In Validation

I was having a day yesterday. A Motherfucking DAY. You know the type.

Everything was off, bad timing, grumpy-making. It started in the morning when I forgot my cell phone and had to come back for it. Then when I went to post office and the line was so long that I walked in and turned right around, giving up. By then I was late for work. Then my lunch sucked. Stupid leftovers. And I got in a pseudo-fight with someone. Okay two someones. Maybe three. I lost count and I hate math getoffmyback. And I did that thing where I invalidate my feelings and say it’s okay when it is totally not okay because I don’t want people to be mad at me or get their feelings hurt but somehow it is okay if mine get hurt.* WTF with that bullshit? Then I went to another post office on the way home and they were closed. Fuck this stupid package. Then at the grocery store I realized I forgot my list so I was just winging it trying to remember what I needed. I was in line when some lady cut in front of me for a refund on some soda deal which then gave her three 24 packs of soda and everyone knows no one should drink that much soda. She apologized to me and I was not that nice. . .as in I kind of rolled my eyes and pretended to pray with my hands up to my face and everything. That’s when I realized I forgot to get wine THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM ON MY LIST(!) but my cart was already unloaded. I had a moment where I thought, I could just walk away from this entire situation and get in my car. Leave the groceries on the conveyor belt and just fucking bolt. But I didn’t. I endured it with a vacant, half-smile plastered on my face.

I spent the entire day feeling small and wrong and less than.

I hope today is nothing like yesterday.

(*About that invalidation thing. . .below the jump I go into more detail.)

I keep doing it. Mostly with men.

I invalidate my feelings.

I assume they would not want to hear my bullshit. I even call it bullshit. I don’t want to “bother” them. I am certain they have “better things to do” than listen to me drone on about my daddy issues and low self-esteem moments. As if that’s all I am. As if I only offer the broken parts of me. I completely take away any responsibility from them and make the decision for them. That way, I go into it rejected and it totally fulfills my self-fulfilling prophecy that men will not show up for me.

(Thanks Dad.)

The worst part now is that I watch myself doing it. I am actually fully aware of this manipulative, fucked up crap I am pulling and as I’m doing it I sink deep, deep down into a dark hole inside myself where I am 14 and totally consumed with controlling an uncontrollable situation. But this is what I know. This is how I learned to cope in a situation that taught me in so many ways what to value or fight for or crave.

I know how to diminish my worth and my place in the world.

I dictate how little I deserve based on how good of a person I believe myself to be at any given moment.

I am never good enough and so of course no guy is going to prove me wrong. I never give any of them a chance, anyhow.

There is a part of me that actually gets that my father’s drinking had nothing to do with any deficiency on my part. But there’s also that part of me that wonders what I could have done differently or what I might have said that maybe would have changed his mind. Made him want to live or change or be happy.

When my dad gave up, I translated that to mean I did not matter. A lot of my behavior comes from a place of fear of not mattering. And now, years and years later, I am struggling against this desire for some man to show up- some broken man who loves me so much- and prove to me finally that I am worth fighting for, showing up for, changing for. So that I’ll feel like I matter.

I get all the ways this is fucked up. I’m trying to want something else. I’m trying to fight for myself and have that be enough.

“She will love them when she sees them/They will lose her if they follow/And she only means to please them/And her heart is full and hollow/Like a cactus tree/While shes so busy being free…” -Cactus Tree, Joni Mitchell


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35 thoughts on “In Validation

  1. i do the same thing, and am not sure why. maybe cuz i was a sensitive kid who cried at the drop of a hat, only to have my mother scold me for crying, being sensitive, and shy. “you’re just like your father!” like that was a bad thing.

    my BF loves me to death, but i still get insecure, and on top of that, kick myself for feeling insecure. he’s always understanding, but i still hate myself for feeling that way, for being “weak.”

    i’ve only recently started accepting my shyness as just part of who i am, and not beating myself up for not being outgoing or adventurous enough. i think that was why for a long while i thought, i’m better off on my own. what i interpreted as independence was really fear of rejection and critcism, whether or not that rejection or criticism were real.

    this buddhist monk calls those fears and worries ghosts of our own making, like an artist who draws a ghost and becomes scared of her own drawing.

  2. I can relate to the invalidation issue. I find myself tamping down feelings and things I want to say all the time. Just because I don’t want to “burden” friends with my crap. So I just shove it down somewhere deep inside. Of course, it just manifests in other ways. But as long as it’s just screwing up me and not anyone else, that’s OK right?!

