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Author Topic: 1.13 | Validation - common tips and traps  (Read 17120 times)
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« on: January 07, 2013, 09:38:12 PM »

Validation - common tips and traps
 
Validation of feelings is vital to connecting with others ad an important tool taught at bpdfamily. The mutual validation of feelings is important in all phases of relationship; including building, maintaining, repairing, and improving them. So what happens when this dynamic breaks down.  One family member has very high validation needs, or one member is invalidating, or both have high validation needs, or both are invalidating?

The fact is that problems in the family are often a result of what individuals do with invalidated feelings.
Often, unidentified or unrecognized and invalidated feelings are at the heart of relationship issues and problems. Understanding the fate of invalidated feeling/experience is eye opening and can be an significant motivator to investing in validation.  

Two extreme ways to deal with invalidation are:
  • Dissociation - keep it out-of-awareness, not a part of not-me, hidden.
  • Projection - get rid of it, discard it, put it onto someone else, project it on them.  

To make matters worse,  hiding (dissociating) or getting rid of (projecting) feelings is often not the last of it. Invalidated feelings have a way of coming back to haunt the relationship over and over. This is not an issue unique to BPD - this happens in all types of relationship - and we feel and do it, too.
 
So what should we do?  
 
The simple answer is become more empathetic and less invalidating - and recognize that this is not a simple "your room looks clean today".  

Even though we know that listening carefully is important in relationships - it can be very difficult to recognize when we aren't succeeding at it. We are often more aware of not being listened to (heard) than of our own shortfalls of empathy and of not listening to our partner.  We may be reacting and resentful ourselves to a lack of being validated.  Self-awareness is key.
 
People with BPD traits have high validation needs - often very high. People with BPD traits are also very erratic in their validation of others - they can be extremely validating (over validating) and flip over and become very invalidating -  sometimes resentful of the validation that is being sought or that they previously expressed.  And pwBPD can get extreme in the use of dissociation and projection.
 
As parents. we often have our own "above average" validation needs.  Let's face it, tendencies and traits run throughout a "BPD family", we often have validation needs ourselves.   As a result, when we don't get what we feel we need, we often process in unhealthy ways too.  
 
In a "BPD family" there are going to be validation issues.  As the healthier family member, it falls to us to try to achieve some level of working validation in the relationship - to lead.
 
  • That often means that we need to be very conscious of the pwBPD's high validation needs and try to provide for them in a healthy and constructive way

  • It also often means that if we have reacted in unhealthy ways to feeling invalidated by the pwBPD, we need to fix ourselves (the pwBPD isn't going to fix us) and we need to disengage a bit from the push/pull validation habits common to pwBPD

 Bullet: important point (click to insert in post) So lets share the validation tips and traps we have learned from experience.
 
Thanks for participating!
 

Please read this site article, if you haven't already:
Communication Skills - Don't Be Invalidating
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 01:00:43 PM »

This is an excellent reference for the validation workshop.
 
Understanding Validation in Families [Video]
Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD    51 min., 53 sec.    Oct-2008

Click on graphic to play
 
Here is an excellent chance to learn validation from a renowned specialist in the field of BPD and DBT.  The video is 51 min, so get comfortable and open your mind and your heart to the power of validation. Alan Fruzzetti PhD was one of the principle architects of the NEA-BPD Family Connections program. This video (and many others) can be found at NEA BPD website.
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 09:53:52 PM »

We often have our own "above average" validation needs.  Let's face it, in a "BPD family, we often have above average needs for validation ourselves.   As a result, we often have our own struggles when we don't get what we feel we need and we then process it in unhealthy ways too.  It's human nature all around.

True, I love to be validated after a long frustrating day at work, and have my nonBP husband tell me:

"Oh, you had such a hard day, come here, you need a   ". Makes my nonBP day, every time!

We need it too.
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 11:23:00 PM »

Absolutely! I am trying to make it apart of me practicing it everywhere - It has made a very big difference and I know its helping dd15 & ds11 even ds4 is picking it up.
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 03:49:42 PM »

Just a note to say my husband and I just picked ud17 up from Second Nature/Blue Ridge wilderness program, and all the hard work we've ALL being doing these last 10 weeks paid off.

