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Author Topic: 1.11 | Validation Skill - Stop Invalidating Others  (Read 162535 times)
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« on: September 21, 2008, 01:04:47 PM »

Communication Skills - Don't Be Invalidating

When it comes to emotional intelligence, one of the most advanced skills is learning how to become more validating and  less invalidating.

Often, if we are experiencing a communication breakdown, or if there is a wall between us and someone else, it most likely has been built with the bricks of invalidation.

This is a powerful tool and life skill. Mastering it will greatly elevate your emotional intelligence and your "people skills".

Different People Have Different Validation Needs

We are often unaware of how we invalidate others. We can also  be insensitive to the fact that some people are invalidated more easily than others and some people need an "extra helping" of validation to feel good about themselves. The latter is particularly true of people experiencing difficult times or a loss and of people who are highly sensitive, insecure, have low self esteem or who are easily intimidated.

This is a very necessary tool for dealing with people with Borderline Personality Disorder.

 At Its Core, Validation is About Accepting, Not Judging Others

Validation of feelings is vital to connecting with others. The mutual validation of feelings is important in all phases of relationships including building, maintaining, repairing, and improving them.

To validate someone's feelings is first to accept someone's feelings - and then to understand them - and finally to nurture them. To validate is to acknowledge and accept a person. Invalidation, on the other hand, is to reject, ignore, or judge.

So what happens when this dynamic breaks down?  Let's say one family member has very high validation needs, or one member is invalidating, or both have high validation needs, or both are invalidating?

Often, unidentified or unrecognized and invalidated feelings are at the heart of relationship issues and problems. Understanding the fate of an invalidated feeling/experience is eye opening and can be a significant motivator to investing in learning to better validate.  

The fact is that problems in relationships are often a result of what individuals do with invalidated feelings:

     Dissociation - they can keep them out-of-awareness, a part of not-me, hidden.

Projection - another option is to get rid of them, discard them, put them into someone else, project them.
 
Unfortunately hiding (dissociating) or getting rid of (projecting) feelings is never 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 Borderline Personality Disorder - this happens in all types of relationship - and we often do it, too.


The rest of the article, and an excellent video by Alan Fruzzetti PhD here:

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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 01:13:19 PM »

When we say that you are being "invalidating" to your partner, we aren't saying that you are being intentionally mean or cruel to them. Most of the time we are just trying to explain ourselves or correct a misunderstanding and it comes across as invalidating to the pwBPD.

Some examples of invalidating responses:

"I didn't mean it that way!"
"... .but that's not... ."
"This is what happened"
"NO, you've go it wrong!"
"I AM doing it right"
"you're not doing that right. Let me do it for you"
"I was only trying to... ."
"Why can't you just let it go?"
"why do you always have to do this?"

or it may just be the way we sigh, raise our eyebrow, or even worse - roll our eyes


Something as inconsequential as adjusting the temperature can be seen as invalidating someone's feelings. If the pwBPD is cold and turns up the heat in the house, then you come home and turn it down, your actions are essentially saying "they shouldn't be feeling cold"... .when in reality they "are" cold.

Invalidation often comes up when there has been a misunderstanding between two people. Both people believe they are right and the other person is wrong. Both people work to get the other person to change their minds and come to an agreement with them. How often have you been in a conversation where the more you tried to explain something, the less the other person seemed to hear you and the angrier they got? When we try to justify ourselves, or explain or defend ourselves, we are telling the other person "they are wrong" and invalidating their beliefs.

You may very well be right, but when dealing with a person who is extremely sensitive, quick to react, always looking for criticism, and easily dysregulated, your words come across as invalidating to them.

Feelings and emotions can never be wrong. They are based on our beliefs and our interpretations of things, so telling someone that you don't agree with what they are saying means their feelings are wrong. How can a feeling be wrong? <

Excerpt
Telling a person she shouldn't feel the way she does feel is akin to telling water it shouldn't be wet, grass it shouldn't be green, or rocks they shouldn't be hard. Each person's feelings are real. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, "psychological murder", or "soul murder." Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile.

We need to accept that a pwBPD doesn’t think the same way we do, and that while many of the arguments seem to come from nowhere, or make little sense, they are often triggered by us when we inadvertently use an invalidating response. A pwBPD and a non speak different languages.  When the person with BPD is triggered, they express themselves from a position of pure emotions and primitive defenses. There is no logic to what they are feeling, which is why they have trouble articulating and expressing themselves. Often, even they don’t know why or where the feelings are coming from.  

We, on the other hand, try to approach the situation from a logical staNPDoint.  We believe that if we can just find the right words or phrases, that our argument/words will suddenly make sense to the BP and the fight will end.  We might as well be speaking Polish to them though, since they are in an emotional state and we are defending with logic.  See the problem here? Our own defenses make things worse, since we use terms and defenses that invalidate how the BP "feels".   <

The more we try to explain and defend ourselves, the worse things actually become.  We throw fuel on the fire by invalidating their opinions, beliefs, statements, ideas, suggestions, or emotions.

They are emotional - we are logical. Two different attempts to communicate.

There are also times when the pwBPD may not be accurately expressing themselves, causing us to respond to what we heard, not what they actually feel. So when asked "how are you?" they mumble "OK" instead of their true feelings of sadness or fear. Then later on when they explode and accuse us of not caring how they feel we are left confused - but we asked and you said you were OK!"  ?

It's not possible to prevent "all" instances of invalidation.

To help stop things from getting worse we need to begin by recognizing what we are doing wrong. Before we can validate, we must stop invalidating.<


Words and phrases that are invalidating to others (not just those with BPD):

  • Ordering them to feel differently- ":)on't be mad. Get over it."
  • Ordering them to look differently- "don't look so sad."
  • Denying their perception or defending - "that's not what I meant"
  • Making them feel guilty- "I tried to help you"
  • Trying to isolate them- "you are the only one who feels that way"
  • Minimizing their feeling- "you must be kidding"
  • Using reason- "you are not being rational"
  • Debating- "I don't always do that"
  • Judging and labeling them- "you're too sensitive"
  • Turning things around- "you're making a big deal out of nothing"
  • Trying to get them to question themselves- "why can't you just get over it?"
  • Telling them how they should feel- "you should be happy"
  • Defending the other person- "she didn't mean it that way"
  • Negating, denial, and confusion- "now you know that isn't true"
  • Sarcasm and mocking- "you poor baby"
  • Laying guilt trips- "don't you ever think of anyone else?"
  • Philosophizing and cliches- "time heals all wounds"
  • Talking about them when they can hear it- "you can't say anything to her"
  • Showing intolerance- "I am sick of hearing about it"
  • Trying to control how long someone feels about something- "you should be over that by now"
  • Explanation- "maybe it's because _____ "

    Actually, go through each of those invalidating statements/responses and think about how it feels/how it felt when someone (not necessarily the disordered person in your life)  used those statements on you!

    Even if you aren't part of the problem - you can be part of the solution.


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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 01:36:40 PM »

 With me i usually try to defend my self, in return i am invaladating him not listening or what ever, usually the best thing is just to not say anything let them talk when they are upset, and just keep saying i understand, i am there right with you,, half the time i find myself thinking the same thing my husband is and agreeing but somewhere along the line i invaladated him because we are arguing about argreeing on the same thing,,, ? ? ? ?  and sometimes my husband just needs to explode get it out and me talking isn't helping, i was told i would be his theropist and that i am... .and let me tell you sitting there listening to a raging person isn't easy wears you down but soon the episode is over and on you go ... .like i said with my husband over half are arguments are agreeing on the same thing but somewhere i invaladated him and we are arguing before i know it... .
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 01:44:15 PM »

I am soo guilty of this... .except for the sarcasm and mocking. It's so hard not to defend when they are accusing you of certain things that arent true or say you "never" do this or that for them... .for example, my H yesterday claimed I'm affectionate anymore  ? OMG I'm constantly hugging him, kissing him, etc. I bit my lip and just listened to his complaint but I wanted so bad to give him hundreds of examples of when I'm affectionate. Instead I said, "I understand how you may feel I'm not as affectionate anymore, I'll try to keep it in mind"    Practice makes perfect... .hopefully I get the hang of it.
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 02:37:10 PM »

Yes, sometimes they are just looking for a fight, and no amount of validating will suffice :Smiling (click to insert in post)  That is when you take a time out for self protections sake. Don't sit there and be an emotional punching bag. When you see them getting more and more agaited, and when your words begin to be flung back at you - disengage. Don't stay - don't listen further - don't believe their accusations or FOG - get away and allow them the time to calm themselves down.

Knowing when to continue trying to validate, and when to run comes easier the more you practice it.
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2008, 05:08:39 PM »

How often do you use the word "but" when speaking to someone else?

Do you realize that when you say it, that you are actually disagreeing and invalidating the other person?

I see what you're saying, but, I think we should do it this way... .

