"I am extremely hurt by this labeling Kathleen. I am COMPLETELY misunderstood. And I don't think there is anything that I can do about it..."
The above quote is my sister’s response to an email I sent to my family when I first entered therapy back in 2010. I became interested in the insights from therapy models (like the DBT Skills Group I was enrolled in at the time. I applied these skills daily and found them very beneficial. I also was fascinated by the results of some MBTI assessments of myself and immediate family members.
As stated previously, the purpose of these posts is to sort through a somewhat disturbing grain of truth weaved throughout my inner emotional world. At the core of my greatest struggles is the realization that my emotional world is ripe with a paradoxical irony I can't quite wrap my mind around. As someone who happens to be studying the field of psychology at the graduate level, I'm having trouble shaking these personal realizations. Human nature is - after all - at the core of my field of study. It would be ridiculous to study this stuff and not take time to apply it meaningfully to my own life wouldn't it?
As I sit here and prepare to work on another blog post a pile of school notes and old journals beckon me. While thumbing through them, a favorite book comes to mind (Silverstein, 1976). Within these piles of material are themes prevalent in my thinking that this book describes so succinctly. My own missing pieces are at first represented by deep wells of unresolved trauma which are the primary subject my old journals.
One night after my family went to bed, I began my homework. While sifting through journal articles, the above quote jumped out at me. In light of recent affairs, it forced me to stop and think. At this point in life, I'm working hard to overcome old patterns and "get unstuck”. In addition to working on a Master’s degree, I’m trying to pay off some debt, and lose weight. As I work on accomplishing these goals, (and overcome a few old vices), I hope to maximize my efforts with a bit of radical self-responsibility. The idea that my hard work could yield another hamster-wheel experience frightens me.
So what exactly is invalidation, and why is it so important? Marsha Linehan, Phd., founder of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, defines invalidation as trivializing, punishing, judging, or ignoring a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and identity (Linehan, 1997). In order to understand the importance of this concept it is vital to differentiate how its definition in the field of psychology is unique. A quick review of Merriam Webster's online dictionary yields the following definition: Invalid: "being without foundation or force in fact, truth, or law...logically inconsequent." (invalid, n.d.)
When I hold onto hurt, I live in the past. When I let go of hurt, I'm present in the moment. When I hold onto hurt, I let traumas of my past to rule my life. When I let go of hurt, I am able to function and live a life beyond what pain taught me. When I hold onto hurt, I can't see past it...
After much time piddle-dinking with the many customizable features of my very first wordpress blog, I'm happy to announce to my five readers (as of this posting), that this blog is up and running. I'm so busy, between work and graduate school, it seems there's little time to stop and breathe. Its the end of a very long day and I'm snuggling on the sofa with my eight year old boy while watching reruns of "The Amazing World of Gumball".