The Lundbergs's book on validation, I Don't Have To Make Everything All Better , referred to many times on this website, was my airplane reading.

Worked like a CHARM! I could see my daughter open up and begin to trust me as I showed her I respected and accepted her feelings as valid and real. I stayed curious, asked questions, and spoke of my feelings and thoughts only when I felt we were simpatico/in connection. It was amazing! We had the best fireside/moonlight talk -- one of the best times of my life.

As we neared the RTC where we dropped her off yesterday, ud17 got more and more closed off and quiet. I validated like crazy, hugged her a ton, and let her have her feelings without trying to convince or fix her. Because we'd had such great connection the day before, she seemed to believe I was okay with her pain and didn't have to try to manage it. It was really hard, but I "stayed in my own space." At one point she was really back to old, unengaged behavior, sitting stoically and looking miserable. I simply said, "I really want to support you. Is there anything I can do?" She shook her head no, cried a little bit, but did seem -- as the Lundbergs and others' work promised she would -- to find a little strength in herself with which to move forward.

Gosh, it all felt SO good! I'm a soggy marshmallow of gratitude.

I do want to add that she was primed for this shift in me, because she'd been practicing identifying and (respectfully) conveying her feelings:

"I feel _____ because I believe _____. My snapshot [objective example] of this, or when I feel this is _____. Here's what I'm hoping for things inside my control_____hit. Here's what I'm hoping for things outside my control." For example, "I feel sad and scared because I believe it would be better for me to come home instead of go to an aftercare program. I felt this way when you said I would like my new school. My hope for myself is that I can speak respectfully to you about my worries. My hope for you is that you are able to listen patiently to what I say."

She was great at it, and we practiced reflecting back what she had to say. She'd correct us if we were wrong and remind us of things we'd forgotten. Then we gave our own feelings statements (and she reflected back). How much easier it was to discuss tough, emotionally charged issues!


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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 11:16:55 PM »

Thank you for sharing this it is very encouraging to someone just starting this journey. I see I need to get some reading materials  hope the library has it!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 09:31:22 AM »

Awesome! I am planning on working on this!
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 08:30:02 AM »

That video is a MUST!  It is one of the most helpful. But to keep it all fresh in my mind, I already see that I will need to view it again ever so often. (Till I have it memorized! Lol). I hope more find this valuable tool. Validation is by far the easiest way to keep thing stable. So happy to hear about your success with this approach!  Thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 10:18:54 PM »

As Skip pointed out,  we all need validation. People with BPD just need more validation than others. Validation is not an easy concept to master, as it goes beyond saying “I understand”.  In truth very few of us really “understand” what another person is feeling. When it comes to the extreme emotional reactions of a person with BPD traits, saying “I understand” when we truly don’t is invalidating.    

According to Shari Y. Manning, PhD in Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, validation needs to occurs on several levels.  She tells us: One of the most basic human needs after food and shelter is the need to feel like you belong and to feel understood.

Validation is an important tool that has the power to really transform and improve relationships.  It does this by providing acceptance, understanding, and empathy. When a relationships break down, typically there is a lack of validation (understanding) going on and lots of invalidation happening. When this happens it is difficult, if not impossible for communication to happen. It is pretty easy to validate someone who is not upset and pleasing you. Validating a person who is emotionally upset (dysregulated) is a skill.

To help with visualizing how to properly use validation, Marsha Linehan, PhD (the developer of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) has broken validation down into its key components.

Stay Awake

At its most basic, all you really have to do is listen and nod.

Staying awake requires you to pay attention and ask objective, probing questions - basically that you demonstrate that you're paying attention to the person who is talking. Lean forward, nod your head, ask questions, and show you are paying attention.

Warning: It's critical not to be judgmental about what the person is saying to you. Judgements are forms of criticism, that you view something as "wrong" or "bad". A pwBPD can often see the changes in our faces when we have judgmental thoughts. To avoid judgements you need to pay complete attention to what they are saying. It's called being mindful. Pay attention to facts to help prevent you from forming an opinion or evaluating (judging).


