Would you like to know the best way to make someone feel invisible and worthless and erase them of their sense of self-worth?
Invalidate their emotions and feelings.
If you don’t believe me then you have never been in a relationship with a Narcissist or someone that was emotionally abusive.
In a healthy relationship, your partner will validate (aka acknowledge) your experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
What does it mean when someone is invalidating you?
It is the act of purposefully denying, rejecting, minimising, negatively judging, and/or ignoring your expressed experience, thoughts, actions, or emotions. -Narcwise
Someone who wants to devalue their victim will use invalidation as it is one of the most powerful forms of manipulation and provides the abuser with full emotional control.
Based on my personal experience, here are four things that a Narcissist may say to you in order to invalidate your feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
#1. “I don’t remember anything from last night.”
A few years ago I was in a relationship with a Narcissist. Everything was great for the first couple of months when he was kind, affectionate, and charming. I didn’t realize that I was being love-bombed.
One night we went to hang out his friend’s house and the evening ended with him being aggressive towards me as well as cursing at me and saying things that were absolutely obscene.
The next morning he woke up and acted as nothing had happened. When I told him a look of shock came over his face and he claimed that he didn’t remember doing or saying any of those things to me.
By claiming ignorance he was able to keep from taking any responsibility for his harmful words and actions.
Oh, and by the way, he had only one beer. He claimed to have been drunk but I saw how much he drank and I know that he remembered it all.
#2. “Don’t be so lame, you’ll be fine.”
I had been training for my second Spartan race for months and it was the night before the race.
The Narcissist wanted to party and I was on a completely different page because my race was the next morning.
My boyfriend grew more and more aggravated as everyone else at the party let loose.
“What is wrong with you?”
“I have my race tomorrow.” I kept answering him.
He told me not to be so lame and that I could have a few drinks. I ended up having a few drinks.
I completed the race the next morning but knew I could have done so much better.
I was so frustrated that my boyfriend who didn’t even come and obviously cared so little about something I was trying to achieve.
#3. “You are making a big deal out of nothing.”
My relationship with my Mom is one that has been extremely rocky for a very long time.
A few years ago she came to visit and I ended up not seeing her because she was several states over and I didn’t have the time or finances to see her.
I was extremely upset because it was such a difficult decision to make and my “inconvenient” emotions frustrated the Narcissist to no end.
“You made the decision, it’s over and done with, why are you still upset over this?”
He asked me this around thirty minutes after I had made the decision not to go see her.
When I look back I am able to recognize that his response was telling me that I shouldn’t feel the way that I felt.
His words told me that my emotions were not valid and that I had no right to feel sad over the broken relationship with my Mom.
#4. “I’m sorry but I have no obligation to respond to you.”
When I was dating the narcissist there were days that would go by without a response.
We were supposedly in a committed relationship yet when I brought it up he would roll his eyes and tell me that I couldn’t expect him to respond every time I reached out to him.
When we were together if I did anything that even would silence upset him he would usually go completely silent for as long as he deemed fitting as punishment.
“The silent treatment is widely regarded as a form of emotional manipulation and even psychological abuse. It is the act of ceasing to initiate or respond to communication with someone else or refusing to acknowledge them all together” -Goodtherapy
When you are completely silent towards someone you are conveying that they aren’t worth the effort of speaking to and working through whatever caused the disagreement in the front place
What should you do if you are in this situation?
Some people will invalidate you without realizing that what they are doing is actually causing harm.
For example, say that you have had a bad day and someone tries to cheer you up and make you happy. Although they have good intentions it may be preventing you from working through your feelings because you think you “need” to be happy.
However, a Narcissist is completely aware that they are causing harm. If you are in a situation where someone is constantly invalidating your experiences, thoughts, and feelings you are in a situation that involves emotional abuse.
You can comfort your partner but my recommendation would be to begin removing yourself from the situation as you do not deserve to be with someone who pushes you down instead of lifting you up.