Importance of validating feelings
This will require you to pay attention to your spouse’s tone of voice and body language in addition to what she is actually saying.Empathizing with someone else requires the ability to recognize someone else’s emotions and state of mind.Even during conversations where we feel tremendous compassion and want to help, it can be all too easy to unknowingly or unintentionally minimize and invalidate what the other person is trying to convey, ultimately creating more conflict or strong feelings of frustration, hurt, anger, and rejection. Validating feelings doesn’t mean you accept or agree with the other person’s position; it simply means you acknowledge what they are saying.Yet, effectively acknowledging the emotions and experiences of others can at times be a challenge.The reaction, or resulting behavior, to a feeling may be destructive or unhealthy, but invalidation of one’s feelings leads to further self-doubt, lack of confidence, and makes for a longer road in the recovery process.Marsha Linehan, Ph D, founder of DBT, says it’s “impossible to overestimate the importance of validation” in recovery from BPD.For example, stating “I know you are angry I did not call when I was going to be late because you were waiting for me” can help your partner to know you do care.
Someone’s behaviors may be appropriate or inappropriate based on how the person feels. It can show that you have empathy for his/her feelings even when you disagree on something.Simply stating that you recognize your partner’s anger or frustration can help him to feel validated.Instead, talking about how you each feel about the disagreement can help you each to feel heard.Try to acknowledge your partner’s feelings instead of trying to continuously explain yourself.
We can easily recognize how abusive, mean-spirited, or hostile interactions involve a failure to validate feelings and, sometimes, purposeful attempts to be hurtful.