Accurate Reflection

Accurate reflection requires you to communicate that you've heard the person accurately. This can be done by repeating what the person said, though it can be better to paraphrase so you don't sound like a parrot. This communicates to the person that what he is experiencing is universal enough for you "to get it", a critical part since most pwBPD feel so misunderstood by others. It shows that you are listening to what they are saying.

Stating the Unarticulated

This is a form of mind reading. It requires you to create a hypothesis about what you believe the person is "not" telling you. The emotions driving a persons words or actions.  The hidden message.

You do this by asking a question, essentially guessing if "blank" is accurate.

Example: This works especially when the person is dysregulated and not expressing themselves clearly. You have to be willing to be wrong though, which shows that you haven't quite got it yet, so then ask more questions to reach understanding.


Validating in Terms of Personal History or Biology

We are what's happened in our lives. On some level, based on our history, our actions make sense. If you ever lived through a tornado, you would have a higher response to the warning sirens than others, based on your history. Letting a person know that their behavior makes sense based on their past experiences shows understanding.

Our physical problems also impact (thus explain) how we behave. A person who has a bad back has difficulty sitting for long periods of time. Making reference to their limitations shows understanding and empathy.


Normalizing

One of the most important levels is to communicate that others (those without BPD) would have the same response. People with BPD have the ongoing experience of being different - outsiders in their own worlds. When you normalize  what they are feeling you find a way to communicate that what is going on for the pwBPD is the experience of being human, that anyone in the same situation would feel the same way. This is powerful. Some key phrases that can be used are:

"We all have moments when we feel that way"

"Of course you think that: anyone would in your situation"

"I would feel that way too"

"You know that is such a normal reaction"

"It makes sense that you did that. We all have those moments"


Of course, there are some things you can't normalize, such as suicidal behavior. Don't normalize behavior that is not normal - that's validating the invalid.

Radical Genuineness

The key to all validation is to be genuine. To be radically genuine is to ensure that you don't "fragilize", condescend, or talk down to the person you are trying to validate. You don't want to treat them any differently than you would anyone else in a similar situation. They aren't fragile, and to treat them as such can be seen as condescending.
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2013, 07:09:07 PM »

Thank you all for the explanation and book suggestions!  I really appreciate it!

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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 07:51:46 PM »

Basically, as I understand the subject, it means we AFFIRM our child's FEELINGS. It doesn't really matter if we agree with their perception of reality or not. (My h had a hard time understanding this at first, and I see on this website that men sometimes have a harder time with the concept). So, the most helpful was an example in one of the books.

I don't remember the particulars, but the concept basically went something like this: your child comes home from school and says "I messed up today on my test. I am such an idiot!".

Obviously, you don't want to tell them "I know, I agree, you're an idiot." That would be what they call "validating the invalid" = meaning affirming something that is not true.

However, if you start arguing with them and say "that's not true, of course you are smart!" that sounds INVALIDATING to them at the moment.

So, what do you say?  

VALIDATE (=affirm) their FEELINGS, NOT the SITUATION. Like "It must be so disappointing to feel like you have failed".

There is also a great book out there called "Boundaries" by H. Cloud and J. Townsend, and it talks about the other side of our issues with pwBPD. It has a lot to say about child development and maturing when it comes to healthy boundaries and structure in our lives and lives of our loved ones. I would highly recommend that book to anyone, especially anyone with children. The sooner, the better.

The title might sound harsh, but the content is anything but. It is a very gentle book on how to actually empower our children to become healthier and more self-confident through creating appropriate structure.
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 09:47:54 AM »

Interesting read this topic.

I wish I had found this site before. Could have helped me (us?) when we were together.

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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2013, 11:51:33 AM »

Validation is easy, right?  It's our emotions and baggage that make it hard- right?  I think it will be helpful to look at the "Tips" and "Traps" for communicating with validation.