Yeah, but... .
OK, but... .
You seem ok, but... .
Yes, but no... .
I agree, but I don't agree... .
You're right, but you're wrong... .

When you say the word "but" to a BPD, you have just taken all the good out of your original statements and turned them negative.

It was a great Thanksgiving dinner. The rolls were warm, the turkey was juicy, the table looked great, the wine was superb, but - the room was chilly. Now what is the hostess going to remember? That you liked the effort she went through, or that the room was cold? She's gonna focus on the negative and forget the positive. (True of any hostess, not only one with BPD.)  A spoonful of honey won't make the medicine go down well with someone with BPD.

Validating a person means working to see things from their perspective, and and agreeing with their right to feel or believe whatever they feel or believe or agreeing that any normal person would feel that way too. To then inject "but" into it, destroys and good will you hope to gain by validating them.

To break the habit of using this term, try to see the word as a big, fat, hairy, ugly butt. This imagine will help you remember that we are working towards eliminating that word from our vocabulary. You need to be aware of using it, before you can stop.

So... .  How often do you use the term BUT?

Does the BP get upset?

Do you get your point across?


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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 05:46:41 PM »

Good points, United! I've noticed "but" doesn't work well with me either--it does take away from the positives that have just been said. I try to avoid it, because it does the same for my partner.

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2008, 08:29:52 PM »

However, yet, and still, are "buts" in disguise  8)

Which means you can't use them either.

So what is a poor "but" man to do?

Validate the person sincerely, and let it really sink in. Allow time to be your friend, since they will feel more open to hearing your views after they have been heard. Let them express and expound on their point some more, before you begin in with your opposing views.

You: You have a valid point.

Them: (defensive still) Of course I do. Blah, blah, blah.

You: yes, I can see how you would think that way.

Them: (somewhat defensive) Yes, and if you would agree with me, then we ... .

You: Uh huh. I do understand. I wonder though, if maybe you've thought of ... .

By allowing them to feel listened to and understood, they lower their defenses and are more open to listening to you. If you express your views in a nonthreatening way, using the "wonder tool", it also allows them to evaluate what you are proposing, without feeling pressured or controlled.

So, break your booty habit.

Think before you speak.

Eliminate the "but" from your life to reduce the arguments and increase the opportunity for compromise and agreements.
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2008, 09:54:49 AM »

My H gets furious when I use the word "but", so thx for this post. Like PD that's one of the words I use a lot. I guess it's my way of validating what he's feeling and then explaining my side. But you're right... .in their mind we're taking away what we just validated. I'm going to really have to practice on this one. What you're saying is validate, validate, validate... .then once defenses are down we bring up what's bothering us?
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 10:37:27 AM »

EXACTLY

Validate - validate- and validate while also using intense listening allows them to feel heard, and lowers their defenses so that they CAN listen to you later on. Trying to explain yourself too soon is a waste of time.

Just be safe about things, and don't allow yourself to be abused while you listen.

Here is a new site I discovered that has some pretty good ideas
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2008, 11:37:04 AM »

WOW, United.  Wow.

My BPDw has told me outright, she hates when I use the word "but."  And I do it a lot.  I know I do.  And then, after trying to not use the word "but" I started to try to find sneaky ways around it.  I would agree with her for a moment then say "maybe, however... ."  which is exactly the same.  It's a but in disguise.

You can put a pretty dress on a big, ugly, hairy butt, but it's still an ass.  Can I say that?   

This is great advice.  If we're saying "but" it means we're probably not listening to how our SO actually feels... .we're just waiting until they're done so we can say our own piece and disagree with them.  That's not ever going to get a good response from a BPD.  We need to ACTUALLY stop and listen to them and validate their feelings before they will ever be able to hear anything we have to say.  It sucks, but it's the truth.

Now, that website you came across is pure gold, United.  I've only read through a few paragraphs on it, but I find myself TOTALLY agreeing with it all.  My BPDw, in talking about her childhood, has tons of stories about how her parents invalidated her.  They were awful parents, honestly, and would snap at her with all of the comments given in the article as examples.  Now she thinks that kind of invalidation is normal, and she does it to me all the time.  The whole friggin' family, with like 100 brothers and cousins and aunts and uncles ALL THINK IT'S NORMAL.  Ugh.  It's not, it perpetuates a terrible cycle of emotional abuse.  Wonder how many of her relatives are BPD because of it.

Anyway.  It hits the nail on the head right there.  I also find it interesting that "invalidate" is so close to the word "invalid"... .  the old-fashioned word for a disabled person.  Yup, enough invalidation, and that child is now an invalid.  Fitting.
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2008, 01:11:34 PM »

I like to use the word "and" instead...

" I really love living in Minnesota but I love my home town of Seattle"

VS " I really love living in Minnesota AND I love my home town of Seattle"

" I really think that I made the right decision but I wish I didnt have to do this"

VS" I really think I made the right decision AND I wish I didnt have to do this"

Steph Who had a meaningful trip out west but   and is home now.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2008, 02:41:39 PM »

I have learned over time when to stay and listen so he can just vent or when no matter what i say or do i usually can see it coming i have to leave due to you are right at times they just no matter what need to explode and you did nothing and no matter what no amount of valadation will work, and there are times i am just in no mood either to sit and be his T so i leave just to avoid a melt down, rage attack because if i am not strong enough or just in a bad mood or what ever we are human i have to leave or i will do something to trigger his rage,,,   this use to be weekly then monthly now it is about once every three to four months . that i have to leave the situation let him vent he will then get on the phone to his mom who doesn'[t listen to him anymore either and she is BPD i beleive... .so usually before i head home i have to call him and see if he has calmed down usually no and i then let him vent on the  phone to me but i don't listen if he leaves a long mesagge i hang up on the answer machion. or if i have to listen to him vent i will put the phone down and let me tell you he can go on for a easy hour but then it is over and on with life we go. and during this time he is raging he doesn't even know i put the phone down and i don't have to listen to all that stuff  ... .because it can really wear me down,,,
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 01:34:27 PM »

So, what is validation all about? What is the "science" here?

Validation of feelings is vital to connecting with others. 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?
Often, unidentified or unrecognized and unvalidated feelings are at the heart of relationship issues and problems. Understanding the fate of unvalidated feeling/experience is eye opening and can be an significant motivator to investing in validation.  

The fact is that problems in relationships are often a result of what individuals do with unvalidated feelings.

  • Dissociation - they can keep them out-of-awareness, a part of not-me, hidden.

  • Projection - another option is to get rid of them, discard them, put them into someone else, project them.  

Unfortunately hiding (dissociating) or getting rid of (projecting) feelings is never the last of it. Unvalidated feelings have a way of coming back to haunt the relationship over a over.   This is not an issue unique to BPD - this happens in all types of relationship - and we often do it, too.

So what should I do?  

The simple answer is become more empathetic and more validating - and recognize that this is not a simple "you look nice today" understanding.  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 have high validation needs - often very high.  People with BPD 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 relationship partners, we often have our own "above average" validation needs.  Let's face it, we were attracted to the uber-validation that was showered on us early in the relationship - it was a significant part of the attraction.   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.

And as parents. we often have our own "above average" validation needs.  Let's face it, tendencies run throughout 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.  

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 high validation needs and try to provide for them in a healthy and constructive way

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

This workshop is about the power of validation!

Thanks for participating!
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2008, 07:11:15 AM »

Excellent, Skip. I can understand the need to validate and can do that fine in a lot of conversations with my daughter but I have a problem when we have conversations about her treatment of my grandson.

For example my grandson might do something wrong (sometimes minor) and when my daughter is not in the right mood, she will over-react, yell or belittle him instead of disciplining him in a calmer adult manner. She will then want to complain about the whole incident to me and what he did I guess in order to justify losing her cool and over-reacting with him.

My daughter even admits that she over-reacts the wrong way with him but downplays the effect it might be having on him. I am afraid she will feel even more justified to continue punishing him in that manner if she in any way feels I am okay with it.

For example, last night she told him to get in the bathtub and instead he decided to wet his hands up in the sink first (not sure why but he is being evaluated for ADHD so he could have gotten distracted). She went off on him yelling for a full five minutes about it and then later she came and told me exactly what he had done (even though I had heard the whole thing, it was loud enough).

This type of scenario goes on several times during the week.

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« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2008, 11:20:46 AM »

A validation statement doesn't mean you agree with WHAT she did, or even why she did it... .it only expresses that you can see things from her viewpoint.  While she let you know "all of the really rotten stuff your grandson did", she was also telling you that she is frustrated and/or  feeling overwhelmed.  You can say something like "raising a child can sure be a strain"

Her: That kid - he is such a brat!

You: I hear how frustrated you are. I know how hard raising children can be. What can I do to help?

Or You: Raising kids really can be such a challenge! I like how you handled him today  (send him to his room, or something she did right)

Or You: I get that you are about ready to lose it... .thats a hard part of being a good parent.  What helps you to calm down the best?

