How many times did you come home from a stressful day of work, or experience a stressful situation throughout the day and come home to tell your partner how you felt and they responded by saying “I am sorry, that stinks, or you should have done this instead of that”.
In these moments I am sure you did not feel supported by your spouse and rather felt alone or judged.
Many couples do not effectively show emotional validation. They do not understand how to validate someone’s feelings.
Due to the limited amount of emotional validation each partner receives within a marriage or couple, there is an increase in frustration and animosity.
Emotional validation is when one partner shows an understanding and acceptance for the other partner’s emotional experience.
This doesn’t just mean rephrasing what your partner is saying, but rather showing an understanding through your words, actions, and gestures.
Psychology behind seeking validation in relationships
When a person receives emotional validation within the dynamic of a marriage, they feel supported and that their feelings are true and valued.
The individual who is experiencing an emotionally distressing situation feels a sense of certainty in their responses that leads to feeling emotionally stronger when they receive emotional validation.
On the contrary, when one does not receive emotional validation they may feel rejected, ignored, or judged by their partner.
A sense of rejection from one’s partner can lead to an increase in fights or lead to further feeling disconnected and alone.
Do you feel flat out invalidated by your partner?
Whether you are receiving emotional dismissal from your significant other or are the one invalidating your partner’s feelings, it would be helpful to read these tell-tale signs of emotional invalidation in a relationship.
You are partners in a relationship, where there is no scope for one upmanship or callousness when it comes to caring about your feelings.
You don’t have a say in decision-making on important subjects in relationship.
They reject your emotions and instead tell you how you should feel.
They resort to stone-walling or silent treatment when you try to put your point across.
They pin the blame of your distress or unhappiness on your perceived sensitivity.
They shut the discussion and dismiss the whole point of having a conversation.
After a conversation with your partner, you feel ignored, rejected and judged harshly
Your relationship has turned into a one-sided conversation
There is an absence of any cues that suggest they are listening
How to validate someone’s feelings
In order to effectively emotionally validate your partner, here are simple steps you can follow.
Stop what you are doing and listen
Understand the emotions that your partner is expressing
Work to understand what contributed to their feeling.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Samantha Pastier is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. Samantha works with couples and families on addressing issues related to adjustments, family conflict, parenting issues, communication issues, infidelity, and enhancing emotional support within the marriage. While addressing systemic issues Samantha’s approach blends a combination of evidenced based practices that have a holistic nature, where we focus on how your actions, thoughts, feelings, and your body's physiology all work together to create positive change. Samantha will also work to assist couples with identifying the root cause of the shift within the marriage and then enhance the couple's ability to problem solve, communicate, and compromise with one another to help re-allign both partners. Samantha’s treatment approach will also work to create enhancements in intimacy, respect, and affection. Samantha will also help the couples remove barriers to the emotional connection and work to re-create a sense of empathy and understanding that has been lost throughout the couples current season of life.
(Samantha Pastier is also listed in Best Marriage Therapists in Allentown)