Is Invalidation Being Used On You?

Being in a toxic emotional relationship can feel like an emotional roller coaster ride.  It can make you feel disempowered in all areas of your life. It can throw your life off course and make you feel like you are no longer in the driver seat.   

Emotionally toxic relationships are more common than people may realize and you may not even know they are in one. If someone is purposely trying to sabotage your self-esteem and self-confidence it can be very damaging to a person’s self-worth. 


There are many ways in which a toxic person can try to manipulate you.  One of those tactics is called invalidation. It involves someone mocking, shaming, minimizing, discrediting, criticizing or discounting another person’s feelings. 

As a result, these manipulators are trying to lead the other person to believe that their feelings are not justified in any way, shape, or form.  In a nutshell, their feelings don’t matter.

Invalidation is a form of emotional abuse can be very damaging to a person’s psyche.  If humans don’t feel validated, over the long term, it can cause psychological harm and can make them even think they are going crazy. They start to not trust themselves or their sense of reality. 


Your friends, siblings, parents, boss, co-workers etc. can invalidate you. Some people may be jealous of you or resent you for some reason or another. However, just because someone invalidates you, it doesn’t mean that they are abusive. 

Some people may not be out to hurt you intentionally.  For instance, not everyone can feel empathy and they just don’t understand what you are going through or they don’t know what to say. People may not even realize they are doing it. 

A wise person once told me that people can’t give you what they don’t have. 

However, invalidation from a toxic person is meant to make you question yourself.  When toxic people invalidate you, they want you feel as though they don’t really care about you as a person. These types of people certainly don’t have your best interests at heart. 

This is like the domino affect. Firstly, the manipulator is trying to knock you off kilter and tear you down. If they are successful in that, it will keep the ball rolling and you will, in turn, not trust yourself or your feelings.  It can be very unsettling and cause you to doubt yourself and your intuition.  You may feel as if something isn’t quite right in the relationship, but you’re not sure what it is.


  • You shouldn’t feel that way.
  • I never said that.
  • Let it go.
  • You are being overly sensitive.
  • You’re being ridiculous.
  • It was just a joke.
  • I’m sure she didn’t mean to offend you.
  • Don’t take it so personally.
  • Sarcasm shouldn’t upset you.
  • You don’t need to be so mad about this.
  • You’re reading me wrong.
  • I doubt you are that sick.
  • You shouldn’t be afraid of…it’s not that scary.
  • You take things way too seriously.
  • Most people don’t feel that way.


Invalidation interferes with a person’s emotional needs. If these needs are not being met, it can affect our self-love and self-confidence. Every person deserves the right to be listened to, understood, and acknowledged in life. 

Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?

How are people in your inner or social circle responding to your feelings? Are they there to support and nurture or tear you down? If they are there to tear you down and try to control your feelings, this is a good indicator that they are toxic.

There is an old saying, “You never know who your friends are until some bad happens”; this also includes spouses, siblings, parents, etc.  The people you think would be there for you in times of crisis and need may not be.  Invalidators may tell you that they really don’t understand why you are making such a big deal out of what you’re going through and completely ignore your feelings. 

For Instance, they might say things like, “Well I have been through worse” or “I don’t think it’s as bad as you are making it out to be”; Say it with me, INVALIDATION!  Please cover your ears and say, “la la la la” and ignore what they are telling you.  You may be saying to yourself, “Maybe what I’m going through isn’t that bad”.  If you are feeling upset about something, than that is how you feel. Never doubt your feelings just because someone else says otherwise.

People want to feel loved, respected, appreciated, supported and safe in their relationships.  It’s best not to wait to find out who will be there for you when you are in the moment. Rather, try to determine which people deserve to be in your life, and which do not. Sometimes it can be a hard wakeup call.

Never underestimate your own feelings.  It doesn’t matter what other people think.  You are the expert on yourself and only you know what you are going through.

Do You Feel Validated In Your Relationships?

Invalidation is my biggest pet peeve.  No one has the right to control how you.  You feel the way you do because that is how you feel.  Humans have the right to have emotions and feel sad or have a bad day or be emotional because of something traumatic they may be going through. 

If this is something that you have dealt with, and people don’t acknowledge your feelings or tell you that it’s not that bad, it’s time to really take a good look at that relationship.  People who say those things don’t respect you and may not really care about you. 

Many toxic relationships have this aspect of Invalidation.  They don’t respect what you have to say and are probably doing other manipulative tactics as well.  If you are hearing the invalidating statements that I mention above, those are red flags that you need to be paying attention to. 

Again, not all invalidation is toxic.  However, if you happen to mention to the person that this is not sitting well with you and they continue to do it, then I would take that as a warning that this person is probably toxic. It is best to keep your distance, if possible. 

I am not a doctor or a therapist and cannot advise anyone to leave a relationship.  Leaving my toxic relationships has been the best thing for me, as well as some of my clients.  Every situation is different and needs to be treated as such.

We all deserve to be loved and respected in our relationships no matter what. I hope this has shed some light for you. 

If you are in a dangerous relationship, please contact your local domestic violence service office and/or the domestic violence hotline in your area or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). Above all please be safe!


Christine Newsome, CPC, CLC


All Rights Reserved.

Posted in



  1. L Grant on March 31, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Great article! Really helpful to have examples of invalidating statements.