My need for validation-what’s healthy, what isn’t?

PRFL

Registrant
Greetings,
I’m trying to collect my thoughts in anticipation of my meeting with my T tomorrow. As I’ve shared before, I’ve been very triggered lately by his feedback, and it all seems to boil down to my perception that he is not validating what I’m sharing. I don’t believe nor feel that he is being intentional about it, but it seems to me that in his efforts to help me, he seems to be missing the point of what I’m trying to say. I don’t think nor feel that he is dismissive about what I say but that doesn’t help my feelings of being invalidated. And I cannot claim that he does this across the board with everything, as there have been several times that he has indeed heard me and validated me, and I certainly can’t expect anybody to be perfect.
So, I do get validated except when I don’t. Problem is, why do I go on a tizzy when I don’t feel validated? Why is this so important to me? He can’t possibly meet all my needs and I need to learn to accept that people will fail me at times.
I think it reactivates my old brain pathways in which I was not taken seriously by my mother (who feminized me and didn’t take my protests seriously), by the bullies who mocked my heterosexuality, and then on, as an adult, by the countless therapists and counselors that were dismissive of the impact my CSA had on my sexuality. The thing is, that my T has actually validated me with those particular issues which I would consider core issues and very sensitive to me, but that’s not my issue with him. On the other hand, the fact that he feels I’m “emotionally dysregulated” (which I AM) and the fact that he feels I need to cope with this (which I DO) for some reason makes me go nuts, maybe because I feel my anger and rage is being suppressed and pathologized and should be validated.
At the same time, I’m concerned about my excessive need for validation. True, he is my T and therefore important, but I’ve been so obsessed by this (and other little things that have transpired over the last few months) that I’m aware that my need for validation while maybe legitimate, is way over the top and unhealthy.
I meet with my T tomorrow and I’m freaking out about it, because I fear getting triggered again. It’s confusing to me that I will feel so fearful of meeting with him because I’m most certainly not afraid that he’ll be abusive, but the fact that the invalidation (real or imagined) hurts SO much seems to indicate that it is MY problem to solve, my wound to heal, but I’m clueless on how to heal it. I feel this is important because I don’t see how therapy can progress if this continues to be an issue. Maybe I’ll have a good session tomorrow (I certainly hope so), but I know it may take a while to work through these issues. So, I might pop in these boards tomorrow being a train wreck or hopefully with good news. Any words of wisdom will be most appreciated. Thanks for listening!
 
At the same time, I’m concerned about my excessive need for validation. True, he is my T and therefore important, but I’ve been so obsessed by this (and other little things that have transpired over the last few months) that I’m aware that my need for validation while maybe legitimate, is way over the top and unhealthy.
It seems to me that you have a need for validation that maybe not healthy. You said he has validate your experience in the past. Do you think he should always be validating your trauma's or is once not enough for you. Just a thought. I kind of don't want them to coddle me either. I do know that validation does help for sure it really lets you know you are not alone and that others do understand. I think we all need validation I do not need or expect others to validate my experience more than once. we have already covered that part lets keep moving forward.

I hope thing go well for you tomorrow.
Take Care
Esterio
 

PRFL

Registrant
I’m sure the degree of need for validation is not healthy, considering that he’s validated me on the really important stuff. I can only think this is a symptom of something deeper that is being triggered, but all I can think of is the lifetime pattern of being invalidated, and I can’t seem to connect them with any specific incident. I’m guessing I’ll find out more tomorrow when we meet. I also suspect there may be something biochemical going on, because I’m noticing my mornings are horrible but I do much better during the evenings, right now it is 7:30 PM and I’m feeling pretty good and that has been the pattern for about a week now. I don’t know if this pattern will hold after tomorrow’s meeting but I’m sure I’ll post something about it one way or another!
 
PRFL

I would copy your first post and email to your T tonight - or if you don’t have his email I would print it and hand it to the T as the session starts. Justified or not, biochemical or not, time of day or not the T needs to know where you are to help sort it out. And advance notice may help more- I know I try not to email often but I do email concerns periodically and it helps focus the session better than I can in the moment if I do.
 
@PRFL great advice you have been given so far. Maybe also consider that a T should give you perspective as an important tool for self-healing. We as survivors often have not been believed or don't believe it ourselves how terrible the effects are and are or do want constant validation that yes it happened and yes it has affected us because someplace deep inside maybe we can't believe it still ourselves.
 

BDD

Registrant
PRFL,

I think it's important to understand how magnified things are in therapy. Seeing this overwhelming need is huge! It's an opportunity to drill in and understand it. Exploit it's apperance to learn and grow...
and that's not to say it feels good, it doesn't, the chaos is hell.