Or You: I hear you are saying you feel badly when you hit Junior when you are angry. That would be upsetting to any parent. Are there things that help you avoid that? Maybe talking it out would help... .


See where you are empathizing with her feelings instead of condoning her actions?  :)oes this help?  

Obviously, if there abuse or serious parenting issues that warrants professional help.
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« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2008, 12:43:57 PM »

Before we go too far, we want to be careful not to oversell this tool.  Validation will not cure BPD (obviously). It is a very valuable tool.  It will help you create an environment where BPD related struggles can often be reduced - however - a person with this disorder will have interpersonal struggles from time to time no matter how well we do.

We all tend to validate in positive situations. But we don't tend to validate in neutral situations and definitely not in downright negative situations.  To a hypersensitive person, validation in neutral situations and negative situations can be diffusing as Skip points out. 

So the challenge is to develop validating skills, that we don't likely have as second nature, for when we are confronted with things like this:

From an adult:

#1  "That kid is so lazy. Look at her room!  Stuff is just tossed everywhere. Why can't she learn to pick up her stuff? Why is it so hard for her to do the right thing?"

#2  "I'm the only one who does anything around here. Everyone else treats me like a maid. No one offers to help me without me having to yell and scream at them. Why won't people help me?"

#3  "you're always working. Why are you always working? Don't you realize that I need help around here too? If you were home more often you would see that I have a hard time handling things here by myself."

#4  "That driver just cut me off! What an idiot! Some people shouldn't have drivers licenses! Let's see how he likes it when I do it to him!" Your pwBPD is very angry and becoming an aggressive driver, scaring you.

#5  "You were really talking a lot to that other guy at the party tonight. I noticed how you were looking at him. Do you guys spend a lot of time together behind my back? I bet you and he are sleeping together, aren't you? I can tell by the way you spoke with each other, that there is more than just a "friendship" between you two."

#6  ":)idn't I ask you to not do that anymore? I know that I did. We spoke of that last week, and I specifically told you not to do that to me anymore, but I guess you just don't listen, cause you went and did it again. I hate when you do that, don't listen. I feel like I'm just wasting my time here, since you never listen or do as I ask you to."

From a child:

#1 I can not ever count on anyone to help me when I really need help!
#2 You don't love me.  If you loved me you would lend me the money I need.
#3 People always leave you so I don't trust anyone
#4 You know... .my life is a crap. I wish to be the  son you deserve


What Can We Do?

The basic are - use words that focus on:

  • emotions
  • wants and desires
  • beliefs and opinions
  • actions
  • suffering


Letting the pwBPD i your life know that:

  • you understand them.
  • you accept they have a right to their feelings. Even if you don't agree with them.
  • it is a reasonable possibility, and that others would feel the same way.
  • you have empathy for them (a true connection with what they are going through).
  • there is a kernel of truth to what they are expressing.
  • they have a legitimate right to feel as they do.
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2008, 02:21:38 AM »

I must say that it feels a bit phony to say these things here - and maybe that's ok - because in practice I was always so caught off guard that I pretty much clammed up or tried to 'reason' with her without first validating her feelings. 

My sense is that this 3-step process takes some time and practice, but once it becomes second nature, it should help a lot (right?).  Let me know how I did. 

My attempts... .

#1  "you're always working. Why are you always working? Don't you realize that I need help around here too? If you were home more often you would see that I have a hard time handling things here by myself."

My response: "I love you, hon, and want you to be happy.  I can see that my working so much is leaving too much work around here in your hands and it is getting overwhelming.  If we are going to afford this house and our other expenses, I need to put in these hours right now."


#2  "That driver just cut me off! What an idiot! Some people shouldn't have drivers licenses! Let's see how he likes it when I do it to him!" Your BP is very angry and becoming an aggressive driver, scaring you.

Me: "I hear you, darling.  I'm pretty shaken up too and would be even more so if I were driving when he did that.  Let's just get home and be glad not every driver on the road is as reckless as he is."


#3  "That kid is so lazy. Look at her room!  Stuff is just tossed everywhere. Why can't she learn to pick up her stuff? Why is it so hard for her to do the right thing?"

Me: "I see that your not too happy with her.  This place is a mess and it doesn't really need to be, and I would be frustrated too.  Let's talk to her after school to see if she is doing okay and if she can't keep things a bit tidier around here."


#4  "I'm the only one who does anything around here. Everyone else treats me like a maid. No one offers to help me without me having to yell and scream at them. Why won't people help me?"

Me: "I love you and want you to be happy (no points for creativity here).  You do work a whole lot around here, and I can see where it gets tiring.  We can all try to pitch in on Saturdays if that would ease your load during the week."


#5  "You were really talking a lot to that other guy/girl at the party tonight. I noticed how you were looking at him/her. Do you guys spend a lot of time together behind my back? I bet you and s/he are sleeping together, aren't you? I can tell by the way you spoke with each other, that there is more than just a "friendship" between you two."

Me: "I love you and cherish you as the one woman in my life, darling.  You seem worried about losing me to this other woman.   The fact is that I knew her through work a couple years ago and she is friends with some of my buddies and we haven't seen each other all this time.  If you'd like I can introduce her to you.  Trust me, she is not a threat."


#6  ":)idn't I ask you to not do that anymore? I know that I did. We spoke of that last week, and I specifically told you not to do that to me anymore, but I guess you just don't listen, cause you went and did it again. I hate when you do that, don't listen. I feel like I'm just wasting my time here, since you never listen or do as I ask you to."

Me: "I want to see you happy.  I can see that I've done something to upset you; I have forgotten our conversation from last week and I know how frustrating that can be.  Tell me again what you don't want me to do and I will make a clear effort not to do it again."
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2008, 01:41:46 PM »

The reality is that we deal with our friends and loved ones issues all the time anyways, and since the thing most people are searching for is acceptance (healthy or mentally ill), then by offering them understanding, over time you will be lowering their defenses.

It is an integral part of human nature to find others who can accept and understand us. We need it for survival, to work together. A person who is BPD has been invalidated (even if it is just in their minds) their whole lives, so they are very defensive and easily triggered. Offering them the concept that you aren't fighting and arguing with them anymore - that you support them - that you believe them - can be a very healing and loving thing.

You can work against them, by trying to prove your point (most of us have tried that and we can easily say - it doesn't work) or you can work with them and see what happens.  Will it increase their dumping or reduce it?

The experts say it will reduce it. I'm willing to give it a try.

Just remember, our goal isn't to defend a value /boundary or convey our own intentions, it is simply to relate to and calm the pwBPD down. Validation is to soothe and form a connection of trust and respect between the two of you.

Save "SET" and "Truth" for a later moment when you see that your validation and empathy are having an effect.

Yes, it does seem awkward and stiff putting it down here in words, but when you speak them out loud and use the correct inflection in your voice and some direct eye contact it can really come across as being sincere - which it should be anyways.

Practice makes perfect.

Here is a place to practice:

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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2008, 09:59:50 AM »

So the challenge is to develop validating skills, that we don't likely have as second nature, for when we are confronted with things like this:

It IS hard to validate.  It seems like such a simple thing, but as most of us find out, it is not so easy to do.  It is a learned skill.

Valerie Porr, in Overcoming BPD says that it is “counterintuitive”. She explains that ours is a world based on logic and problem solving. She says that we don’t take time to notice people’s feeling or efforts, especially those who are closest to us.

The Lundberg's wrote I Don't Have To Make Everything All Better as a parent’s self help book. It is a powerful guide to the importance of validation. They make the point that to be an effective validator requires a lot of practice because it doesn’t come naturally.

From a child

#1 I can not ever count on anyone to help me when I really need help!

I understand.  You feel helpless maybe when there is no one around to help you.

#2 You don't love me.  If you loved me you would lend me the money I need.

I am sorry my son.  It is very hard when we don't feel loved and have no money.

The Bible tells us:  "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep."  This is empathy.  Validation is the verbalization of empathy.
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« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2008, 10:10:21 AM »

Thanks lbjnltx!

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, saying “I understand” when we truly don’t is invalidating.  

According to Shari Y. Manning, PhD (Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder), validation needs to occurs on several levels.  From her book, Six levels of validation... .

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 a key concept that has the power to really transform and improve relationships.  It does this by adding in a few missing ingredients - acceptance, understanding, and empathy. When a relationship is dysfunctional, typically there is a lack of validation (understanding) going on and lots of invalidation (misunderstanding) happening. These misunderstanding make it difficult, if not impossible for communication to happen. It is pretty easy to validate someone who is not upset. 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 into levels.

Level 1 - 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).


Level 2 - 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.

Level 3 - 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.


Level 4 - 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.


Level 5 - 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.

Level 6 - 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 #21 on: September 29, 2008, 11:07:51 AM »

You know, I am always a solutions oriented kind of guy. When I hear her complaints what I hear is a demand for a solution. I understand from what you're saying to change my thinking and therefore my response.  Validating is much more important than solving. Is that right? I'm trying to learn.