TRAP: I see the problem I have when I don't see validation "working"... . I am not letting go of the outcome... . I have a hidden agenda.

If I go through the video in this thread from Alan Fruzzetti or look at the 5 steps from Loving a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder by Shari Manning, or my copy of Lundberg's book, it helps me identify what my hidden agenda's or traps are that I fall into.  I can then make the changes I need to make so that I can use the skill of validation beneficially for my daughter/relationship with my daughter.

I would be interested to learn what concepts or steps in this list others identify with?

What traps do you engage in and what do you need to change in your belief/thinking and actions?
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2013, 08:51:06 AM »

What traps do you engage in and what do you need to change in your belief/thinking and actions?

For me it were the following traps during my r/s:

1.   Do not criticise, judge or blame: especially when things didn't work out I would criticise and blame my stb.

5.   Do not try to fix or solve your loved one’s problems: I really tried this, again and again. Back then I really thought I could be a big help healing her. Looking back... .  

7.   Do not respond with logic: This one was and is my biggest trap: 1+1 = 2. Not 2.5 and not 1.5, it's just 2. Kinda black-and-white-thinking I pressume, but it was a big problem in my r/s. After our separation I have talked a lot about this and I feel I can let go of the logic and make room for feelings.

8.   Do not respond with anger: Well, if things seem hopeless and no logic reasoning will help, the anger started.

9.   Do not personalise: Oh yes, I did personalise. I always thought her bad behaviour was about me. And allthough it was (and is) pointed at me, I now understand it isn't and wasn't about me, but about her and her illness. It still hurts, but in a different way.

10.   Do not focus on being ‘right’: Seems to be connected with 7. If logic reasoning gives a certain outcome, I must be right. If I'm right I do not want to be told that I'm not right, so the argument continues. Again: looking back things seem a lot clearer (mostly thanks to this boards).

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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2013, 12:20:03 PM »

TRAP: I see the problem I have when I don't see validation "working"... . I am not letting go of the outcome... . I have a hidden agenda.

That's a big one for me. I have to put myself in the mindset of "I'm just talking to a friend here" before I try to validate, or else I find I move too easily into advice. I wouldn't try to control a friend's outcomes/life/decisions, and I *know* better than to try to control my (ud18) daughter's. Also, I have to realize that validation is a gift, but that the recipient might not want it. Sometimes my daughter can't hear validating, for whatever reason. Sometimes she needs to sit with it and not respond.

Always, that slippery slope beckons, and it's way too easy to fall into the trap of I-say-this-then-this-will-happen. So I validate and then shut up. :-)  As I heard at Al-Anon this morning: Wait - why am I talking?

The cool thing is that my daughter now recognizes validation as something she enjoys, especially from her therapist, but also from us. So she's more likely to hear it, even if I sort of mess up.  
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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2013, 12:05:41 AM »

A Trap for me when I not taking care of my own needs very well. Tired, stressed, thinking I can somehow make DD27's life easier or better or her accepting treatment (ie. living in fantasy)... . I either avoid interaction as much as possible, or get overinvolved in trying to logically fix things so DD is in less pain.

Yet, there are times when I can be in a very validating place with her -- when she is able to take it in, to be responsive and seemingly self-aware. ie. she is giving me back some validation.  Then later, even in the same day, she is in emotional place, reactive, not aware -- and I lose touch with all these wonderful tools.

Sends me back to what is my problem to solve - what needs I have to satisfy - before I can be sincerely there for her? Or does she have to be in a place to take in, receive. Or am I stuck in some foggy weather right now? Or is she in such a distressed place with our enforcing boundaries to protect our household that even using validating responses cannot bring her escalation down. And I get into a fearful mode -- this shuts down my ability to be present and engaged.  It even impacts my ability to be engaged and present with others less volatile in my life -- dh, gd7, co-workers, friends. Though these r/s are better since DD is no longer in our home. I am taking better care of myself.

Want to get back to a validating, mindful place. I am working on this.

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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2013, 08:39:21 PM »

I think this is one the most helpful posts on this board... . I am going to print out some of the posts to keep as a cheat sheet.