Good luck
 

PRFL

Registrant
Well, I just had my session. It went very well except for the very end but I'm hoping I can process this OK. During the session, I felt my T truly was hearing me and making an effort to understand me, and we processed a lot of the dynamics that I've been experiencing, about my projections, triggers, neediness, fears of abandonment, etc. It was truly a very productive session...until the very end, when I risked asking for a hug and he said no. I immediately got sad and we did a little processing of it as we were heading to the door, his reasoning being that he didn't feel it was therapeutically appropriate at that time. Being that the man spent an hour with me, hearing me, processing my issues and truly trying to be present for me and understand where he's coming from, I must at some point trust him and his clinical judgment, so I'm feeling sad and mildly triggered even though he's making it clear that it is not about rejecting me. I understand that, but it put a damper on what would have been a most productive session but at least I'm not freaking out about it so far. During the session he reassured me that my discomfort is normal and that it is a long-term process, so I'll try to take this incident in stride. I have a massage scheduled for this afternoon so I hope I can have a little TLC which is much needed, then perhaps I could go to a Yoga class tonight, plus it's good to have these boards to process things and get support.
 

PRFL

Registrant
Some further processing, after having received a Cranio-Sacral massage therapy session. I feel a bit more relaxed although I had some trouble with my obsessions and ruminations still going on, but at least my body feels pretty good.
I've been beating myself up because I feel I just self-sabotaged what was a very good session with my neediness. So many good things happened during the session, I felt heard and validated, but at the end I thought I deserved a reward like a hug and asked for one despite my reservations about taking that risk, so I overrode my common sense and asked for one only to hear "no". He was very kind about it, explaining that he didn't feel that it was therapeutically appropriate at that time, but because the session time was up, I left with my tail between my legs. I understand his concern about not feeding into my neediness and he wants me to provide for my own needs, perfectly legitimate points. Earlier in the session, we processed what I feel is my confirmation bias, that I'll readily believe I'm being rejected but can't believe I'm being accepted, and that I was confused why I felt rejected by him, who is supportive and kind and is working with me. He explained that because of my wiring, this is my normal response and I'll keep pushing people's buttons until I set myself up for rejection (this was much earlier in the session) and lo and behold, that's exactly what I did! Now I feel rejected! Woo Hoo!!! So now I'm mad at myself and also feeling a lot of sadness. Lots of therapeutic material to process. But after today's session, it is clear to me that he is definitely on my side and is willing to listen and that these incidents are part of the process, as unpleasant as it is. I'm just starving for validation and love but all the love in the world wont' do me any good if I can't accept it and love myself. But I'm trying, really hard! He made a point that this is a marathon and that he sees as very healthy that I'm trying to process things taking into account both my rational and emotional sides, and the discomfort I'm feeling is very normal during this process. He does know what he's talking about so he's definitely earning my trust. No unrealistic promises, he's not going to rescue me, but he's there for me to help me process all these feelings. So I'm taking a leap of faith and trust him even though he's an imperfect human being like I am. It's not about the events, it's about the process.
 
that's exactly what I did! Now I feel rejected! Woo Hoo!!! So now I'm mad at myself and also feeling a lot of sadness. Lots of therapeutic material to process. But after today's session, it is clear to me that he is definitely on my side and is willing to listen and that these incidents are part of the process, as unpleasant as it is
Hi PRFL

So maybe you can change this some how so you aren't so needy, You are recognizing it, acknowledging it and now you are needing to process this. I think by being aware of what we are doing is a big move forward on our healing journey's.

Last week in therapy we talked about rage and what first brought it on. During therapy I didn't see where it came from, we talked about every fight I remembered having and how I felt afterwards. That all got me to think deeper and find out where that came from. It came to me a couple of days ago out of the blue I had a sick feeling and knew that was how I felt when the first guy to abuse me past me on to two other guys. I think I had a crush on this guy and then he dumps me. It was rejection, abandonment and fear = Rage.

I think your T did right not to give you a hug that would encourage more neediness. I myself would find a hug from a T out of bounds but I don't let people touch me. Hand shake is all that would come from me.

Just my thoughts hope they make sense to you
Take Care
Esterio
 

PRFL

Registrant
Thanks, Esterio. My T is clear that he doesn't give unsolicited hugs but that it's OK if the client asks for them, but he always gives me a friendly handshake. He did once give me a hug I asked for, but I felt uncomfortable because I knew I was being needy about it, and now I'm tormenting myself with how can I get a legitimate, non-needy hug, so I guess that will take time. I had further processing on this issue and about my transference onto my T of my father issues, and wrote a new thread about it, https://forum.malesurvivor.org/threads/beating-myself-up-trying-to-process-my-session-today.75627/ with further insights.
I understand the process, but in the meantime...it's pure hell. I feel I've been punched in the stomach, I can't stand to be around people and this is taking over my life. I cling on the knowledge that it gets better with time as I was on a very rough spot about 20 years ago and now that I'm older and hopefully wiser, shouldn't take me as long as it did back then. In the meantime, it's so hard to keep one foot in front of the other. I'm fortunate that in addition to my T, I also have a counselor whom I see tomorrow, hopefully I can process some of this with her. At least, this time, I'm not blaming my T as this is entirely my own issue and it's my problem. I just wish I could stop beating myself up about it.
 
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