If you were to ask me what the one (main) thing that is missing in my marriage, my answer would be VALIDATION. In other words, what I live with in marriage is the state of INVALIDATION.
Invalidation: is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge or diminish someone’s feelings. An attempt to control how they feel and for how long they feel it.
This definition comes from a site I recently found called eqi.org. The acronym stands for emotional quotient inventory. This is an excellent site with a ton of worthwhile reading- I highly recommend it. Here’s the link: http://www.eqi.org/invalid/htm
This form of emotional abuse has permeated my marriage from the very beginning. It starts out subtly, a little comment (that’s not the way it is) about something I have said or done. As you try to explain yourself the onslaught really begins.
excerpt from eqi article:(I added the one with *)
We are told you shouldn’t feel the way you feel
We are told not to feel the emotion
We are told you’re too sensitive
We are told you’re too dramatic
We are ignored
We are judged
We are told that what you’re feeling isn’t right-it’s wrong so wrong*
We are led to believe that there’s something wrong with us for feeling the way we do
And while we know what we feel and maybe even why we feel that way, the repeated assault on our feelings/emotions does silent damage to your soul.
“with enough invalidation; one person can figuratively if not literally drive another person crazy. When you deny peoples perceptions it makes mental invalids out of them.” (from eqi article on invalidation- it does not give an authors name). http://www.eqi.org/invalid/htm
With that statement in mind maybe I have become crazy. Crazy for putting up with the bullshit, 20+ years of emotional abuse. Denying how someone feels is not only disrespectful but harmful as well. Even if you don’t agree with someone- you understand that disagreeing doesn’t mean that you think the other person is wrong, it simply means you have a different point of view. Each of us is a unique individual with feelings and emotions. A living, breathing human not a robot to be programmed. Even children must be allowed the right to feel as they feel without being put down. Constant invalidation undermines ones ability to process life’s events, to determine what needs to happen, to make wise choices. That ability gets washed away when everything you think is invalidated by another.
I really shouldn’t be surprised that invalidation continues to reek havoc in my current situation. Husband seems to think I shouldn’t have any feelings related to his infidelity. No triggers, no worries, no doubts, no wondering about what went on in his secret life. No feelings what so ever and if I try to share anything I’m feeling we usually end up in an argument and he INVALIDATES them. Does he really think that I could go on forever like nothing ever happened. He certainly must because he has not changed his attitude. He will say “I can’t believe your still stuck on that”, “just get over it”, “why do you still want to talk about it?”, “why are you still thinking about that?”, “trust me”. HA!! He continues to deny the hurt and pain that discovering this has caused me. He continues to invalidate my feelings. And he wants me to trust him. WTF Is he that big of a moron not to see how this could effect me and my outlook. Did I really expect anything different from him? I know he’s a narcissist, that he can’t FEEL the way non-disordered people feel. There is no empathy within him. I see how this effects everything between us.
I was willing to forgive him (perhaps too quickly) for past indiscretion/s, taking the sign that he didn’t leave after D-Day, that he really did want to make this marriage work. But then he refused to talk about going to any counseling, he is absolutely not transparent in his daily activities, does not want to answer any questions (except for the twice that we did talk in the beginning), does not want to acknowledge the trauma I was/am suffering from. He expects changes from me (you’d think I was the one who had the affair) the way mid-life depression cloud over him. I don’t see much effort/changes in his behavior (or in areas that I said HE needed to work on). It seems he realizing he’s not as special or wonderful as he would like to think. Just human like the rest of us. We make mistakes, we fall down, pick ourselves up and acknowledge that we’re not perfect.
I will however give credit where credit is due; I see that he trying to be nicer to me. Spending time together, having a date night about once a week, going places and doing things, even some household chores or projects that needed to be addressed. I did/do appreciate all the good things that he does/provides for me and sons. Life isn’t all bad for us. Years ago, I said “for better or worse”, I got both.
But his refusal to help me heal, and his continued secretive ways left me no alternative but to dig in and find some answers to the questions that haunted me. That was probably a big mistake on his part. While he controls everything paperwork/financial wise (paperwork nightmare) he is also a paper hoarder and a very disorganized one at that. There were at least six large tote bins of unopened mail, old statements, receipts etc. that we had recently begun to sort when he couldn’t find something for our taxes. I took it upon myself to continue what we had started. There are things that are dated fifteen years ago. A lot of it just needed to be shredded. But as I sorted the important ones into piles I found phone bills, bank statements, even receipts from throughout the years.
The bank statements revealed purchases for things/places that weren’t mine or I had never been to. Monies received from stock sales or mergers he never told me about (a lot of $$). Many, many older business cards with women’s names & phone numbers (men’s too) hand written on them. I willing to think that some of them were probably business related (let’s say 20%) but that still left an awful lot of them. But probably the most incriminating were the phone records. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.
He had been texting/calling the fucking bitch for at least TEN years! Yet he swears it was only an emotional affair! I’m not that stupid! It was very convenient for him to meet with her as she lives and works between our house and his work. He has the type of job that allows flexibility to come and go, and requires him to work late frequently. Obviously not as often as he proclaimed. The phone bills are what showed throughout the years, there have been many more women. (If you don’t have reverse phone look-up get it.) Credit card receipts for jewelry and hotels that obviously weren’t for me. When does this ever end? I was utterly shocked!!
Why in the world was he still married to me? If he was so unhappy why stay together? Why lure me back with promises and romance when I tried to leave him? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why had he done this? It was at that point I realized I was deep in the middle of an truly disordered man.
I haven’t said a thing to him that I know all of this. One thing I learned early on was don’t confront (immediately). He’ll just lie about it (or one of his half-truths which are even harder to decipher). Then he will know how I found out and changes the way he operates. If I hadn’t confronted him so quickly in the beginning, I could of accessed a lot more information easier. I felt betrayed all over again! The only good thing this new information showed me was that HE WAS CHEATING ON THE BITCH TOO! I will definitely someday enlighten her.
Those horrible gut feelings and thoughts that plagued my mind. They were there for a reason. To allow me to find the evidence I needed to understand what had been happening behind my back. Feelings that showed me something was not right, that I had been deceived in the past. Ah the key word, the PAST! Was it still happening???
At the moment I didn’t even really care – I finally received overdue VALIDATION! And it was feeling pretty damn good (the bad part hadn’t sunk in yet). I wanted to bask in my moment. I finally had (not from him) received VALIDATION in my marriage!! Not really the way it needs to be but i’ll take it for now.
Ha Ha mother fucker you thought you were so fucking smart- got sloppy and I gotcha you, you lying bastard!
Invalidation is toxic, long term exposure changes how one thinks and feels. Of course there are other things that are missing in my marriage but invalidation is a big one for us.
What’s missing in your marriage/relationship? Tell me one thing (behavior wise) you wish you had more of in yours. How has it effected you? Have you been able to add more of it into your life somehow?