Just finished a book: How To Deal With Nasty People Without Becoming One Of Them. Finished in one night. It was short... don’t get too excited for me.
The writer, Jay Somebody-Or-Other, used the word "Invalidator" to describe someone who is... for lack of a better term: Nasty to folks... specifically to you.
Invalidation comes directly, i.e.: insults, temper, humiliating you or comes indirectly, i.e.: double-sided compliments, creating a sense of dependency through flattery then ignoring you, etc.
I have been struggling for over a year with a group of people who seem to have used every angle if invalidation with me, and up to this point had me under their control. I wanted revenge, I wanted them to be exposed for what they are, but tonight I found much more satisfaction in knowing that I could deflect their attempts at control and leave them ineffective.
There are specifically two mechanisms that I eagerly anticipate using: the first is to ask them to repeat themselves. This helps reveal their motives should they try to water it down the second time around. This works best with the underhanded attempts at invalidating. And, for the more direct manipulators, to use their own tactics on them. Like a mirror... reverse it. Usually an invalidator uses the techniques that would work best on honing in on his insecurities. This will take a greater amount of effort than the first, but it is an effective tool with a bully.
I have to be careful that my motives aren’t skewed. I need to be sure that I am not aiming at revenge or humiliation. My motives for now seem pure, but everyone can be an invalidator at some time and I need to be sure that I don’t begin to morph into my own living nightmare. After all, invalidators were bred by invalidators.
It was a welcome book in the midst of the other books I was reading. The other books have been incredibly encouraging - but the question of what to do with the bullies was nagging, tugging at my subconscious. It interrupted my thoughts, prayers and I became introverted as a result. Frustrated. Shamed. Ineffective. To have this understanding and available tools is so refreshing. I hate not knowing what to do. I hate doubting myself, assuming always that the problem is either with me or just a figment of my very own active imagination. I’m not nuts. Whew!
Vulnerability. Not so good with it. But hand me some tools (not necessarily weapons), and I’m good to go!
I had to get this out before I went to sleep. Other wise it would swim around in my conscious mind and keep me awake for much longer than it took to write it.