You are really giving me food for thought. Thanks.
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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2008, 01:52:26 PM »

I have done the validation routine over and over, sometimes it works about 30% of the time the rest of the time my BPD wife seems to get locked in on what she is angry about and no validating seems to work its if she has made up her mind that she is going to blame me and trash me until she begins to feel better.
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« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2008, 07:31:29 PM »

Validating is much more important than solving. Is that right? I'm trying to learn.

Absolutely!

I have done the validation routine over and over, sometimes it works about 30% of the time

the rest of the time my BPD wife seems to get locked in on what she is angry about and

no validating seems to work its if she has made up her mind that she is going to blame me and trash me until she begins to feel better.

Trying to validate during a time of regulation probably won't help.  When someone becomes dysreglated, then its best to give  them space.

Validation is best used early in the communication process. It isn't a magic wand.  It doesn't calm the BPD person down instantly or even every time you use it.  What it  can do is not escalate things and allows them the chance to see that we aren't the enemy so that our message can get through to them. They need time and space to allow the process to work.  That is why taking a time out  is a healthy thing to do. Arguing with an angry BP is like throwing fuel on a fire - it only makes things worse. Time and distance are what is needed. The only thing that can calm an angry person
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« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2008, 08:18:16 AM »

What if I try validating and he says I'm patronizing.

No matter how many times I repeated I was really sorry hit_ happened and that I understand he's hurting and mad he seemed to get angrier at the fact that I was "patronizing" him.

I finally had to just say goodbye and hang up because we were getting nowhere.
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« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2008, 08:50:00 AM »

Maybe you were patronizing.  

The object is not to have them hear how YOU feel. The object is to let them know that you understand how THEY feel.

Validation is strictly about them and their issues and their needs and their feelings and their emotions.

"I understand how you feel"

"That must be tough to feel that way"

"Knowing what happened to you before, I can see how that would bother you"

"I feel the same way at times"


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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2008, 09:46:44 AM »

Maybe you were patronizing.  

The object is not to have them hear how YOU feel. The object is to let them know that you understand how THEY feel.

Quote of the year!  May I have your permission to frame this? Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2008, 10:13:47 AM »

Okay i know this works and has worked for me... .

but hard to get into the routine and stay in it, and to make sure you don't apologize instead validate.

I started doing this this past summer and i noticed his reaction so much different as i was validating him.

But if i slipped -- mostly because i am tired of validating him what about me -- then yes see a huge difference.

I have to remember if i validate i am in return helping me and not dealing with the rages... .that will accrue .
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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2008, 10:40:44 AM »

A important point is that validation is not the same as agreement, and it doesn't necessarily include any action at all.

Validation, in a nutshell, is acknowledging verbally that the emotions experienced by the BPD are real. That's it.

Even if its some whacky distorted emotional response, it still exists, the chemical and electrical events in the brain which create "feelings" are there.

So if your BPD chiild feels "abandoned" because you won't give her money, she really feels that way... .it just isn't a normal, healthy feeling.  

You can feel compassion for all the painful emotions she lives with, while at the same time not giving in to an unreasonable request.
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« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2008, 11:24:04 AM »

You can feel compassion for all the painful emotions she lives with, while at the same time not giving in to anb unreasonable request.


This is a really good point.

I have done the validation routine over and over, sometimes it works about 30% of the time the rest of the time my BPD wife seems to get locked in on what she is angry about and no validating seems to work its if she has made up her mind that she is going to blame me and trash me until she begins to feel better.

You always have a choice in things  

You can react like you always have, and you will continue to be the focus of intense rages, twisted logic, irrational accusations, and unthankful demands - OR - you can try to repair things and stop making things worse by trying a new tactic that over time will increase trust and intimacy and make your life more peaceful.

But if you really wish for change, you can find your way to the nearest exit and start over again, hopefully with someone who is not mentally ill, but, since you haven't figured out how or why you ended up here in the first place, the chances are pretty high that you'll wind up with a similar situation, just with different outward appearances.

Nothing changes without changes... .

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« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2008, 11:36:58 AM »

Really important points! Good work.

Here is some reference material that will help.

Understanding Validation in Families [Video]   



Click on graphic to play

Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD    51 min., 53 sec.    Oct-2008

Here is an excellent chance to learn validation from a renowned specialist in the field of BPD and DBT. It's like having your own private validation lesson and includes a power point slide along with the video of the lecture. The first video is 51 min, so get comfortable and open your mind and your heart to the power of validation. Alan Fruzzetti PhD is the author of "High Conflict Couples" and works closely with Dr Marsha Linehan and the NEA BPD.

This is a good basic 5 minute primer on validation.

           

Download all 15 slides > here <
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« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2008, 06:40:39 PM »

Yesterday I started to go back through all the posts in this workshop and I ended up finally watching the video.  

Honestly, it gave me a whole new understanding of what I've been doing wrong and changes I need to make.  

I would recommend that anyone who really wants to understand validation should take the time to watch.  Thanks for this workshop.  Thanks for the links, Skip.  And thanks for giving us this thread.

Peace & Meta
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« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2008, 06:53:37 PM »

Validation does work.

It's a critical skill for every parent with a BPD child. It has helped immensely with my 16 dd.

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« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2008, 09:12:11 PM »

If you are borderline, it means you believe, underneath it all, that you are seriously broken, at the core. You are not understood. We think, as Nons, we understand what they are saying... and we sometimes say it for them... but if we really, really LISTEN... we might learn something.

OK... so if the BPD is feeling validated... feeling like you understand what they are saying ( and you arent explaining/defending yourself) they will feel heard. That is a rare occurance for them. If they feel heard, they will feel safer. They will feel less defensive.

You will have fewer blowups and frustrating circle fights. You just may learn something about your SO. They are NOT playing on the same field we play on... it doesnt mean they are wrong and we are right. Thats an attitude we need to let go of and see one another as allies instead of in an adversarial way. Validation will start that.

Another acronym to remember is GIVE

G: Have a gentle attitude

I: Show interest in what your partner is saying

V: Validate what they are saying ( doesnt mean you agree, necessarily)

E: Easy manner... relaxed... smile... calm mannerisms

If you strive to GIVE, your validation will be more believable.

All of this stuff will feel artificial for awhile... but the more you do it, the more results you will see, and the less negative stuff you will see. Your partner WILL be suspicious, wonder what you have up your sleeve. Validate that... .You CAN see why she would be suspicious, it makes sense... The fact is, you are hoping to improve communication and Improve your relationship. You learned a new way that will enhance your ability to hear and understand her. You are sorry it seems weird right now, and in awhile, it wont.

In the above paragraph, you let her know a bunch of stuff... that she had reason to notice something was up because it was. You didnt tell her to stop being paranoid, you didnt lie to her, or tell her she was imagining things, or that nothing was up... you told her the truth. Right there, she gets to hear that you dont think shes insane... for once, you heard her and you told her you understand why she feels like that. Can you imagine how good that would feel? I promise, it does. You also told her you are engaged in the relationship and you are working hard to do your part to improve things.

Good luck with this stuff.  After awhile, it just becomes part of you and other relationships reap the benefits as well.

Steph
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« Reply #34 on: October 24, 2008, 09:14:42 PM »

Another acronym to remember is GIVE

G: Have a gentle attitude

I: Show interest in what your partner is saying

V: Validate what they are saying ( doesnt mean you agree, necessarily)

E: Easy manner... relaxed... smile... calm mannerisms

If you strive to GIVE, your validation will be more believable.

If you strive to GIVE, your validation will be more believable.

It has to be real.

This is a great workshop - so may great tips!
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« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2008, 10:52:38 AM »

Have you ever tried to validate your loved one, only to be told "you don't really mean that", or "stop using that stuff on me"?

What was your response?

Many have told me that they didn't know WHAT to say when challenged. I'd like to give you a very powerful tool that may make a difference.  If I say "I really care about how you feel"  and they say "no you don't!"  I need to repeat my message three more times in as a sincere tone of voice as I can muster

If we listing helpful tips, here is another... .

TOOL: The power of Three



Have you ever tried to validate your loved one, only to be told "you don't really mean that", or "stop using that stuff on me"?

"I really do care about how you feel"    

No, your just saying that"

"I really care about how you feel"    

"That's not true, you always hit_ ."

"I really care about how you feel"    

"well... .(calmer now) then how come you hit_ all the time?"


By being persistent, you will show them that you aren't faking it. You really mean what you say. They may bluster and bluff somewhat, but deep in their heart of hearts, they want to believe that we are telling the truth. Our persistence allows them to lower their defenses and open their hearts and their minds, so that real dialogue may be possible.

Keep in mind that tone of voice is critical, and so is facial expressions and body posture.

You can't be faking this one.

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« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2008, 03:17:10 PM »

I think I'm begining to understand.  So, say that she's really mad about something she thinks I did: instead of saying I didn't do it - just say "I would be really mad too if someone did that"  

Am I getting the idea?  Unless she asks me specifically - I should just answer to her point of view - and not to what really happened.

