I have felt emotionally invalidated by my husband for a very very long time now, and I struggle to understand, on a daily basis, why he can never understand why I feel the way I do.
I told him exactly this… And his text reply to me was “How am I invalidating you? I’m saying you (are) not talking logically. It’s all emotionally-charged words.”
Firstly, yes you are. Secondly, no they are not.
I figured that he had absolutely no idea what emotional invalidation meant (as with most things that involve feelings – not to stereotype, but is it just a man thing?), and so I did some simple Googling so that I could find the simplest definition for him.
Here’s what I got:
Emotional invalidation occurs when one’s thoughts and feelings are diminished, ignored, rejected.
And I have felt the invalidation so deeply for so long because it has been communicated to me, ever so often, that my emotions, thoughts and feelings are unreasonable or irrational – by the very person who claims to love me.
Sidebar: I have noticed it in his parenting style too, but how can I bring it up? My only choice is to write this post, in the hopes that he will read it and do something about it. I went through similar invalidation when I was growing up, probably due to the sheer stress of parenthood (plus I was not an easy child to bring up) – and that is why I feel so strongly about this.
Anyway, something happened last night that led to me feeling so small and unimportant. I won’t recount it here because it’s unnecessary, but I told Kevin how I felt about the series of events.
Once again, I was told that I was “making a big fuss”. What was new there?
I was angry. And in my signature style, started to formulate my argument about him downplaying every single emotion I feel.
So I did some research, and stumbled across an article about how HSP (Highly Sensitive Persons) are affected a lot more when it comes to invalidation.
Now my life makes sense. How have I not known about this term before?
I’m not about to regurgitate entire articles that start with the title “signs that you are a Highly Sensitive Person” because as I type, there is a very clingy 9-month-old boy clawing at me, imploring me with those big beautiful eyes of his to pick him up and cuddle him.
But if I were to pick the symptom that led me to truly believe I identify with other HSPs, it would be the fact that I am extremely sensitive about my environment.
Here are just some of them.
Time pressure really throws me off my game. This is why I hate doing anything last minute. I used to hand up my essays six weeks in advance, no kidding.
Sudden loud noises startle me way more than it should. Especially thunder. I’m usually the one cowering under the covers while my 2-year-old toddler exclaims, “mummy no scared”.
Change is extremely extremely upsetting for me (I can’t emphasise this enough), and this year was full of change. I gave birth to Isaac, was hospitalised for post-delivery complications immediately after childbirth, went through confinement, collected keys to my first home, Valerie went for surgery, supervised renovation, packed our lives out, moved home, unpacked our lives again, got used to having a helper and running my own household. In between I got hospitalised twice in the same month because I burnt out. And you wonder why. It’s just been… Insanely tough.
Apart from all of the above, I am very sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels, caffeine, alcohol, large public crowds, bright lights, fast traffic, and too many things occurring simultaneously. I also feel physically ill during conflict and from the lack of sleep (now how do I fix this since I am a mum and I have two young children under my care?).
I used to think these physical symptoms were due to my vertigo… But now there’s another reason? Sometimes I wonder why my body was created to be so special.
Alright, enough moping around. I need to prepare for my dad’s birthday dinner tomorrow.
If you’re interested to know more about HSPs, Google can be your best friend too.
Just thought I’d write this out since I had some time on hand.