitive." "You're just lazy." " "I won't let you manipulate me like that." "Cheer up. You can get over this." "If you'd just look on the bright side and stop being a pessimist..." "You're just not trying hard enough." "I'll give you something to cry about!

" Everyone experiences invalidations like these at some time or another, but for people brought up in invalidating environments, these messages are constantly received.

Parents may mean well but be too uncomfortable with negative emotion to allow their children to express it, and the result is unintentional invalidation.

Van der Kolk, Perry, and Herman (1991) conducted a study of patients who exhibited cutting behavior and suicidality.