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« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2008, 12:02:58 PM »

Think of it this way... .

Next time, HEAR what he is talking about. I get the sense he had some issues he was trying to tell you about, and when you countered them, you told him he was wrong.

It is SO important that someone with BPD feel heard. I suspect this will help...

TRY THIS:

You: I hear that you think I think you are ugly. Is that right?

Him: Yes, I do

You: Why do you feel that way? I think you are an attractive guy.

Him: Well, you dont hold my hand in public any more...
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« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2008, 01:59:57 PM »

Next time, try validation instead of arguing... .HEAR what he is talking about. I get the sense he had some issues he was trying to tell you about, and when you countered them, you told him he was wrong. It is SO important that someone with BPD feel heard. I suspect this will help...

TRY THIS: I hear that you think I think you are ugly. Is that right?

Yes, I do

You: Why do you feel that way? I think you are an attractive guy.

Him: Well, you dont hold my hand in public any more...

OK... .not to really mess this discussion up. My wife sees right through validating statements (as you can tell... .my BPDw has read a few of the books)... .and is typically angered by them. Here is the response I typically get to the above type of validating statements

Her: "Nobody cares about me... .everyone has left me."

Me: It must be very painful to feel that way... .like nobody cares about you.

Her: "Stop it... .you don't have to validate me... .quite talking like a f'ing robot... .what happened to my husband that cared about me?"

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« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2008, 02:27:25 PM »

How about this?

Her: "Nobody cares about me... .everyone has left me."

Me: I dont understand... what do you mean when you say that?

Thats a legit question... .you havent left... what does she mean when she says everyone has left her?

You heard her, and you are interested in what shes talking about.

Steph

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« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2008, 07:16:08 PM »

What about this situation?  Yesterday we're in the middle of a conversation about an upcoming trip.  I'm talking.  She interrupts me to say, "You know now all that milk is going to go bad, because you won't be home to drink it.  That's why I never buy your milk."

How could I handle that?  Ticked me off for two reasons One because she interrupted me to say it.  And two, it felt like and unwarranted mini-attack.  Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Peace & Metta
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« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2008, 02:59:33 PM »

Validation takes practice and truthful/honest reactions. It takes time to get used to it because it is counter-intuitive (at least it was for me). What I do is listen to what is said, listen to the emotion expressed and respond to the emotion expressed or to the emotion expressed in the situation. For example:

My wife: All the people at work hate me.

Me: Wow, it sucks to feel like people hate you. What makes you feel that way?

My Wife: They ignore me and don't talk to me?

Me: So, you're feeling ignored at work. I think anyone would be upset if they're feeling ignored... .



I try and use a several step process which I call the I-AM-MAD communication skill:

1. Identify the emotions.

It’s best to do this with “feeling” words, like “look”, “see”, or “sound”, rather than “know” or “understand”.

Examples: “I see that you are frustrated.”

“You sound aggravated.”

“You look really upset.”

2. Ask a validating question.

This encourages them to share their feelings about whatever triggered them.  :)o not use “what’s wrong?”  If you use “what’s wrong?” they will hear “what’s wrong with YOU?”  Also, don’t assume you did anything wrong.  Remember, IAAHF (It’s All About His/Her Feelings).

Examples: “What happened?”  (most effective because it is open-ended, requires more than yes/no answer)

“Did something go wrong at work [school] today?”

“Want to talk about it?”

3. Make a validating statement about their emotion.  

Validate the feelings expressed in step 2.  This helps reinforce that it is natural and valid to feel what they are feeling in the situation.  Again, remember IAAHF.  :)on’t defend against blaming or projecting.  And don’t apologize at this point, even if you are guilty.  (Apologies for things you are actually guilty of can come later… after they have returned to their emotional baseline.)

Examples: “Wow, it must have made you feel awful to have done poorly on that test.”

“Yes, it is frustrating when it seems that someone is taking advantage of you.”

“Yeah, that’s really disappointing.”

4. Make a normalizing statement about their emotion.

By relating the situation as common to all people or “normal” for them, this helps alleviate their stress about feeling judged or unaccepted.

Examples: “I think anyone would feel angry if they had to do that”

“I would feel the same way if that happened to me.”

“I can see why you feel that way.”

5. Analyze the consequences of their behavior.

By examining the consequences of both negative and positive behavior with the person, you help them to separate their emotional reaction from their behavior. The behavior may need to be changed, but the emotions are natural and should not be punished for.

Examples:  “When you don’t ask questions about something that confuses you, I don’t realize that you are struggling, so I can’t help you. When you do ask questions though, I can either give you the information you need to solve the problem yourself or we can work together to figure out the best solution to the problem.

“When you yell at me, I feel disrespected and become upset too.  However, when you speak calmly to me, I know you have respect for me, so I am able to listen to you better.”

“When you refuse to talk to me, I don’t know what else to do except give you space.  When something is bothering you, it’s best to be open and honest with me so I know what’s going on and don’t make the wrong assumptions about what you need."

6. Don’t solve the problem for them.

Solving one’s own problems helps to build self-confidence.  Empower the person by getting them to come up with a solution themselves.  When given the opportunity in a non-judgmental setting, most people will find that they can come up with solutions to their problems.  You can guide them through this process by asking helpful questions to ascertain what they need or want.

Examples:  “How would you like to handle this?”

“What would help you make a better choice next time?”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

(Note:  Sometimes you have to go back and forth to help them find the most effective solution. They may say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.” This can be tough.  Go back to step one to deal with any additional emotions that become apparent.)

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« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2008, 05:55:32 PM »

I tried this. In my case, she's all destabilized out in CA alone right now. She got really upset and was saying "You don't care about me". I repeated "I care about you" three/four times. It didn't make everything automatically better, but I saw her pause when I did it. I could sense that she was just alittle bit less upset. So yeah, it wasn't dramatic, but any little thing helps.

And you know what else? She knows that I've been reading up on all this and learning tactics on how to make things better. I think she kinda knows what I'm doing and she likes it. It shows how much I really do care. She's even told me that - she can't beleive how much I love her- that I would do all this research, etc. She keeps saying no one else in the world could handle her. I almost agree with her. But, on her side, no one else could know me as well as she does either.

Thank you!
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« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2008, 01:16:41 AM »

I think sometimes just knowing we are trying to learn if we are open about it can help validate. Is can show we are trying to understand what is going on and how to make things better.
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« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2008, 11:14:39 AM »

The steps bondobbs lays our are really good. I esp like #6, since it seems that many of us do too much rescuing for our BPD.

Print that stuff out and really think about how to implement them. Then, practice, practice, practice. It becomes easier the more you do them.
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2009, 09:19:09 PM »

It Does Work.  I validate everything said to me and things are getting more peaceful around here.

Peace & Meta
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« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2009, 11:25:36 AM »

This is a very good workshop and I have been able to identify how I interacted with my ex on every single point in some way or another while the "flip side" is true as well in that my ex used to interact with me in the same way but from the "other side" of logical perception.

It's also very good for re-learning how to communicate with everyone and not just the BPD sufferer and especially in re-learning how to communicate with myself.  Something that helps me is that, if I can re-train my inner dialog then it will begin to manifest outwardly and eventually become first nature.

That's the goal for me.

When at first I would try so hard to understand where my ex would be coming from, then becoming exasperated as I didn't know what was really going on, these things were my fall back just to "get it to end."

Obviously, the outcome was predictable and it only escalated and whatever the issue was, it never truly ended... .only got buried to resurface again and again.

Thank you very much for this workshop for a new direction... .for a new life.

BTW: The link in the first post that points to the full article seems to be broken.  Any way of re-posting it?

All is appreciated.

Peace, UFH

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« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2009, 12:11:04 PM »

Great Stuff!  I have week to week custody (50%) of my 3 girls.  They have a great counselor, whose greatest value to me seems to be the "larger than life" validation and positive adult female role model that are her gift to them.

I am constantly struggling to move from authoritarian parenting (my nature) to become an authoritive parent (based on leadership).  The concept of a validating environment have been hard for me to truly understand.  This is most helpful.

The goal is to prevent or minimize BPD traits and/or collaterial damage from the BPD exposure.  Covey's 7 habits, especially the power of the apology, are negated by BUT.

Thanks and God Bless,

MIS
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« Reply #48 on: December 14, 2009, 03:54:52 PM »

ok, i am the mother of a BPD daughter, 31yo.

i dont like the feel of validating her. after she is so nasty, hateful, etc,

i really dont want to validate her at all.

i want to lock myself in my room or get her out of my house.

it might work but it seems like its just giving more power to someone who is already manipulating as much as she can.

faigel
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« Reply #49 on: December 14, 2009, 04:27:16 PM »

I am the MIL of a uBPD DIL.  I understand every word you wrote.  Confusing illness BPD is.  