That being said if you are reading this then you are still research for a better way and trying to educate yourself and that is the best advise I can give anyone. My dd15 has had a pretty rough year and I really don't know how any of us got through it BUT we did. I think realizing that there will be bad days and enjoying the good when it comes it the best way to proceed. Don't be hard on yourself... . you are doing the best you can. No ones life is prefect. Every family have issues to deal with. Having a pwBPD in your life is not always easy but I try to see the good and the positive. Try to except and not expect the impossible. The more I learn the better things get... . I can only change myself so that is where I have started.
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2013, 09:22:25 PM »

If I go through the video in this thread from Alan Fruzzetti or look at the 5 steps from Loving a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder by Shari Manning, or my copy of Lundberg's book, it helps me identify what my hidden agenda's or traps are that I fall into.  I can then make the changes I need to make so that I can use the skill of validation beneficially for my daughter/relationship with my daughter.

I would be interested to learn what concepts or steps in this list others identify with?

What traps do you engage in and what do you need to change in your belief/thinking and actions?

I watched the Fruzzetti video - really gave me a good model of benefits of validation, when it works, that it is reaearch supported as working whether pwBPD is in treatment or not, and there is no blame on either party for being invaladiting.  His model focused on arousal level of both parties and how they interact. Interesting that Arousal can be triggered, or made worse, by and event, vulnerablity (temperament or baseline emotional level) and self-judgement. All three can be interacting in situation as well.

My biggest trap is feeling afraid - of DD's intensity and potential violence, of harm to r/s with gd8, of the intensity of my own feelings and struggle maintaining control. I forget to listen, listen, listen and understand (Lundberg book).

What helps stop this very invalidating exchange? time out, talking to T (though sometimes they empathize and heigthen my over arouasal - I can see this after watching the video), going back and trying again when my arousal level is down so I can listen (not avoiding - a bad pattern I have). And this only works if the vulnerability part is manageable (tiredness, hunger, other stresses, etc.).

This review has been really helpful for me tonight. And also to remember I only can control myself, I can have an impact on another's response, epectations of a specific outcome freezes me -- mindfulnes and radical acceptance practices need to happen for me everyday. Why do I avoid them so often?

qcr
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2013, 05:18:52 AM »

I also listened to Fruzzetti... . and wrote it out what he has to say is a real challenge to us. He explains to us so clearly why we are so important to the recovery of our children. It's too much to write out here, but check this little bit out:

If arousal is high, then your ability to express yourself is low. You are less likely to connect with the world. So, in these situations, you are more likely to be invalidated. Conversely, if the other person doesn’t express themselves accurately, it is easy to be invalidating towards them.

This is clumsy writing by me, but this is the idea... . If my dd is 'aroused' her ability to express herself is really low, this leads to a poor connection with 'reality'. When she is like this, it is really hard for me to validate her because it is harder to see what she is saying let alone accept what she is saying. So, this means I am less able to accurately say what I think I should, because I am uncertain about what is happening and in all likelihood my buttons are being pressed and try as much as I do, I feel I can't say anything right. This is a vicious circle of invalidation. Throw in being tired, or having a hidden agenda... . bombs away ... .

Learning to be validating is more than just learning how to say the right thing. It is about completely changing how we have learnt to think, I think. We need to embody validation, I believe. Change our neural pathways etc etc. And this is not easy to do.

Vivek  
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2013, 10:58:18 PM »

This reply is to #13 - the Traps:

I think that for me the biggest one is trying to use logic after I have 'applied a dose of validation'.

Sort of trying to use the tool of validating as a 'magic wand' to bringing the person back to 'normal' and then relating to them as I would have in the past.

It might be because I, as a problem solver, feel responsible for the outcome - so it is not easy to let go of it.

I think that validation is more of a relational style rather than just an antiseptic tool. And that takes a while to grasp, learn and then practice.
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2013, 11:20:06 PM »

I think that validation is more of a relational style rather than just an antiseptic tool. And that takes a while to grasp, learn and then practice.

