Invalidation: 9 ways of belittling people

Judgmental ways of communicating


Ordering you to feel differently

  • Get over it
  • Don’t be so sensitive

Ordering you to “look” differently

  • Don’t look so serious
  • Don’t look so proud of yourself

Denying your perception, Defending

  • You’ve got it all wrong
  • But of course I respect you

Trying to make you feel guilty while invalidating you

  • I tried to help you
  • At least I …
  • You are making everyone else miserable

Trying to isolate you

  • You are the only one that feels that way
  • It doesn’t bother anyone else, why should it bother you?

Minimising your feelings

  • You must be kidding
  • It can’t be that bad

Using reason

  • There is no reason to get upset
  • Let’s stick to the facts
  • Maybe it’s because …

Judging and labelling you

  • You have a problem
  • You are too sensitive
  • You are hopeless

Telling you how you “should” feel or act

  • You should be excited
  • You shouldn’t let it bother you


Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone’s feelings. When we invalidate a person’s feelings, the implied messages are:
I know what you should feel more than you know about yourself.
You must be weird for not feeling what I feel.
I don’t approve of what you feel.
Don’t be yourself, be what I expect you to be.

Psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality. Each person’s feelings are real. Whether we like or understand a person’s feelings they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality. It is like telling water not to be wet. There are many forms of invalidation. Most of them are so insidious that we don’t even know what is happening.

Everything above the line is not my work.

I found the first in an image in a Facebook status after I’d followed this link called Autistics being Invalidated on Twitter. The second was another image I found when searching in Google to try to find the source of the first image. I was unable to find the origin of either image, so I am sorry if I have infringed anybody’s copyright.

I have copied the text of both so they can easily be readable on many devices including small screen phones.


These words speak to me because of the way people can and do speak to me when I am trying to cope with autistic over-stimulation. My feelings are my feelings, I cannot see why I should always have to explain my feelings when non-autistic people do not. You can take this as the second part of a blog I wrote on 14th November 2018 on Tone Policing. A short but more academic approach to the invalidation of feelings is here if you want to read further.


One thought on “Invalidation: 9 ways of belittling people

  1. Donkey

    My mother’s one was: “Are you a man, or a mouse?” [implying I should man-up and tolerate it].
    This is coming from a ‘Feminist’.

    Gender inequality is OK as long as you’re not the victim of it, is the lesson.
    Then you point-out the hypocrisy and how it causes avoidable conflict and you get gaslighted that they’re not hypocrites.

    One way of creating agency in this life is through believing your own lies in order to appear more plausible – and by extension having to maintain frame and gaslight others no matter what.

    Women tend to do this, I find (but not just women). The probable biological-evolutionary reasons for choosing this are very interesting and revealing. To choose this form of agency as opposed to force via muscles, or logic and reason, for a couple of crude male-associated alternatives, (obviously these are both on a cross-gender spectrum of behaviour), is to prove that men and women aren’t actually equal, and the hard limits of this are due to biology.
    One type of manipulative force is tolerated and the other not, in women’s favour.
    This has been the case in Western society for decades now.
    Matriarchy is real, patriarchy is just ostensible, in my experience. Plausible-deniability is key to maintaining this power and agency.
    Which is not ‘equal’ at all, and if one says that, they gaslight and minimise your position, claiming the inequalities against men don’t matter. That you’re exaggerating. Male suicide statistics are not an exaggeration! Autistic suicide statistics being so high are not an “exaggeration”.
    It’s not just me, hence the Red Pill movement or whatever it is (I don’t get involved).
    There are many elephants in the room here – many lies of omission, which again are the type of lies that people who want to use plausible deniability when caught, use for reducing their personal exposure to risk.

    As a public example of why such self-delusion and such is bad, and in this example, in a male (not sure one would want to call him a ‘man’ out of respect for honest men, but that concept is a Matriarchal ‘men must be honest to make lying women’s life easier’ ploy, isn’t it?): check out photos of Tony Blair’s face between early 1997 and ten years later. See any deterioration, probably due to the stress of such huge cognitive dissonance?

    So, belittling those who like the innocent child in The Emperor’s New Clothes, speak up and tell the truth, is perhaps one of the most evil and insidious behaviours possible, when scaled-up to the global level.
    We’re all linked.
    Divisive idiots, including ostensible ‘Feminists’ who covet power too much, fail to realise that power corrupts – and ultimately fail to see the wider picture, seem to forget that.

    As do those who make Autism an “Us and them” In-Group vs Out-Group issue.
    Which are the NTs.
    “I’m not anti-social, society is anti-ME”, remember?

    One day they might wake up. As might those AS who are addicted to their mask and not willing to ‘come out’. Might… What do they fear, being belittled based on lies? Lies lose their power in a culture where everyone stops relying on them so much and stands for verified truth a lot more than we currently do.
    What is the solution, then? It’s staring us right in the face.

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