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The clue I was referring to was that suddenly, in the middle of an hours-long conversation, the mother unexpectedly exclaimed, “I was a bad little girl,” and went on to describe how horrible a daughter she had been.
It suddenly occurred to me that, despite appearances, she might really have been thinking about a good deal of the time during the conversation.
Are the people around you invalidating you and holding you back from progressing?
Invalidation is an element of toxic relationships, and I’m going to discuss both today.
Listeners would have no way of knowing this, and would be inadvertently led to believe that they were being mistreated by the apparent invalidator. I had a big clue that invalidators may actually be thinking about themselves when they appear to be invalidating others.
If it is, then they can claim that they were merely misunderstood.Family systems pioneer Murray Bowen framed this as a conflict between the forces of individuality and the forces of togetherness.Those with such a conflict suppress parts of themselves that do not seem to conform to what they believe other important family members expect of them, but the suppression is never complete.The “obsession” with the daughter had a very hidden component that my patient would have absolutely no way of knowing about. One of the main things I have learned over the years in dealing with dysfunctional families is that, when parents do the same thing over and over again in a compulsive manner, their children come to the conclusion that the parents need to keep doing whatever that is.The mother often disqualified herself while seeming to be in the process of invalidating her daughter. They will therefore give the parents repeated opportunities to keep doing it.
They accomplish this through wide range of deviant communicational phenomena “…such as self-contradictions, inconsistencies, subject switches, tangentializations, incomplete sentences, misunderstandings, obscure style or mannerisms of speech, the literal interpretation of metaphor and the metaphorical interpretation of literal remarks, etc." (p. They thought problematic behavior resulted from an unresolved conflict within the individual between two opposite courses of action.