For some reason or other I continuously feel unvalidated. The sensation of not being validated is my constant companion, so to speak. It clings to me and accompanies me wherever I go like chronic body odour. Nothing I can do seems to shake it. It’s not just that nothing I do seems to shake either, nothing I do actually does shake it. I can no more run away from this feeling than I can run away from my own shadow. And not only this – which is bad enough – it is as if my sense of being unvalidated is like an aura around me that other people can see, that other people can tune into like a channel on TV. They tune into it instantly and know all about me – they have my number. It is as if I am involuntarily sending out a signal or message broadcasting the fact that I am feeling chronically unvalidated. And actually there is no ‘as if’ about it – I know for a fact that I am sending out this signal, this message.
How do I know this? Simple – I am forever attracting a particular type of person into my life. I am attracting the type of people who take a particular delight in devalidating even further than I already feel devalidated. There is a particular class of person who is drawn to anyone who might happen to have what I call ‘devalidation issues’; they are drawn to the opportunity to say nasty devalidating things to those of us who already feel devalidated because they know their malicious spiteful comments will always hit their target, will always provoke the desired response. No matter how lame or clichéd the comment, it always strikes home! These comments are delivered completely gratuitously, without any sort of provocation or justification at all. They are delivered as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do so; as if the person delivering the devalidating comment had every right to be behaving in this way, as if it perfectly acceptable to make someone who is already feeling bad about themselves feel a hundred times worse…
Of course I feel that this is incredibly unfair. Wouldn’t you? It staggers me every time it happens and – as I have indicated – it happens all the time. It’s a regular occurrence. It’s what I have come to expect. But at the same time I can see where they’re coming from. I can almost sympathize with them. They’re only jumping on the bandwagon, after all. The bandwagon’s already there – they’re just jumping on for the ride! Sure if there’s a bandwagon there you might as well jump on it. Who wouldn’t? That’s human nature. How can I blame all the people who take the opportunity to devalidate me – I’m giving them permission after all. What else would you expect, right? If you offer someone on the street a fifty euro note for free, do you think they’re not going to take it? Why wouldn’t they take it, for god’s sake?
So what I’m saying I guess is that I feel that I have to take responsibility for this phenomenon of people gratuitously being nasty to me and doing their best to make me feel bad about myself. Making me feel worse about myself than I already do. That’s right thing to do right? Taking responsibility is the mature thing to do. Of course this doesn’t work out for me either if I’m to be perfectly honest about it. It doesn’t exactly help me feel better about myself. It’s a bit of a conundrum – I don’t know how to get out of it. I have tried therapy of course and that has also backfired on me. I did all these affirmations every day and practiced all this positive self talk but that just made me feel like a bigger twat than ever – who was I trying to fool; after all? Why would I be telling myself that I wasn’t a complete loser unless I was – in fact – a complete loser? Did you ever hear someone who felt good about themselves telling themselves repeatedly that they weren’t a fuckup?
I tried CBT as well and tried switching the self-critical thoughts for self-validating thoughts instead. I went around trying to give myself a break from all the negative self-talk that goes on in my head. Trying to be a bit fairer to myself. That didn’t work either – I’d keep it up for a while and then the effort would become too much for me and then all the devalidating thoughts would come back with more force than ever. And then I’d feel like a therapy failure on top of everything else – I’d feel like the type of person that just couldn’t be helped by therapy. That’s one of the most devalidating thoughts ever, I can tell you. You’re a special class of loser then, for sure.
So what’s the answer, I hear you ask. What works? What does help? I wish I knew. I’m sorry to end on such a negative note but I don’t have the foggiest idea….