It is really unlearning how to be conncected with another person, and learning a new way. Takes repetition to build the brain to do this as the 'normal' without having to think about it.

qcr
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« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2013, 04:59:03 PM »

I think that validation is more of a relational style rather than just an antiseptic tool. And that takes a while to grasp, learn and then practice.

It is really unlearning how to be conncected with another person, and learning a new way. Takes repetition to build the brain to do this as the 'normal' without having to think about it.

qcr

I think I had a bit of a revelation today about validation, that seems to be echoed by what the 2 of you are also realizing... . Maybe validation isn't always shown by using words and techniques, etc. Actually, I started thinking about this after something Vivek ananda said in my thread about Needing to Remember to Constantly Validate; she asked if maybe I'd been validating my son in the car by my body language (or something like that; that is how I interpreted it relating to our situation). Anyhow, I've been pondering this since she asked me that, and today I think I saw it happen again... .

My son has a very good friend (an ex-girlfriend, a good kid who is a non and doesn't do drugs or anything wrong; someone I wish he would hang out with more). This friend had asked him earlier in the week if he wanted her to pick him up and bring him to her place where she was cleaning out an attic or something. She was going to let him have whatever art supplies were there. He said he'd like to do that, but then Friday when she left a message to coordinate the "date" with her, he never returned the call. I did mention it to him in a positive way, but didn't press it after he said he'd "take of it."

Well, today, he never did call her and the "date" didn't happen. Take my word for it, I do believe it would have been a GREAT thing for him to have done--he needs to get out of the house for something other than his many Dr./T appointments. And since he's an artist who also--I believe!--needs to get back into his art, I REALLY wanted this "date" to happen. Plus I absolutely love the girl   But, I haven't said anything about it and have just let it go. In the past I would have kind of given little hints or bits of motivating statements to try to make such an event happen, but this weekend I did not. If for some reason he didn't want to make this happen, then that is that. It is his life, and I have to let him live it the way he's trying to navigate it at this time.

Take my word for it, it is hard for me to just let this opportunity for him slip through his fingers because--what? He's too tired? Too unmotivated to get out of the house and help her? Or... . maybe the getting of the art supplies implies that he will get back into his art and he's not ready for that? Or... . his self-esteem is just not at the place yet where he sees himself as the artist he really is? He doesn't want to spend the day with her because they are not BF & GF anymore and that is too hard for him? Who knows. But, today I realized that it is none of my business, and I had to validate his decision to not follow through by leaving him alone about it and just by going on with my life in a relaxed mood.

Win for him, win for me, win for my Husband who I got to spend the day with in a happy place. And, I'm just wondering... . Is this all a type of validation, too? I haven't watched that video yet, so maybe it is in there, but I came to this revelation and put it into action today. And it felt good  
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« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2013, 12:33:17 AM »

I can see the definition of validation can be flexible enough to see it occur in many ways. If someone expects us to 'interfere' and we don't, well yes I can see that can be validating for them.

You know, in this quest to make validation a default position for me, I have had to look closely at my personality traits. While I have some good ones, there are others that are not so helpful, especially if I want to have a relationship with my dd. Like you Pessi-O, I am a big time problem solver... . but when you mix this with a dose of being judgemental... . it is a real challenge to overcome. That's my current challenge.

For me there is this urge, like an itch, to fix problems - which involves making a judgement, that means it is 'all about me' and not about the other person at all. This 'itch' to make everything all better (thank you Lundbergs  is my downfall and leads me to being judgemental. So, being validating means to 'let go of ego' doesn't it? It is a practice that leads us to mindfulness, isn't it?

Do you think being judgemental is a trap? Any handy tools or mantras to help with that?

Vivek

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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 11:59:37 AM »

Do you think being judgemental is a trap? Any handy tools or mantras to help with that?

