Self-validation is one of the best ways for emotionally sensitive people to manage their own feelings.Self-validation is the step that comes before self-compassion.Gaslighting is a great demonstration of invalidation. This is the gaslighting part of what I was unintentionally doing to my wife.Here’s a list gleaned from eqi.org, a site about emotional intelligence, of things people say — some intentional, some unintentional — to invalidate a spouse: • “You’re so sensitive.” • “That’s ridiculous. Validation is modeled in marriage when we safely allow our spouse to share his or her thoughts and feelings.
Some people have a difficult time reflecting back what their spouse is saying because they fear it means they agree with that perspective or interpretation of the facts. I can debate for hours the particulars, specifics, figures, statements and events as Erin sees them. This not only helps her feel safe, it also takes us to a deeper level of intimacy.When I say, “Erin, I really understand that you are hurting, that this has wounded you,” I am not necessarily saying, “Erin, I agree with you, and I was wrong.” Rather, I am saying, “I could tell that this really hurt you, and your feelings mean the world to me. ” It’s also important that you verbally communicate that you are with your spouse — on the same page and on the same team.The more you listen to and validate your spouse’s thoughts and feelings, the more connected you will feel.Communicating when overwhelmed with emotion does not usually work well.Being overwhelmed with emotion is not a pleasant experience.