Validation sometimes feels like I am placating her so I can be around my son and the grandkids ... .not very pleasant.  

But, I am learning about radical acceptance ... .at least that will give me permission to not like the behavior of my DIL and reinforce that I cannot change one thing... .just myself.
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« Reply #50 on: December 26, 2009, 12:10:48 AM »

ok, i am the mother of a BPD daughter, 31yo... .it might work but it seems like its just giving more power to someone who is already manipulating as much as she can.

I certainly get these feelings.  A cycle of conflict usually feels this way.  pwBPD are suffering and its hard to love someone that is suffering.

I think the hard question to ask ourselves is  which do we value more, peace in our family or our own sense of justice and secondarily do the relationship problems all fall to the other person or are we part in it or part of making it worse.

The first question is about personal values and I won't presume I can guide anyone on this.   For the second question, I thought a look at Bowen's "family systems" theory might be helpful.  I found it really humbling and it made me much more aware of myself in the family dynamics.



An individual’s overall life functioning is linked closely to his level of emotional maturity or differentiation. Emotional immaturity manifests in unrealistic needs and expectations. ~ Murray Bowen, M.D

Family members so profoundly affect each other's thoughts, feelings, and actions that it often seems as if people are living under the same "emotional skin." People solicit each other's attention, approval, and support and react to each other's needs, expectations, and distress. The connectedness and reactivity make the functioning of family members interdependent. A change in one person's functioning is predictably followed by reciprocal changes in the functioning of others.~ Murray Bowen, M.D

People select ... .partners who have the same level of emotional maturity.  ~ Murray Bowen, M.D


The theory was developed by Murray Bowen, M.D. in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, when he was a psychiatrist at the Menninger Clinic. After his time at Menninger’s, he moved to the National Institute of Mental Health, to Georgetown University Medical Center and finally established the Georgetown Family Center in Washington, D.C.
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« Reply #51 on: June 23, 2010, 08:55:12 AM »

A great article to help with this... .

Invalidation
from "Sancuary for the abused"

Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. Constant invalidation may be one of the most significant reasons a person with high innate emotional intelligence suffers from unmet emotional needs later in life.(1)

A sensitive child who is repeatedly invalidated becomes confused and begins to distrust his own emotions. He fails to develop confidence in and healthy use of his emotional brain-- one of nature's most basic survival tools. To adapt to this unhealthy and dysfunctional environment, the working relationship between his thoughts and feelings becomes twisted. His emotional responses, emotional management, and emotional development will likely be seriously, and perhaps permanently, impaired. The emotional processes which worked for him as a child may begin to work against him as an adult. In fact, one defintion of the so-called "borderline personality disorder" is "the normal response of a sensitive person to an invalidating environment" (2)

Psychiatrist R.D. Laing said that when we invalidate people or deny their perceptions and personal experiences, we make mental invalids of them. He found that when one's feelings are denied a person can be made to feel crazy even they are perfectly mentally healthy. (Reference)

Recent research by Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D. of Duke University supports the idea that invalidation leads to mental health problems. He writes "... .a history of emotion invalidation (i.e., a history of childhood psychological abuse and parental punishment, minimization, and distress in response to negative emotion) was significantly associated with emotion inhibition (i.e., ambivalence over emotional expression, thought suppression, and avoidant stress responses). Further, emotion inhibition significantly predicted psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms.) (Reference)

Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. This implies that there is something wrong with us because we aren't like everyone else; we are strange; we are different; we are weird.

None of this feels good, and all of it damages us. The more different from the mass norm a person is, for example, more intelligent or more sensitive, the more he is likely to be invalidated. When we are invalidated by having our feelings repudiated, we are attacked at the deepest level possible, since our feelings are the innermost expression of our individual identities.

Psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality.

Telling a person she shouldn't feel the way she does feel is akin to telling water it shouldn't be wet, grass it shouldn't be green, or rocks they shouldn't be hard. Each persons's feelings are real. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, "psychological murder", or "soul murder." Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile. A good guideline is:

First accept the feelings, then address the behavior
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« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2010, 04:41:07 PM »

As this is a validation practice thread I'd like to share my favorite validation resource.

Really important points! Good work.

Here is some reference material that will help.

Understanding Validation in Families [Video]   



Click on graphic to play

Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD    51 min., 53 sec.    Oct-2008

A recent feedback on the audio:

WOW! Just listened to it. One of the most entertaining and enlightening talks I've listened to in a long, long time (regardless of that I knew of the validation thing before). Really good stuff. Like. Awesome!  Smiling (click to insert in post) Thanks for that.

I believe audio touches different sense in the brain and Fruzzetti is brilliant in being entertaining, on spot and talking about validation without much looking at borderline, without assigning blame and looking at it from all different angles - partners - children - parents. He gives lots, lots of examples. He motivates then what is happening in the different people. He then looks at validation as a tool used in BPD or BPD like relationships (partners, families) and shares some studies they have done and what huge impact validation had when brought into a partnership.

This is an audio to a conference talk but it is very clear, you almost never miss the slides (maybe 5% of the time) and may well go back and listen to it again.

I've done it about 5 times.

Highly recommended  - don't trust me, trust penguin Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

For people who like his style so much that they want to read more, check out his book in the book review section: "The high conflict couple" - an excellent book about DBT for couples. A bit dryer but has roughly 40-50 pages on validation in various chapters.

So any newbie who has not yet tried the practice from the beginning of the thread - listen to the audio and give it a shot. This stuff needs to be practiced and writing helps ordering thoughts and prepares you for real life. Don't be shy !
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« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2011, 07:42:02 PM »

I have been using validation my BPDw for years, and most of the time it helps.

However, a few of our really major issues have apparently only worsened, and in my opinion here is why. I feel the validation about her feelings being - a "reasonable possibility," "others would feel the same way," "there is a kernel of truth to what they are expressing," and "they have a legitimate right to feel the way they do" -  whether true or not, all too often reinforce their bad behavior and erroneous beliefs.

Many times our validation can even be interpreted as apologies.

Example - For years, when dysregulated, my wife  believed she had supported me financially from the beginning of our relationship, I had lied about having no money, and she put up with far more grief from me that I did from her.

I told her many times, these things were not true, she shouldn't stay married to me if she really believed them, and I didn't want to be married to her if she believed them - my emotional boundaries, and beliefs. Any accountant could prove her financial beliefs to be completely false and reversed. We could never discuss the subjects, but the next day or week later when I was her hero, I assumed this was just her dysregulation talking.

Now, I get the strong impression that these beliefs have become permanent.

Maybe the BPD paranoia is rubbing off on me, but it feels as if all the nice things I do and say now, are, in her mind, my way of trying to 'atone for my sins' so to speak - my way of apologizing for my past transgressions. Also her impression of herself seems to be that of a hard working, perfect wife and mother, who has to deal with... .me.

Help? Suggestions? Ideas? Similar experiences - and do I have a 'valid' point - pun intended - about needing different Validation criteria for BPDs?

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« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2011, 10:25:35 PM »

Interesting post.  I wonder about this too, especially the part about 'atoning for my sins' by validating the pwBPD's feelings and not arguing back.  In my situation, validation does seem to prevent escalation much of the time with my uBPDh, but one of his main arguments with me is that I "took him" away from the place he wants to live and that if we could only just move back there, he would be happy and fulfilled, etc.  Reminders (before I came across info on BPD) that he was miserable there too and that it won't solve any of his anger/guilt/regret issues always made things worse.  Now that I have started validating his feelings of hating the place we live and understanding how much he felt a connection to the old place, he rages much less, but it seems that he has taken the validation to mean that I am apologizing for the move (although those are not the words I use) and that I should therefore be responsible for planning our move back ASAP, which he truly believes will be the fix for his problems. 

So do we consider validation inappropriate when the pwBPD has a response that is out of proportion or a misunderstanding of what we are actually saying?  Do we just suck it up and let them assume we are apologizing even if we are not, if progress is (apparently) being made in lowering the dysregulation episodes?
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« Reply #55 on: July 18, 2011, 12:18:33 AM »

Validation is a "huge" part of DBT. It is one of the most powerful things we can do to repair damaged trust and intimacy issues.

Yet it wasn't designed to correct twisted thinking. Nor will it magically get them to consider our views/beliefs/opinions. It won't change anyone's mind. A person who is mentally ill will have messed up thoughts. THey will make unreasonable demands.  In their perception, feelings equal facts.

Now for years she has felt like a victim. That you lied to her and that she financially supported you. For years you argued with her trying to prove her wrong.  Your arguments and facts and reasons and logic didn't change how she felt. Your defensiveness and explanations only pushed her away and created distance and distrust between the two of you. She didnt feel listened to or understood, and she never stopped feeling like a victim.

So now you are validating her emotions... .validation will help her feel understood - it won't change her mind... .

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« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2011, 03:10:16 AM »

Validation is a "huge" part of DBT. It is one of the most powerful things we can do to repair damaged trust and intimacy issues.

