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Are your feelings being dismissed? Signs of Emotional Invalidation and How You Can Set Boundaries

emotional invalidation

Being in a relationship where your feelings are consistently dismissed can take a toll on both your emotional well-being and the health of the relationship. When we don’t feel heard or understood by another this can lead to a greater disconnect in the relationship. Not only does this create greater communication hiccups, but it can also weigh on your self-esteem and the long-term outcome of the relationship. 

We will explore the signs of emotional invalidation and how you can set a boundary to create alignment in the relationship. 

Signs of Emotional Invalidation: Emotional dismissal can manifest in various ways, creating an environment where one partner's feelings are consistently undermined.

  • Minimization: Your partner downplays the significance of your emotions, making them seem less important or valid than they are.

  • Invalidation: Your feelings are directly invalidated, with statements like, "You shouldn't feel that way" or "You're overreacting."

  • Defensiveness: When you express your feelings, your partner becomes defensive instead of trying to understand your perspective.

  • Ignoring or Avoiding: Your partner actively avoids discussing your feelings or ignores them, hoping they will go away on their own.

  • Lack of Empathy: Your partner struggles to empathize with your emotions, failing to understand or share in your experiences.

  • Dismissing Non-Verbally: Through body language or facial expressions, your partner dismisses or shows disinterest in what you're expressing.

  • Changing the Subject: When you bring up your feelings, your partner consistently redirects the conversation away from the topic.

  • Gaslighting: Your partner may try to make you doubt your own feelings or perceptions, causing confusion about what you're experiencing.

  • Interrupting: Your partner consistently interrupts you when you're trying to express your emotions, preventing you from fully sharing.

  • Belittling: Your feelings are belittled, making you feel small or unimportant when you open up about your emotions.

emotional invalidation

Long-Term Impact on Relationships:
  • Communication Breakdown: Emotional dismissal creates blocks in open communication, leading to a breakdown in the sharing of thoughts and feelings. Over time, partners may become distant or emotionally detached.

  • Resentment: Constant dismissal breeds resentment, creating a toxic atmosphere where negative emotions fester. Resentment can build silently and impact the overall satisfaction within the relationship.

  • Lack of Intimacy: Emotional dismissal can hinder the development of emotional intimacy. Without a safe space to express vulnerabilities, the relationship may lack the depth necessary for true connection.

Impact on Self-Esteem:
  • Self-Doubt: Continuous dismissal can lead to self-doubt, making individuals question the validity of their emotions and perceptions.

  • Diminished Confidence: When feelings are consistently belittled or ignored, confidence erodes, impacting one's ability to assert themselves and communicate effectively.

  • Emotional Withdrawal: To protect themselves from repeated dismissal, individuals may withdraw emotionally, leading to a diminished sense of self-worth.

Setting Boundaries:

Boundary Badass Method - A.S.A.P. 

  • Assess with open-ended discovery questions

  • Set a boundary using a value - mutual respect or communication 

  • Agree to a mutually beneficial plan 

  • Proceed with the plan for accountability 

You: How come when I ask for consistency in communication you agree but then don’t follow through?

Them: I just get busy I guess and forget to reach out

You: I feel undervalued when I don’t hear back from you. I value communication. How can we work together to find a frequency that works for us? 

Them: I’m not much of a texter. I rather see you in person. On days when we can’t see each other, I will call after work to chat for a bit. Does that work? 

You: I understand you have work. A text here or there throughout the day is nice. But, if you’re busy then calling at night will work too. Glad we found a solution. 

Them: Me too. 

Being in a relationship where feelings are consistently dismissed can have profound and lasting effects on both the relationship and individual well-being. Recognizing the signs, understanding the long-term impact, and implementing boundaries are crucial steps toward fostering a healthier and more fulfilling connection. Remember, a relationship built on open communication, empathy, and respect for each other's emotions is better equipped to thrive and withstand the tests of time.

Want to learn how to set boundaries and feel heard in your relationship? Sign up for a call here.


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