I had to learn the hard way what it meant to be on the receiving end of invalidation. Experts agree that experiencing invalidation is one of the most traumatic parts of any abusive relationship. Those who invalidate are experiencing a big black hole in themselves. They are often personality disordered individuals – though invalidation can happen on a spectrum. This is not just someone dismissing your feelings in an inadvertent way. It’s not just disagreements about facts or happenings.
It’s calculated. It’s cold. It’s incessantly undermining your thoughts, cares and feelings. And in some extreme cases, it’s attempting to wipe you from memory, or live as though you don’t exist.
I experienced this frequently in my marriage, and then it became all that I knew of my once-husband after our divorce. He has done everything in his power to pretend as though I don’t exist. He lives in a reality he created where the only ones who believe him are equally as sick – or are strangers, who simply don’t know any better. There are literally hundreds of people who know the truth about our relationship, but to him, they don’t exist either. He hides from and alienates those who know the truth. He runs from himself every single day. Last I heard he was scrambling to keep the truth away from his new soon-to-be wife.
Running from the truth is a prison. One day I hope he is free from it, but I digress.
This has been very hard for me to heal from. I have literally had to start from the ground up and fill all those holes that were created from the acid that was poured on me. Not only have I experienced devastating parental alienation, but he has added to that acting like I don’t even exist anymore to my son. He tells him I don’t love him. He tells him I am nowhere to be found. A person who once gave everything I had to them both – now to he and a few others – I am worth no more than a stranger off the street. In fact, a stranger would receive more respect.
This is devastating to a person’s mental health but it has taught me some valuable lessons about people, relationships and myself.
I survived, and I am still here.
The truth, it is still the truth.
The people who live in the light, they are not afraid to stay there.
I share with you this very personal story because you may have experienced some level of invalidation in your own relationship, or within your blended family. There are many things that have been a blow to me in my life, but having someone systematically dismantle my character, my needs, my thoughts, etc., has been one of the hardest.
So to those who attempted to invalidate me – I am still here.
You didn’t ruin me. In fact all you did was make me stronger.
Ignoring or rewriting my existence didn’t work.
Assassinating my character only made yours weaker.
While you were busy lying about me, I grew into a warrior that you can never defeat.
I don’t have to create a new life every time I fail, like you do.
I don’t have to try to mitigate contact with others because I’m afraid the truth will catch up to me, like you do.
While you were busy guarding your house of shifting sand, I was building mine on the rock.
Therefore, you shudder every time a storm comes, while I welcome it.
While you pretend your version of life is the truth, others fly past you in reality, experiencing wholeness and joy. And all you ever experience is anxiety, ignorance and confusion.
I will pray for those who tried to wipe me from memory. Who have bought this BS story and who act like ripping my soul out was no big deal. However, I want to mention that my prayers have turned from “show them this pain” to “show them this light”. One day you will have to face it, and my hope is that when you do, it will be because you finally opened your heart to wisdom and truth instead of whatever this is. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be free from this prison you created for yourself. Growth is painful – it is SO painful. But I only ever wanted you to experience the beauty on the other side of that pain. To grow out of that sick repeated pattern into your best version. One who doesn’t have to run or hide or fear or lie. One who gets to know true peace.
And it will forever be my wish for you.
Until then, just a reminder, the truth is still the truth. I still love that boy and I will always bring my humble heart to meet yours on the day that you’re ready to bring truth to the table.
And I’m still here, doing one hell of a job of living free.