I agree with this in principal, however after doing some research I find that I have been validating secondary emotions, which as Marsha Linehan says -

"If the emotional validation is used for secondary emotions, then I interpret this as not therapeutic, because you are “validating the invalid.”

You can read more about secondary emotions below in navy.

If this is correct, then the trick we all need to learn is how to tell the difference between primary and secondary emotions, and to, as Marsha Linehan says, not validate the invalid.

This was my original point in this thread. Patently ridiculous or delusional thinking should not be validated. Apparently this has been covered by the professionals, yet it hasn't filtered down to all of us laymen yet. It seems to me this distinction is extremely important for us all to understand if we are going to use validation for BPDs properly.

Persons with BPD have a lot of twisted erroneous thinking, but we shouldn't validate this twisted thinking, just because they belong to someone we love, or we will be validating the invalid.

We need to look for their primary emotions. In my wife's case it may be "God! I'm always broke, and I make more than my retired husband does, so I must be paying most of our expenses." Now, I could empathize with her being broke and maybe be successful talking her into some financial planning and counseling for us, to help save money. This would reveal the truth to her, from someone other than me.




Last week, I was reading a portion of Dr. Marsha Linehan’s book “Cognitive Behavior Treatment Of Borderline Personality Disorder” and stumbled upon a reference that I had never noticed before. It reads:

Emotional validation strategies contrast with approaches that focus on the overreactivity of emotions or the distorted basis of their generation. Thus, they are more like the approach of Greenberg and Safran (1987), who make a distinction between primary or “authentic” emotions and secondary of “learned” emotions. The latter are reactions to primary cognitive appraisals and emotional responses; they are the end products of chains of feelings and thoughts. Dysfunctional and maladaptive emotions, according to Greenberg and Safran, are usually secondary emotions that block the experience and expression of primary emotions. These authors go on to suggest that “all primary affective emotions provides adaptive motivational information to the organism” (1987, p. 176). The important point here is the suggestion that dysfunctional and maladaptive responses to events are often connected or interwoven with “authentic” or valid responses to these events. Finding and amplifying these primary responses constitute the essence of emotional validation. The honesty of the therapist in applying these strategies cannot be overstressed. If emotional validation strategies are used as change strategies – that is, if lip service is given to validation in order to simply to calm the patient down for the “real work” – the therapist can expect the therapy to backfire. Such honesty, in turn, depends on the therapist’s belief that there is a substantial validity to be found, and that searching for it is therapeutically useful.

This idea is an important one for loved ones of those with BPD because it touches on several points:

~ It acknowledges that emotional validation focuses on “normal” emotional reactions, not “the overreactivity of emotions or the distorted basis of their generation.” That is the way of emotional invalidation, i.e. “You’re overreacting to something trivial. Look at what really happened.” I see that expression from Non-BPs all the time.

~ It points out the differences between primary and secondary emotions. This distinction is extreme useful for Non-BPs. Why? Because most often the anger and rage are secondary emotions (not always) and that is typically what Nons focus on. If the emotional validation is used for secondary emotions, then I interpret this as not therapeutic, because you are “validating the invalid.”

    

~  Probing (gently and compassionately) for the primary emotions seems to be a more effective strategy and those are the emotions that can be validated effectively.

    

~  One has to approach emotional validation as a tool unto itself – without using it as a “change strategy.” That is, “it is ok to feel that, but you have to change the way you feel to be ‘normal’.” That is, bound to backfire.

    

~  If this distinction of primary and secondary emotions – the first being true and “authentic”, the second being dysfunctional and maladaptive – is applied to the concept of mentalization, then the idea within mentalization to use emotional validation to probe for further feelings begins to make more sense. One has to help the BP locate the primary emotion.

www.anythingtostopthepain.com/primary-secondary-emotions/

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« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2011, 04:46:48 AM »

What you are discussing is some of the more detailed validation concepts. The E,F,G that follows after the A,B, C's are conquered  Smiling (click to insert in post)

There are some great books out there that cover this in depth and can help flesh out the subtleties that you are discussing. Much more than what can be covered in a workshop.

Essentially - Yes, we need to be aware that we are targeting the correct emotion to validate. We never validate the invalid translates to "don't tell them you understand why they just murdered someone", or "anyone would punch their boss in the face". Common sense does come into play here.

Validation doesn't mean that you never state how you feel on a topic, it just means that you work to understand the emotions your partner is expressing and chose a time when both of you are calm before you state your own truth. Too often as people first experiment with validation they add that dreaded "but" onto the statement, destroying any good will gained by trying to correct the pwBPD.

"yeah. It sucks being broke all the time, but if you would just learn to follow my detailed spending chart we wouldn't be in this mess"... .destroys any possible chance that the pwBPD will see your point or agree, much less listen to anything further you have to say.

"Yeah. It sucks being broke all the time. I wonder what you/we can do to help plan better"... .changes it from just pure validation into helping the pwBPD consider other options.

This is why we suggest asking questions and not making assumptions if you are confused or can't connect with what emotions your partner is feeling. Don't just fake it to shut them up. Ask questions so that you "can" understand. Learn about what it means to be BPD, how it impacts their feelings, thoughts, behaviors, actions, dysregulation, etc... .develop empathy and compassion.

Validation is a skill that requires practice. It doesn't come naturally to most of us, since we are so focused on the logic and facts aspect, we totally miss the emotions driving the problems in the first place, primary or secondary... .

Validation is also only "one" of the skills all of us need to get better at 

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« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2011, 07:27:17 AM »

I think some of the confusion comes just from living in some of these environments... .when WE are invalidated as much as we often are, up often becomes down, down often becomes up, and things get very confusing.  It's hard.  

I read somewhere that anger itself is generally considered to be a secondary emotion.  That people generally flow through hurt, worry, etc - realize how vulnerable those feelings make them - and then default to an expression of anger.  Considering most dysregulation 'looks' like anger and considering pwBPD don't have a strong enough sense of self to acknowledge - to themselves or others - they are hurt or worried or anything less then superhuman, I would imagine nons around here are seeing and responding to a lot of secondary emotions.  And I guess I can see how that would be invalidating to a pwBPD.  If what they are experiencing really deep down IS hurt, worry, pain, etc - and we are validating anger - they probably recognize at some level that we truly don't get it, them.  

Which is why we don't validate dysregulation... .and why we take timeouts, I would imagine.  Why discussions about feelings work best when the stage is set for them to be able to talk about the primary feelings and not the anger (often directed at us).  

So she says - I have always supported you - in a hostile, accusatory way.  1.  Is she dysregulated?  If so, is this the best time to try to tease out what's really going on?  Or do you need to enforce your own - I won't stick around for abusive talks - boundary.  2.  Is there ANY truth to it which could in fact justify the anger?  Easy to validate truth and accept personal responsibility.  3.  If not, what could really be going on?  Is she worried about finances?  Sad because she is not getting the 'stuff' she wants?  Concerned about a family member finding a job?  I know for us - I don't even need to hit the nail on the head - if I ask and am wrong, she'll still feel safe enough to correct me - with the more primary emotion (which is about 90% of the time based in fear - becomes an easy assumption to make after awhile).  Then its easy to validate that.

(Also important to recognize that such an accusation could be her way of dealing with pain from something completely unrelated to you!  I know for S - when she's upset about something - she'll often find something to accuse me of so she can justify her anger.  This is why getting the heck out of dodge is so important in the moment - we can't sit around and take this stuff and still expect them to focus on the true issues.)
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« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2011, 12:34:41 PM »

I agree with UFN.  The key is to figure out where that belief is coming from.  This doesn't mean their conclusion is right.  It just allows you to hear out what they're saying and make your own decision on what to do next from there.

For example, my wife is regularly upset about money, saying that we're broke.  I asked her why she thinks that, and she says that we don't go out to eat and do various things on a regular basis.  When I asked why she wants to go out to eat and do stuff on the regular basis, she told me that the food comforts her and makes her feel good about herself, and that when we do stuff, she doesn't have to worry about what is on her mind and what to do with our daughter.  In turn, I found out that my wife relies on food to comfort herself because that's the one thing she could do for herself as a child.  I also found out that she's afraid of just being in the house all of the time because her mother never really paid her any mind, and that she was often housebound (save for school) for long stretches of her childhood.  In addition, she's deathly afraid of not knowing what to do with our daughter, since her mother did as little as possible for her.

Of course, I've cleaned up what was a roughly hour long conversation for the purpose of summarizing what happened.  However, the principle stands.  Notice how I went from constantly wanting to go out to issues with how my wife's mother treated her.  Knowing that, I can engage with the core emotions how I wish.  I can take my wife out to someplace she wants to go to.  I can not take her out and have her dysregulate while my daughter and I go to the playground.  I can make a turkey with cheddar sandwich.  Once you know what you're dealing with, you can operate as you wish.

