To be validated as a child is highly important in creating a functional and psychologically healthy adult. When this validation is not received and a child is invalidated, it can lead to all kinds of problems
If a child is abused in some way, one of the most important things, if not the most important, is for the individual to be validated and acknowledged for what happened in their childhood.
In order for what has happened to be healed and processed the individual will need to be acknowledged and validated for their story.
Acknowledgement And Validation
It is the moments in their history when they were abused that need to be heard. This could be called the inner child or the traumatic memories that are giving off emotions, feelings, thoughts and sensations. It does not matter what it is classed as.
What is clear is that in order for the individual to be able to move on from their past; the past has to be validated and acknowledged.
The problem here is that it is highly unlikely that the perpetrators of this abuse will ever be able to validate the Childs experience. If they had as much awareness then they would surely not have carried out such abuse in the first place.
And this is what creates so many problems for the individual who was abused; to move on with their life and in their journey to becoming a functional human being for the first time.
This is a result of the amount of power caregivers have over their children. The caregivers are god like; the Childs whole survival rests on them. For the child to go against the parent’s word would be associated as death by the child. Rejection and abandonment could ensue if the child was to go against their caregiver at that age.
So, it is clear to see that as an adult it is not necessary to have the same caregivers to survive. And if this is the case, why do people that were abused feel the need to have their caregivers validate them?
I believe that the reason for this is that the part of them that needs their validation is not the conscious part of the person. The part that needs the validation is the inner child that was abused. This inner child remembers everything that has happened. It is said that the inner child lives just above the stomach. This child is powerless and vulnerable.
What Happens Then?
This inner child or memories of the past constantly appear in the present moment. And when this happens the body reacts as is did during those early moments of abuse. Years might have passed, but the body still responds in the same way.
It is then normal and natural for the inner child to look to the original abusers for the validation that it desperately needs to heal and process what has happened. And this is when the pain begins all over again.
The normal response here could be denial and complete dismissal of what has happened by the caregivers. And then again these caregivers might also still behave in the same way.
And when this happens the individual that was abused all those years ago can easily become frustrated and hopeless; falling back into how they were made to feel all those years ago. Rage and anger can surface as a consequence of this hurtful invalidation.
For these individuals to be abused is more than enough and yet to experience denial and invalidation on top of that; creates more pain and suffering. And they have more than likely been invalidated from the moment they were born.
This can lead to numerous consequences. Either the individual can begin to question their own story; maybe they are making it up or overreacting. It can also lead to the motivation to seek outside or alternate validation; in the form of a therapist, alternate family member, support group or friend for example.
The first option can create serious consequences. One thing that could happen out of the caregivers denial of what happened is that the individual who was abused starts to believe what the caregivers are saying.
Here the individual will further identify with how they were treated all those years ago; continuing to harm themselves internally and externally. They might even fall into the trap and start to believe that they are lying and that there is something wrong with them.
What makes it so hard for them to break out of this cycle is that if the caregivers are denying what they are saying and if their reality is mirroring back to them how they were treated all those years ago, it becomes close to impossible to break away.
The second option of seeking alternate validation is likely to be the most successful. Here, they will not be denied or dismissed; they will be acknowledged and validated and done so without judgment or blame.
This will cause their inner child to grow and harmonize within the individual. And this will allow the individual to observe the inner child; as opposed to being the inner child.
After the abused individual has been acknowledged and validated by these alternate means; it will start to become possible for them to validate and acknowledge themselves.
This is important; because a lot of time and energy can be wasted looking for validation from the original abusers. And more often than not, this won’t be possible.
A New Story
And the better one can observe their inner child and their story the easier it will become for the individual to get in touch with their true nature.
A new story can be created; a story that empowers them and reflects who they really are. They can come to know that they are not their past.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.