“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
You might be surprised to know that when someone asked me what the biggest issue for narcissistic abuse was for me, I had to say it was the constant invalidation of my feelings, thoughts and emotions. It LITERALLY made me feel like I was not a “real person” at all. No kidding.
The Definition of Validation
Because it took me a while to realize that I was actually worthy of being considered a real person, I figure some of my fellow victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse could use a quick definition on what I’m talking about.
So, validation is acceptance and recognition that thoughts, ideas or concepts are understandable and worth hearing. When a “normal” person validates someone, it means recognizing and accepting other people and their thoughts, feelings and concerns as legitimate.
It means accepting someone as a person.
And, even though a “normal” person may disagree or have a difference in opinion, he or she can still recognize value in the thoughts and opinions of other people. A “normal” person is likely to see even “abnormal” behaviors in an understandable way. Even someone who wouldn’t classify himself as an empath can display empathy – when we’re talking about your everyday, average Joe, of course.
However, when there’s a narcissist involved, we’re not exactly dealing with “normal,” are we? Instead, we’re stuck with a walking, talking human-like being who seems to have a complete hole in their soul. A narcissist isn’t capable of true empathy, so it only makes sense that you can’t expect them to validate you.
Invalidation is a Hallmark of Narcissistic Abuse
In fact, as it turns out, invalidation is one of the hallmarks of this kind of emotional abuse.
Sadly, there’s a simple reason, in my opinion: the narcissist sees you as a possession, an object – a thing. You are simply an extension of the narcissist, according to them. If they saw you as equal to themselves, it would shatter their grand illusion (the way they deceive themselves into thinking they’re better or more important than everyone else in the world).
That, and because it’s yet another way the narcissist gaslights you and keeps you tightly in place in the narcissistic supply chain.
What do you think? Why do narcissists refuse to offer validation, like, ever?
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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.