by Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist
Your needs are valid. This comes up time and time again in my work with people. Just because someone else doesn't see that what you are saying, what you are feeling, what you've experienced was negative or important or traumatic, it doesn't mean that it isn't or wasn't. We can't let other people decide for us what we're allowed to be distressed by, what we're allowed to find insulting, humiliating, degrading.
And actually, if people are telling us that: “We're being silly”, or that “it's our fault that we are feeling that way; we should be okay”, “we should be feeling better”, then that's actually gaslighting and that's not okay!
And when I work with people who've experienced what we call developmental trauma, so trauma which has happened as a series of events that might have been neglectful or abusive in childhood, people often find that they aren't really feeling that comfortable with making their own choices because they've been so invalidated over their lives.
Every time they said they were scared or worried or it perhaps went unheeded or they were laughed at or the person who was responsible for making them feel that way was actually an important caregiver. So, I just want for you to know that whatever you are thinking, whatever you are feeling, there's good reason for that, and that you do matter, and that you are important, and that you don't deserve to suffer. And just because others have treated you less than optimally throughout your life, it doesn't mean that you should have received that treatment, or that you deserved that.
So, please take these words, hear them, breathe them in, just notice where they might bounce around in your body, whether they meet any resistance. And we just recognise that resistance, begin to tolerate it, and see if we can push through and see if we can believe that we are enough, that we can show up for ourselves. We don't need to wait for someone else to see our stress or our suffering as valid and important. We can do that for ourselves.
If the way of thinking like this resonates with you, do check out my Feel Better Academy as this is right up our street. And you get a chance to ask me anything you like, really, and I will answer you. There's loads of fantastic content in there for helping you to stabilize your mood, helping you show up for yourself, and helping you begin to work through some of the things you've been in the past. For more info click here.