Let me set the scene.
Amanda has forgotten to do something she promised to do. When she realizes this and apologizes, promising again that she’ll do it, she’s met with hostility and anger. There are two other people in the room besides herself and the angry one, and they’re watching the scene impassively.
While she knows it’s her fault for forgetting her promise, she’s just been verbally abused and none of the bystanders did anything to stop it.
In fact, when Amanda’s husband later confronted them, they said, “She must just be tired.”
What just happened?
Amanda’s feelings were invalidated.
As if her feelings didn’t matter. As if her emotions were driven by feeling tired, instead of actual hurt inflicted upon her.
What’s even worse is that a lot of the time, we do this to ourselves.
Well, what does that look like? In fact, it’s pretty easy to spot. Most of the time it starts with “I shouldn’t” or “I should”.
- I shouldn’t feel so tired and stressed out. Other people have it worse than me.
- I shouldn’t feel excited about this victory – I’ll look so egotistical and arrogant.
- It’s okay to take on more things than I can really handle because my boss is counting on me.
- My weight loss isn’t as dramatic as a lot of people’s; I shouldn’t show too many people or they’ll think I’m just looking for attention.
- Ugh. I need to just get over this.
- I don’t deserve to feel bad about my life situation.
- I’d mess up that presentation so badly – someone else should give it.