The invalidating environment


16-Jan-2015 13:32

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Many people are emotionally vulnerable but never develop BPD if they are not in an invalidating environment. Being emotional can be great as it can make a person charismatic, interesting, passionate about life and feel others’ pain deeply and are often empathetic and sympathetic.

Similarly many people have stressful invalidating or abusive childhoods never develop BPD, because they are not so emotional. People who are less emotional may not know exactly what to do with a very emotional person, especially an emotional child.

They may say you are wrong for feeling your emotions or punish/ignore you when you get emotional.

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I know about this as well because I was surrounded by men who were older than me (Dad and three brothers) and the only female was my mother and she was mentally ill. I was sexually abused at fifteen years by an older man and was bullied by one of my brothers from a very young age – maybe five years old, as when I was ten I noted in my diary that he was nice to me and that was unusual but very, very welcome at the time.

He and I are both emotional people whereas my other two brothers are not so emotional – we feel guilt, sadness, temper, bullying, anger and love and a desire to help others and be nice.

It may be that someone uses words or actions in doing something that upsets you repeatedly, yet indirectly. Abuse can be prevalent too – emotional and physical.

Simply growing up in a family where everyone seems different from you can be invalidating, even if no one is telling you there is something wrong with you, you may think there is – like you are the black sheep or outsider. My mum had severe mental illness when I was young, and could be very loving one minute but destructive to me the next.

I do not blame him, as I can see that he had a rough time when young also.When growing up I was different to everyone else though as I was a very different age and a girl and I was emotional and kept my emotions to myself.