Your Feelings Do Matter

What If Our Parents Were Wrong?

I love the way Robin Grille and Beth Macgregor, in their article entitled “Good” Children – at What Price? help us consider what they call the “secret costs of shame.”

Our parents and caregivers’ voices are the first we hear, and in childhood, theirs are the words that echo most strongly through our days and in our minds.  Our parents show us the world and our place inside it.  They witness our first steps and help us navigate the delicate mechanics of falling.  They tell us who we are as best they know how to.

But what happens when what they tell us is wrong?  What if you fall and, instead of offering you a hand, they chide you for losing your footing?

Many parents invalidate their children’s feelings.  Some children grow up believing their accomplishments are never enough, that their emotions are bad and harmful.  Some people go through life believing their parents do not love or want them.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. If you felt invalidated by your parents as you were growing up, we want you to know that your feelings matter, and you deserve to feel loved and supported.

Boy invalidated by his fatherInvalidated As Children

Grille and Macgregor asked their large, diverse online community to describe the “signs” that they felt invalidated as children.  Here are the top 25 signs those community members shared in common:

  • We were told we were “too emotional.”
  • We sought validation from others.
  • We never allow ourselves to be vulnerable as an adult.
  • We weren’t told we were loved.
  • We apologized for everything, even if it wasn’t our fault.
  • We felt invisible.
  • We were told our feelings were wrong.
  • Our career dreams were made fun of.
  • Our parents missed basic details.
  • We were told we were selfish.
  • We’re now perfectionists.
  • Our parents didn’t want to hear about our problems.
  • We self-sabotage as adults.
  • We never heard a genuine apology.
  • We now struggle to get in touch with our true feelings.
  • We were told our struggles were “all in our head.”
  • We thought love had to be earned.
  • We second-guess yourself all the time as an adult.
  • We sought affection from strangers.
  • We feel the need to justify ourselves to others as an adult.
  • We were made to feel unwanted.
  • Our family members played favorites.
  • We were constantly put down, teased, or criticized.
  • Our parents didn’t show up for us.
  • We’re uncomfortable with the kindness of others as adults.

If your emotional needs weren’t well met when you were a child, you’re not alone and it wasn’t your fault.  You deserve to feel supported by the people closest to you.  If reading this has been hard for you, please commit to take care of yourself and remember that your feelings do matter.  No matter how dark or painful your past, there truly is hope.  His name is Jesus.  My sincere prayer for you is that this book will lead you on a wonderful journey from the brokenness of your past to wholeness in Christ for your future!

———-

Soul health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated.  Our counselors are ordained Christian ministers as well as certified and licensed Christian counselors.  We are able to help you experience freedom from shame, anxiety, depression, or marriage / relationship conflict with methods that are purely Christ-centered.  Please click on this link to learn much more about how our ONLINE THERAPY can help you become a more authentic follower of Christ, and help you find freedom from identity dependence.

Life Training offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime.  Our non-profit counseling practice has an outstanding track record for over a decade helping men and women, individuals and couples who are ready to move beyond anxiety, depression, and conflicts in marriage or other relationships find hope and healing in their lives.  Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at drdave@lifetrainingcounseling.org