“Everybody is looking for validation, no matter who you are, and I think that’s a need of the human condition – to look for affection or recognition or validation.” ~Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
If you are or have ever been involved in any sort of relationship with a toxic narcissist, there’s a chance that you’ve been educating yourself on what you’re dealing with.
But the truth is that all of the name calling, verbal cut-downs and narcissistic control that you deal with are only the beginning – and as horribly painful as they can feel, the absolute worst part of being mentally and emotionally abused by a narcissist comes down to one thing: the devalue phase.
Why do I say this? I mean, after all, we already know that every part of the narcissistic abuse cycle can literally become debilitating.
But, it’s about more than that – it’s about validation.
I’ll elaborate in this video:
It’s when you talk and you get only grunts in response. Nothing that actually indicates the narc has heard you or understood you – just a pause and a breath.
He’s just waiting until it’s his turn to talk again, after all. He could care less what’s happening inside your head – he only wants to know that you’re there for him.
If you think back, you might remember that, if you asked him (or he volunteered) how he felt about you, he always said things like:
- I love the way you make me feel.
- I love how you always listen.
- I love that you’re always there when I need you.
- I love how you take care of me.
See how there wasn’t really anything about YOU PERSONALLY there?
And it’s not that you should really care or even feel offended – I mean, it’s just the narcissist’s “way” right?
Well, that would be the case if you didn’t seem to catch the narc appearing to genuinely connect with other people when he’s more of a brick wall when it comes to understanding YOU.
He will be nice to them. He will seem to have empathy for them and if you dare to even bat an eyelash the wrong way in regard to those people? He will tell you HOW THEY FEEL! And still, when it comes to you, the narc seems to have a blind spot, as far as you can tell.
But then you start to wonder. What’s so bad about me? Am I really as (insert insulting lie here – crazy/lazy/ugly/bitchy/stupid, etc.) the narc says I am?
So, by devaluing and disregarding you with those subtle little behaviors, the narcissist achieves his goal: to beat you down emotionally and mold you into the good little supply he wants.
And once he does, the happiness you hope he’ll find will never quite arrive. Because the more you try to become perfect for a narcissist, the more he loses respect for you.
Over time, he will have you believing that you’re not even an actual human who even deserves to be treated with even the most basic dignity. And you will find yourself acting in kind as you desperately seek to justify it to yourself with thoughts of personal change and self-sacrifice.
You rack your brain on ways YOU can change in order to elicit change from him.
But here’s the thing – none of that will matter unless both people are willing to give.
You can only change so much without any reciprocation at all. Compromise means two parties come to mutually agreeable resolution in which both parties get what they want. Otherwise it’s just you giving and giving and him taking. Feel me?
Now it’s your turn – what do you think? Is validation one of the biggest things you’re missing when it comes to your relationship with a narcissist? Are you forgetting who you are? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments and let’s discuss it.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.