7 Signs You're Being Emotionally Invalidated By Your Partner — And What To Do About It

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woman looking off into space after feeling emotionally invalidated
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Heartbreak

There are few, if any, TV commercials raising awareness for emotional abuse. It's a little more inconspicuous than a black eye and much harder to film. But the scars sure do last longer.

At its heart, that's what emotional invalidation is — emotional abuse.

What is emotional invalidation?

According to PsychCentral, "emotional invalidation is when a person's thoughts and feelings are rejected, ignored, or judged."

When you're feeling invalidated by your partner, it's a flat-out dismissal of your emotions, and the signs you're being emotionally invalidated are especially insidious because of their subtlety.

It's a quiet erosion of your value in the relationship. Through a simple "Oh, grow up," or a "Stop being a baby," your partner is rejecting the validity of your emotions.

Your partner is basically saying that your opinion or feelings don't count. It could be because they don't agree with them or they're uncomfortable dealing with them. Invalidating your emotions means your partner doesn't have to address them.

Regardless, no relationship ever worked where one partner doesn't get to have their voice heard.

RELATED: You Can Get PTSD From Staying In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

When people say that relationships take work, they mean maintaining that constant balance of each other's emotions. Your partner avoiding the "work" in the relationship is like wanting to have his cake and eat it, too.

Anywhere you look for relationship advice, you'll hear that communication is the key to a successful relationship. When your partner is shutting down your ability to communicate — turning your relationship into a one-sided conversation — they're killing any chance the two of you have at making it.

You're called partners for a reason. Both sides should have an equal say.

And this all goes without saying that not caring about your feelings is incredibly cold and callous. Here's how you can tell it's happening to you.

7 Signs of Emotional Invalidation in Relationships

1. You never get to make any decisions.

He might hear you out to give you the illusion that he cares what you think, but, ultimately, he makes all the calls. Your opinions don't matter, remember?

2. They straight-up reject your emotions.

"There's no way you're mad at me right now. Not after I just took you out to dinner."

3. And then they tell you what they think you really feel.

"You're just jealous because you think I was flirting with the waitress."

4. Or they tell you how you should feel.

"You should be grateful that I care so much to pay for your meals."

Nothing is more frustrating than a person telling you how to feel. Think about any time someone has told you to "relax" during a heated argument. It just fills you with rage, right?

5. They ignore you.

The silent treatment is another way to say, "Your feelings aren't important enough to me to even address."

6. They make your feelings out to be your fault.

We do have control over our emotions to some extent, but always claiming you're too sensitive every time you get upset just invalidates any unhappiness you might have.

And then, since you're "not really unhappy, just being sensitive," there's no need to talk about why you're unhappy. This can apply to almost any emotion.

"If you would just learn some trust, you wouldn't get mad at me for coming home at 3 AM stinking of stripper."

7. They are dismissive.

"This is pointless. You're just overreacting." Or, "Who cares about [insert something you care deeply about]?"

It's like the silent treatment, but he's telling you why he doesn't want to talk about it.

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What to Do if Your Partner is Dismissive of Your Feelings

1. Create a space and time to have the discussion.

Your partner will not feel comfortable if you attack the conversation in an accusatory way. But the conversation also needs to be heard.

Relationship Coach Keith Dent suggests, "Point out that you feel that your feelings are dismissed, and give examples of how it has been done."

You can even "ask your partner why this behavior occurred" to understand their perspective.

2. Work together on how this will be rectified in the future.

Having a plan for how to address the problem will let you both feel more secure in your actions. Come up with steps together to fix the problem. Make sure you both agree to it before ending the discussion.

Dent encourages that you, "validate what was heard and acknowledge your partner for participating."

3. Talk more about issues instead of running away from them.

Talk more about issues with your partner.

If you both become more comfortable talking about each other's feelings, the less likely you are to invalidate each others' feelings because you are more aware of them.

RELATED: 7 Common Phrases That The Happiest Couples Never Say To Each Other

Bob Alaburda is a frequent contributor to YourTango.