Back to your wife, you need to start asking questions, figuring out what's behind her belief.  From my experience, it might have nothing to do with money.  I've learned that things have a funny way of coming out, if you just ask and listen.  It's easier said that done, but that's the core of validation.
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« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2011, 02:33:46 PM »

I think I should have learned the whole alphabet before doing the validation with my wife.

As an engineering manager I used the ABCs a lot, but didn't even know about secondary emotions, and wasn't exposed to them at work.

I have read a lot of posts where the nons seem to be painted blacker by their pwBPD with time. I wonder if it is because of us being too understanding of the dysregulated abuse coming from the secondary emotions - 'validating the invalid.' - and reinforcing not only bad behavior, but black thinking about us in general.

I imagine this could with time cause secondary emotions to become primary ones.
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« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2011, 04:26:34 PM »

A person who is highly sensitive, extremely emotional, very reactive, and with severe shame issues  will most likely NOT express their primary emotions clearly. They will go straight to secondary emotions, since they feel easier to express. Over time, the pwBPD has gotten better responses from displaying their secondary emotions, so the primary ones of fear, worry, sadness will get buried under the anger.

Their defenses developed to hide their primary emotions, that is what all the projection, blame, black and white thinking, push/pull, denial, distorted thinking stems from... .an inability to feel or connect or hold onto primary emotions.

In “Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder” by Valier Porr,  MA, some other useful considerations.

Misconceptions around validation:

•   Validation is not the same as understanding. You don’t need to understand “why” a person feels as they do. You just need to accept their emotions.

•   Validations is not the same as loving someone. Love isn’t enough in this case. People need to feel listened to and to have their feelings accepted.

•   Validation is not a synonym for praise. Praise is a form of judgment that something is good or right, highlighting that the opposite could also be true, that the pwBPD is bad or wrong.

•   Validation is not the same as being proud of someone. Being proud can also be a judgment, implying that a pwBPD needs our approval.

•   Validations does not mean that you approve or disapprove of the persons feelings. There is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings.

Validation “Do Nots”

•   Do not criticize, judge or blame

•   Do not be distracted – focus

•   Do not pick the wrong time to have a sensitive discussion

•   Do not be willful or controlling

•   Do not try to solve or fix your loved ones problems

•   Do not jump into the problem pool

•   Do not respond with logic

•   Do not respond with anger

•   Do not personalize

•   Do not focus on “being right”

•   Do not validate the invalid
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« Reply #62 on: August 11, 2011, 08:37:39 AM »

Level 6 - 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.

This is the one I have the hardest time with.  I don't always "feel" genuine in my validation, because quite honestly, I mostly feel "obligated" to validate rather than truly "wanting" as a desire of my own heart, to validate.  

So I get stuck right here.  

And because I feel obligated to validate, my validation does not feel genuine to my SO, she knows it, I know it.  

So the best thing I can do at the moment rather than "faking it" is to just not really say much.  I do that first step over and over, listening, paying attention, nodding, occasionally asking a question but that's it.  So because I lack a response much further than that and even if I had one it's not genuine in nature, I'm blamed for being cold and lacking in compassion and kindness (which, if you told me to look at the situation and find the kernel of truth, there you have it, it's probably true that I do come across as cold, lacking compassionate, and unkind.)  I just don't know how to change that because really, I'm not a cold or uncaring person.

STUCK right there... .

but still Sticking with It

SWI
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« Reply #63 on: August 11, 2011, 10:42:10 AM »

This one was good for my collection of posts that I want to come back to over and over.  WOW!  I have been working on my validation skills very hard lately.  The RS between my UBPDW and I has improved and I can see a much better future ahead.

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« Reply #64 on: August 11, 2011, 11:06:08 AM »

SWI-- I am in the same boat... .sometimes it is almost impossible to truly validate because I feel so differently about a particular situation than he does.  In those instances it is very clear to both of us that I think he is nuts... .and do come off as cold/mean/not caring.  He tells me I have no empathy... I do it's just sometimes he's so far off his rocker that it is hard to empathize... ugh!  Something I do need to get better at... .afterall... this is what he feels... .as much as he doesn't want to feel a certain way... he does feel that way... and he needs validation of some sort.  Just can't give different perspectives as a means to validate... .even if he doesn't want to feel a certain way about whatever the situation might be... .

does this make any sense?  I feel like I'm falling off MY rocker as I type this   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #65 on: August 11, 2011, 11:42:05 AM »

I understand how hard it is to emphasize.  After all, a lot of stuff they aren't feeling heard about is so way out there that it's hard to connect to.  The key thing is to ask a lot of questions.  Get them to talk to you like you're stupid.  In my experience, once you get them to go back through all the logical leaps they made to get dysregulated, it becomes a lot easier to emphasize.  In my experience, you'd be surprised as to the source of the issues that made them upset in the first place.  Also, you'll find that these issues have nothing to do with you. 

From there, once you know the drill and put yourself in their shoes, you can emphasize.  I know in my wife's case, knowing how she grew up and the issues she had to deal with makes it a lot easier to validate when she gets dysregulated about something.  At least I know the core issues.  The key is to do the hard work of hacking through those weeds.
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« Reply #66 on: August 11, 2011, 12:07:11 PM »

Level 6 - 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.

Being genuine is a huge part of this.  If you listen to Dr. Fruzzetti's video, he talks about how this develops.  It's forced in the beginning , but your own need to be true to yourself will drive you to find a way to make it genuine.

It's easy to see when others are not empathetic - much harder to see ourselves.   Some of us have impaired empathy.

I've read from many members that have successfully rebuilt their relationships will look back and see that they lacked empathy earlier on.

Empathy is a big part of good mental health.  A personality disorder is defined by impairment in two of the following: empathy, intimacy, self image, and self function.

Where would your empathy?  

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Clinical definition* of empathy

∆ Healthy (0) Capable of accurately understanding others’ experiences and motivations in most situations. Comprehends and appreciates others’ perspectives, even if disagreeing.  Is aware of the effect of own actions on others.

∆ Mild impairment (1) Somewhat compromised in ability to appreciate and understand others’ experiences; may tend to see others as having unreasonable expectations or a wish for control. Although capable of considering and understanding different perspectives, resists doing so. Inconsistent is awareness of effect of own behavior on others.

∆ Impaired (2) Hyper-attuned to the experience of others, but only with respect to perceived relevance to self. Excessively self-referential; significantly compromised ability to appreciate and understand others’ experiences and to consider alternative perspectives. Generally unaware of or unconcerned about effect of own behavior on others, or unrealistic appraisal of own effect.

∆ Very Impaired (3) Ability to consider and understand the thoughts, feelings and behavior of other people is significantly limited; may discern very specific aspects of others’ experience, particularly vulnerabilities and suffering.  Generally unable to consider alternative perspectives; highly threatened by differences of opinion or alternative viewpoints. Confusion or unawareness of impact of own actions on others; often bewildered about peoples’ thoughts and actions, with destructive motivations frequently misattributed to others.

∆ Extreme Impairment (4)  Pronounced inability to consider and understand others’ experience and motivation. Attention to others' perspectives virtually absent (attention is hypervigilant, focused on need-fulfillment and harm avoidance).  Social interactions can be confusing and disorienting.


* Definition as per DSM 5 draft proposal
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« Reply #67 on: August 11, 2011, 02:35:50 PM »

This is an excellent thread which I'm going to read over and over again.  I know that if I could validate better (or at all), my r/s would be better.  Its just so hard to do when I feel like I'm talking to a 2 year old.

The key thing is to ask a lot of questions.  Get them to talk to you like you're stupid.  

This actually seems like very helpful advice.

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« Reply #68 on: January 31, 2019, 11:51:56 AM »

Interesting - I have my own boundaries set pretty high, so while I can validate I also express my boundaries.  Often, a form of "I'm not willing to be spoken to in that way.  I hear you on x, and I will do y.  Right now I'm going to go because I don't accept how you are speaking to me.  I'll come back and talk to you later and maybe we can talk differently." I can accept the other person's feelings and I accept who they are, it just happens that who I am is someone who needs to walk away at that time.  When they can speak to me with respect I am more willing to listen and have that conversation.  I do accept who they are but I also accept who I am, and I am not a person who responds in the way described above.  I have three very important people in my life who were all abandoned as children and as a result have very strong needs and emotions at times.  I find it necessary for myself to set firm boundaries that I simply do not expose myself to crossing over.  This works for me, your mileage may vary!

Usually I post about my dd's, but this is really more related to my husband!  We have had no issues for years now, but previously had huge ups and downs.
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« Reply #69 on: April 19, 2019, 10:25:55 PM »

I really like your last post, " United for now". The situation has much to do with us, the other person who did not run for the woods as others have done and is now trapped with this mentally ill person.. the ...pwBPD

I think about this aspect a lot and try to embrace the challenge as i am so far from healthy or perfect..or ideal myself.

In some sense we all are mentally ill, some more then others.
This is the challenge of life, a healing process, an education, learning and changing.


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