Invalidation, as used in psychology, is a term most associated with Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Marsha Linehan.As I described in my post on the family dynamics of borderline personality disorder, “Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person said.I’m doing great.” She said this while she was in the process of cutting herself deeply near her carotid artery, which of course could kill her. Also, during this process, the daughter was also completely invalidating her mother’s expressed concerns about her well being.
One patient, one of the worst self-cutters I have ever treated, used to have phone conversations with her mother nearly every day that lasted for hours and hours.
On first listening, it sounded like the mother was expressing appropriate concern about the daughter’s cutting. I later learned that the conversation I listened to was essentially a rerun.
Family systems pioneer Murray Bowen framed this as a conflict between the forces of individuality and the forces of togetherness.
Those with such a conflict suppress parts of themselves that do not seem to conform to what they believe other important family members expect of them, but the suppression is never complete.
The two concepts are not just similar to each other, they go hand in hand!