Vivek  

I agree with you that being judgmental is a trap that lures us into not only trying to "fix" someone else (and I am also, by nature, a big fixer), but also to see things as needing to be the way WE want it   At least that's the way I do it  

I do have a mantra that I use when I find myself wanting to control the outcome of what is happening (and that can be with any one of the people I love!). I tell myself that "all human beings are jerks; and that includes ME, too!"  It might sound judgmental in itself but it's not--to me, anyway! It just gives me the freedom to let other people be themselves, make their own mistakes and have their own ideas, opinions, ways of dealing with things. Because everyone is fallible, including me. And in my own infallibility, sometimes it's harder for me to be that uncontrolling than others.
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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2013, 02:25:34 PM »

Being judgemental -- yes this is a big trap. And most especially when I 'think' that I am being helpful, not judgmental. Is this really a way of getting my own needs met while justifying the methods as meeting someone else's needs? This really looks very maninpulative from this perspective. I struggle with this always under the surface.

Working to be mindful during my day, I have a greater awareness of this. I am still judgemental too often, but am more aware of it and often can make repairs in a r/s. Harder to do repairs with DD, easier with dh and gd. A very strong pattern to change. Biting my tongue more often - stopping to rethink - sometimes staying quiet - sometimes making a different comment - always trying to pay attention to signs of response. Did the other person take this as judgemental or validating?

Gd's face is so easy to read - she has great 'grandma looks'. I try to let her know I see a look, ask her if she has any words share about it, if she needs something from me, or if she wants to think about it. The offer her a hug. The hugging part seems to working for both of us to move on.

New struggle is DD arrested today for harassment of bfM a week ago. Since bf/gf domestic violence a part of charge and arrest is required. Police officer told her yesterday she needed to come talk with him - he did not mention it was to be arrested. I had talked with this officer a week ago on DD "great meltdown day". Yes, she was capable of grabbing him or hitting him that day. DD just called, and I told her she is a strong person and can endure whatever comes. She said "I know you wanted to drop me off here" then her call time was up. This was her free jail call. I did not say anything about bailing her out - think she is where she needs to be until her probation revokation hearing on DWAI July 12. The time may count toward that charge as well. Let her public defender know she is in jail - told dd this as well.

So am I being judgemental here with DD? Or is this letting the natural consequences of her craziness last week sit on her?

qcr
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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2013, 06:50:35 PM »

I was thinking about the difference between enabling and supporting and how our boundaries have to be values based. Maybe there is an answer is revisiting that.

Fruzzetti says it is important not to validate the invalid... . and of course in theory that makes sense, it is trying to clear the way through the FOG to what it means in reality that is hard. If she is trying to 'manipulate' your emotions, your guilt etc, then that is invalid, isn't it? Therefore it shouldn't be given credence... . yes it is possible to say, I see you are hurting, etc - that is validating her emotion, how she feels.

Your beautiful dd is an adult, responsible for the consequences of her actions. She has always been able to reach out to you for support, but has declined to accept that which would make her healthy. You cannot protect her from the consequences of her actions - she is causing harm to herself with her at risk behaviours.  

Fruzzetti also says that it is validating to normalise the normal parts of what is said. That sometimes a conversation has parts that are reasonable or normal and parts that are not quite so. It is important to respond to the normal parts.

Our dilemma as parents is in our desire to protect our children compared with our responsibility to allow them to be independent, responsible adults.  This can be a fine line at times. Given the nature of BPD it is especially important that we allow our children to learn from the consequences of the behaviours and support them in their hurt and be there for them when they can accept our support. Bottom line is they need treatment, isn't it?

This all sounds harsh, but it's the reality isn't it?

Vivek
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« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2013, 11:20:25 AM »

Being judgemental -- yes this is a big trap. And most especially when I 'think' that I am being helpful, not judgmental. Is this really a way of getting my own needs met while justifying the methods as meeting someone else's needs? This really looks very maninpulative from this perspective. I struggle with this always under the surface.

To be authentically validating is rooted in the motivation.  When our motivation is to understand and let them know we are giving them our full attention it is not about our needs... . it is about theirs.  It is a GIFT!  No strings attached.  

It is not in our own best interest to depend on our BPD children to meet our needs.  It is in our own best interest to get our needs met in other ways.  Remember ... . Validation begins with self.  