    Thanks for posting this… it’s nice to know none of us are really alone sometimes.

  3. Basically Michael’s comment above is word for word what I would say. I keep so much bottled up inside because I don’t want to burden my husband or my friends. Or perhaps, to keep them from knowing just how broken I am. If I can perpetuate the illusion that I’m all OK, then maybe no one will find out how not OK I really am.

  4. You are so aware. I did this same thing with so many guys before I met Torsten. He was the first guy where I never felt like I had to be anything other than myself, say anything other than what was on my mind, compromise in ways that I shouldn’t have. Thank god.

    I hope your today is better than your yesterday.

  5. Isn’t it ironic how being self-aware doesn’t actually make you any more able to fix your shit?

    Funny, that.

    Maybe it would just be easier if we didn’t realize we were broken.

  6. I would have walked away from the groceries. I really really hope your learn to love yourself and know your worth as those who love you do.

  7. I really hope you have a better day. I think grocery clerks should get hazard pay, because who hasn’t lost it at the grocery store?

    My mom made me go to Alanon… I hated it, I am so not a public sharer and all that damn hugging, but I learned a lot about myself and how I relate to others. (not that I am cured or fixed)

  8. Sizz, your worth and place in this world is beyond compare. It’s brighter, this earthly place, because you exist in it. And that’s no sunshine blowing, either. My earthly place is better because you’re in it, and any guy who can’t see your inner beauty, the way you radiate light and confidence and creativity, isn’t worth a second glance. Truly.

  9. Lady, you don’t need a man to validate you. Easier said than done, I know. I haven’t met you in person, but I know, yes I KNOW, you are all sorts of gorgeous and wonderful from the inside out. You are you, Sizzle, a wonderful human being that this place would just be massively crappy without. You alone make this world better because of who YOU are.
    Love you loads and I mean it.

  10. Jeez. I hate days like that too.

    I can relate in how I say “it’s ok.” When it really isn’t.

    I see myself lose my cool and hate that I let it happen.

    Hope you’re feeling better now.. That and got yourself some wine.

  11. I feel kinda responsible because I suggested the wine, but I know it’s only a symptom. I think that that’s the same kinds of things Hoarders have going on with them They wish,hope & pray they can be better; what life could have been like if they just didn’t have that problem. What most of them wouldn’t give to be …whatever passes for “normal” Completely different issues- same type of feelings!

  12. the whole part about KNOWING your issues, but not being able to change even with that self-awareness? KILLS ME. and then i feel even worse since knowing is half the battle, right? so isn’t it EVEN WORSE that i know what i’m doing and still do it? vicious fucking cycle.

  13. first off, i feel for you. i know what it’s like to work through issues and think maybe you’re changing them only to observe yourself partaking in them still. knowing you ought to do better.

    i think you ought to just keep being aware, keep trying to observe those negative behaviors. keep correcting yourself when it happens, too, and when it does? supplant the negative with something positive. instead of “wow, i’m a negative this or that,” stop the thought and think, “wow, i deserve the absolute best in life. the best relationships, the best experiences. i’m worth it.” i realize that’s very Louise Hay up in here … but i find it to actually work.

    second, i don’t know, i think i’ve been dicked with so much by dudes that i don’t stick around long enough if i sense they’re not right for me (or me for them). maybe where i err is that i look for the signs a bit prematurely, and if i see them (or a suggestion of them) i just keep stepping. it feels empowering at the time but it may come from a place of dysfunction, or reaction…or i don’t know, maybe i’m just legitimately exhausted.

    you know, i’m not 18. i’m not wide eyed and bushy tailed all wanting an OMGBOYFRIEND. it’s like, hi dude, you’ve got about five minutes to show me you’re worth my time, and if not? i really have other things to do.

    cuz you know what? i totally do.

    wow, i’m a bitch.

    sorry.

  14. That part about taking the responsibility away from them, oh wow do I understand that. That and the arm’s length thing are my specialties. No one can hurt you of it’s you that made the choice, right? I don’t really know where I’m going with this other than to say I’m an expert at this too, and I’m working on it too. I think it’s a good thing to catch yourself in the act of doing it, even if the end result is being upset that you do it at all. Growth is so effing slow, isn’t it.

