Narcissistic invalidation in action
Thing is, being perfect is not a thing.
You and I know this, but the pathological narcissist cannot accept this.
It’s therefore unsurprising that pursuing substantiation of being such a mythical being is fraught with difficulties that cannot be resolved.
To handle these inconveniences, during the genesis of their disorder, the pathological narcissist divided the world into two extremes: the good and the bad. The perfect and the deeply, irrevocably flawed. The black & the white.
This need to allocate people, things, and events into one of the two extremes due to the inability to intellectually integrate both negative and positive qualities in the one entity, is referred to as splitting.
Obviously, the pathological narcissist allocates themselves to the all good/perfect category. And those who validate this view are of value to the narc, often idealised.
However, anyone who does not support this view is rejected, devalued and assigned the ‘all bad’ label.
This stunted and polarised thinking of the pathological narcissist is actually quite simple once decoded (albeit completely illogical and disordered, of course).
It goes like this: to retain beliefs of always being right and superior means that anyone who knowingly or unknowingly challenges these points, must be wrong and inferior.
Facts and logic don’t play into it. The ONLY thing that matters is that your thoughts, feelings, and experiences are negated.
Devaluation takes place by invalidating you, which to the disordered mind of the narcissist, validates their elevated status.
Unfounded contrariness reaches new heights in the world of the narcissist!
And this is the foundation of narcissistic invalidation.
In their minds, by denying you, in relation to whatever, means you cannot catch them out on their own denial about who they really are.
So, we’ve established the narcissist’s obsession for validation of the false-self, in order to deny the real-self, as the driver of their compulsive behaviours (I know it’s a mouthful!).
Thing is, that whilst they madly try to protect themselves from reality, simultaneously, a level of awareness of their truth shadows their existence.
This makes them hyper-sensitive to anything that has the potential to bring this to light. In addition to denying the truth, invalidation is used to exert and maintain control over you.
Anytime they feel suspicion you may be sniffing out who they really are, by invalidating you, your attention is diverted to refocus on what’s wrong with you.
It works every time until you wise up to their game.
It is so effective because, through the abuse, the narcissist has been training you to react emotionally to any triggering that targets your vulnerabilities. The programming is undertaken for the very purpose of derailing you and diverting you when required.
See, in this way, they are controlling you by avoiding accountability and silencing any potential threat to their fragile belief system. By voiding you, your experiences, thoughts, and emotions, they make the issue go away.
The ultimate red herring!
In doing this, they are also erasing all that makes you, you.
Spotting narcissistic invalidation
So, now we’re clear why invalidation and the narcissist go hand in hand, let’s check out examples so you can pause, assess when it’s happening, and learn to detach from their abuse thereby neutralizing its impact.
The starkest example is the cycle of narcissistic abuse where the narcissist displays the great awareness of how to intentionally apply validation, and it’s opposite, to manipulate you.
During idealization when you were love bombed to hook you into being a reliable source of supply, it was ALL about validating you. To successfully reel you into the relationship the narc was hyper-focused on making you feel acknowledged, valued, listened to, cared for, accepted, and understood.
Enter devaluation and discard, and the flip has taken place. Validation, no longer needed once you are hooked, is ditched. Invalidation becomes the norm to break down your strength and identity so that you remain dependent and compliant as a source of supply. Now you face relentless:
- Arguments about seemingly everything you express citing that you are illogical, your view is groundless and invalid, perhaps even crazy irrespective of facts
- Rejection, dismissiveness, and/or your needs, thoughts, and emotions are ignored
- Judgments that you are being defective in some way
In each of these scenarios, you can see how denial and diversion are at work.
The inference in all of these are that you are wrong, and they are right. That you are flawed and of no worth to them.