What do you need to do to be in a place to validate others?
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« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2013, 04:58:39 PM »

Being judgemental -- yes this is a big trap. And most especially when I 'think' that I am being helpful, not judgmental. Is this really a way of getting my own needs met while justifying the methods as meeting someone else's needs? This really looks very maninpulative from this perspective. I struggle with this always under the surface.

To be authentically validating is rooted in the motivation.  When our motivation is to understand and let them know we are giving them our full attention it is not about our needs... . it is about theirs.  It is a GIFT!  No strings attached.  

It is not in our own best interest to depend on our BPD children to meet our needs.  It is in our own best interest to get our needs met in other ways.  Remember ... . Validation begins with self. 

What do you need to do to be in a place to validate others?

Reach out to my support network, reach out to tothers that can be a direct support for Dd's needs, take care of my physical needs, be a good parent with gd8, stay connected to dh about what is going on with him, with DD, with gd and with my.

Short answer: connection with the supportive people I have worked so hard to put in place this past year.

qcr
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« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2013, 09:04:56 PM »

To be authentically validating is rooted in the motivation... .  

... . Validation begins with self.  

What do you need to do to be in a place to validate others?

I was chatting to a friend, a psychologist who is trained in Acceptance and Commitment Theory. She had spoken at a yoga retreat I attended recently with dh. She spoke around the topic of how our thinking affects our behaviour from a neurological point of view. The conclusion of her talk was to make the point that when we investigate what we think and do, we should ask ourselves, 'oes it serve us?' In others words does they way we are thinking and behaving help us achieve what we want in life. It is a topic she is passionate about.

I mentioned my thoughts on 'being judgemental'. She responded that if we are being judgemental we are either thinking in the past or in the future. It is not relevant to being in the present.

What do I need to do to be in a place to validate others? Well, perhaps that depends on which level I am connecting with the idea of being validating... . I may be a skilled listener and be able to reflect back to another what they are feeling, thereby acknowledging that. However, if I wanted to be 'authentic' and 'honest' then I would be able to be totally in the present, aware of my own emotional needs and able to practice self compassion, able to listen compassionately.

If I was the parent of a non adult, I would be working on allowing my child to accept responsibility towards their independence... . modelling the behaviour I would want them to adopt, taking advantage of 'teaching' opportunities, applying clearly defined boundaries based on values and such like. If I was a parent in those not quite child, not quite adult years, I would be still doing all that while recognising that they should be able to begin to stand alone - so I would be extra careful with the difference between supporting and enabling. As the parent of an adult, it is about doing the same and recognising that they are totally responsible for themselves - again the difference between supporting and enabling is critical.

What do I need to do to be in a place to validate others? I need to be conscious of my flaws and work on changing them. I need to embody what validation means at the level that is beyond just saying non confrontational things. I need to be able to practise self compassion and validate myself. The natural extension of that is, to be validating to those I best wishes, neighbours, friends, the whole world... .

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."  Mahatma Gandhi
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« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2013, 07:00:32 AM »

Stating the Unarticulated

This is a form of mind reading. It requires you to create a hypothesis about what you believe the person is "not" telling you. The emotions driving a persons words or actions.  The hidden message.

You do this by asking a question, essentially guessing if "blank" is accurate.

Example: This works especially when the person is dysregulated and not expressing themselves clearly. You have to be willing to be wrong though, which shows that you haven't quite got it yet, so then ask more questions to reach understanding.

This is a point that I find extremely helpful, but also extremely challenging.

I recently had an experience where a list of very troubling issues was shared with me that, frankly, was superficial and trivial.  When I tried to deal with them directly, I got a lot of resistance - I was seen as invalidating and not getting it.  When I asked for more information, I got "I don't know" and it was sincere - they did not know.

To make a long story short, it took the better part of 4 days to think it through, unscramble the puzzle, and really see what it was all about.  When I did, the other person felt heard and understood - validated - and opened up.

How aware are you of the Unarticulated?  Is it possibly contributing to a problem now? How do you get in touch with it?
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