  15. I hope today was better. It would have been funny to leave the groceries on the conveyor belt.

    I am beginning to think that some of our issues are so deeply-embedded that we may only be able to fix them on a surface level. We try and we try and we try… then we feel worse because we can’t fix these issues that have been plaguing us for years. We get better, then we get worse. We have highs and lows. Unless you’re medicated, it doesn’t seem to go away quickly.

    Keep recognizing how you feel and acknowledging it. That is the first step. Whether or not you “fix you,” recognize what you feel :)

  16. You’re right. WTF is up with that bullshit? Most of the women I know do it. Most of them are not as brave to put it right out there like you do.

    Which leads me to believe you really do kick ass, and every time you’re finding yourself in that situation, you’re getting a smidge smarter and changing your actions to kick ass 110%!

    I’m sorry you had a bad day. :( Sometimes nothing lines up right.

  17. My dad didn’t give up, but then had to admit to his children that his only success was being sober. Not me, not his kids, his family, his relationship – nothing including me. And he wanted me to be happy abou it – and even knew that I wouldn’t understand it!

    He said sorry, I forgave him, then he died….

    People can’t fix what they did to fuck you up – they can only say, and really mean, that they are sorry. I now know that it is probably harder on them – guilt sucks – I can’t fix it, just apologize. You don’t need to be her…….

    I will probably always date fixer uppers like my dad, will always remember – but my ability to forgive and push forward has made my life a lot easier.

    And I have apologized for everything else that I have done to others that I consider unforgivable. I want them to accept the apology, realize that they may not – but most importantly forgive myself and move on.

    You are imperfectly beautiful and so am I.

  18. Oh man, I’ve had those days where I just wanted to throw everything to the ground and run home.
    I hope you are feeling better today. *hug*

  19. I so recognize that situation. I dealt with it for years and years. The alcoholic father, depressed and suicidal mother, abusive step-father… I gave it so much power for years. Did things even to stop feeling altogether. Can’t invalidate feelings if you don’t feel them… I went to therapists. I moved all the time, each time further away from the “scene of the crime”… And then one day, I realized that for me, at least, it was a choice. I was freely giving the power to something else, someone else. I made a choice not to do it anymore. It wasn’t easy at first, but when I found myself being negative or going into the downward spiral, I would step back and remind myself I have a choice. I didn’t have a choice when I was younger. I have a choice now. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but it got easier. And it keeps getting easier. Not saying I have it all figured out, but realizing that I have a choice was a MASSIVE weight off me. I also choose not to let things bother me, and I can be very quick tempered. If the post office is closed, who cares? Yeah, it’s inconvenient, but don’t let it affect your day. It is just closed. That’s it. Nothing personal. Nothing intentional. I used to let all these insignificant things (and at the end of the day, most things are) get me worked up into a frenzy. Now, I just chose to not let it bother me. Try it the next time. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but nothing to lose really, except maybe some stress… I have also learned that whatever people do to you, is not about you, it is about them. Everything my stepdad said would happen to me or said negative about me became the prison in which he is now living, miserable and alone. Absolutely everything. And my life, most of the time, is pretty fucking fantastic. Don’t carry around someone else’s baggage. I know I rambled on… Hope it makes some sense…

  20. I’m sure you know I totally get the invalidation thing. I do it too, and I excuse almost anything people do to me because somehow it must be my fault. Right now my friends suck. No one has called me (talking about real life friends, not blog friends, who have been pretty awesome), my friends are having their kids come over here to play instead of taking my kids to give me a break or something, etc. Somehow I make this my fault. You know, because I am “always having surgery” so I must be a huge pain to have as a friend.

    We both need to stop. If I knew how, I would tell you but as it is I am stuck in the same place as you are. I’m so sorry your day sucked so bad. It wasn’t your fault, I know you know that, but I also know knowing that doesn’t make it feel any less your fault when you are a person like you or me.

  21. I hate when I forget my grocery list at home.

    Also, god I get this. I let men treat me like crap for years and years and I never allowed myself to FEEL what I was feeling, and they were usually so good at belittling my emotions as “crazy” or “analyzing” or some other bullshit excuse. But I let them treat me like that. I showed them how to treat me, basically.

  22. As awesome as Ted is, he can only listen/empathize with so much and it’s usually not “enough” to get me out of my funk. I think that’s why we’re blessed with great girlfriends.

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