Tag Archives: invalidating


I’m struggling a bit with understanding if the physical therapist I saw today was inappropriate with his comments. L says he definitely was, as his comments were very devaluing.

I was telling him about my bad days since this whole muscle thing started (basically, load up on pain meds, and veg on the couch because I physically cannot do anything else). He said something along the lines of “Netflix and bon bons… So you’re basically the person I’ve been making fun of all this time”. He kinda laughed as he said it, and it wasn’t in a mean tone. I was a bit taken aback by it, but tried to roll with the “teasing”. He seemed to be joking with everyone in the office as we were walking back, so I assumed he was just being goofy.

Prior to that, he also commented “so you’re scared” at one point when he was reading my paperwork. When I looked at him confused, he elaborated that he saw I wanted to be told everything he was going to do before doing it… At this point, if he hadn’t been giving me negative vibes, I probably would have disclosed my PTSD, and maybe given him some cursory info, but… I wasn’t consciously sure why I didn’t offer more info, I just didn’t. In hindsight (and after several hours of processing the encounter in my head), I’m glad I didn’t disclose anything beyond what he immediately needed to know for the PT.

At another point in history-taking, I was explaining my anxiety and agoraphobia since this muscle thing happened, and he commented “how’d you ever find anyone to marry you with all this anxiety & not going out?”

There were other things that bothered me also, like his distinct lack of personal space. I’ve been to physical therapy before, and I’ve not had any of the PT’s sit so close while doing the initial assessment. At one point, he rolled his chair right up to mine, and basically blocked me from moving when his legs touched my knees. I pushed my chair back, and to his credit, he moved away and to the side with his, but that didn’t last long. Within a few minutes, we were back in that position. He was a hair further away the second time, but it still made me really uncomfortable. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t move away again.

He seems to know what he is doing in terms of the physical therapy (maybe?), But he either has no filter, doesn’t understand social norms, or just doesn’t care…

I told L about my interactions, and she was able to label it as devaluing and inappropriate (I had simply presented it as being uneasy about the guy, but not being sure if I was taking things harder in light of my history). She was mad enough that she wanted to call the office and get me either switched to another PT, or to switch offices completely. Unfortunately, the office was closing by the time she decided this, so we tabled it for another day. I suggested I return for my Monday appointment & see if that was just a fluke. If he still makes me uneasy, then I’d either confront him about it (unlikely, as I suck at confrontation, but big dreams of standing up for myself), or cancel my other appointments with him and ask to switch PT’s and/or offices…

Part of me still thinks he was just kidding around and being a jerk, but then, that’s not his place as a new-to-me medical professional… Sure, I joke and kid with people, but not in that way, and not with people I’m not more familiar with…


I don’t want to get him fired or anything. I don’t want him in trouble, but I don’t really want to work with him either. I keep going back to feeling like I’m just taking things the wrong way, that I shouldn’t be bothered by these interactions, but… I am.

Ugh! I have bring so unsure of everything. L is sure, why can’t I trust her insight?? I keep thinking maybe I presented it to her in a biased way… I’m probably just overreacting. It’s probably nothing, and I’m just attributing meaning that isn’t there…

Triggers in random places

I saw this article on my Facebook feed, about a father who sexually abused his daughter several times, but will be spared jail time “for the sake of the family”. I understand the denial and reaction from the family (it sucks, but it’s all too common). What kills me is the court’s validation of that denial (though that doesn’t exactly surprise me either)… I didn’t think I’d have such a strong reaction to it, but it’s hit a nerve. 

I’m angry and crying and so sad…

Some of what the family said to gain leniency for the father are things I’ve heard within my own family growing up. While the circumstances were not the same, the denial of abuse among certain family members took the same path…

My heart is breaking for the little girl in that article. I want to run over and protect her myself, since no one else in her life seems to want to do it… regardless of any “evidence” that the dad will not assault anyone else, the kid deserves to feel safe and supported. She shouldn’t be forced to continue to live with her abuser, or to see him ever again. It’s not fair to her (even if she feels she needs to protect him)… her life will never be the same because of him. She will deal with this the rest of her life. Yeah, she may get to a point where she’s more healed and balanced, but she will be forever impacted by not only the sexual abuse, but her family’s rally around dad… who is there rallying for her? She must feel so invalidated and worthless…

What are they teaching their kids with this, that you can break someone, but as long as you’re sorry it’s going to be ok? Bullshit.

It’s not fair… she deserves so much better.  

Random stupid question

Do you really have to love yourself before you can truly love others?
I resent it when I’m told that I can’t love others if I don’t love myself, because I don’t feel like I love myself, but I can certainly feel genuine and deep love for others. It’s invalidating to hear that statement when I know I deeply care for and love many people…


“leave the treatment up to the experts”

Ok, so I have heard that statement on more than one occasion from a therapist, doctor, or other “professional” I have just met, or (most recently) from my wife’s new therapist who has never met me, nor does she know my story…

It’s a phrase that really bothers me, because it invalidates any insight or experience I may have with any previous treatment. It invalidates my wife’s experiences with my past treatment, and it pretty much makes me feel like shit about myself. It’s based on snap judgements over incomplete information… The rational part of me knows that it’s based on prejudice and little knowledge of the individual. But then there’s that little kid in me who is terrified that I am as broken and hopeless as many make me out to be.

While I understand that I am seeking help from some of these “professionals”, I’ve also have had a great deal of time and experience with the treatments they are suggesting, and they have not worked for me. Why does a client’s self-assessment and prior experience count for nothing with some of these people? I’m educated in my treatment options, both personally and professionally. I have probably been in therapy longer than they have been practicing, and have tried SO MANY approaches, I have a decent idea of what works and what does not… I have a paper trail from previous providers 10 miles long of what works and what doesn’t. Why does that mean nothing to these people?!

Would a statement like that bother anyone else? Am I blowing it way out of proportion? When I encounter it, I am made to feel like I should bow to their superior knowledge and skill-set without question or opinion. It feels totally invalidating to me. And there’s never a discussion around why I feel that a particular method of treatment won’t work. It’s left at “I’m the expert and you need to do what I say”… UGH!

So far, I have switched from everyone that has said something like that to me. Therapy is supposed to be a team effort. If they can’t even listen to or respect what I have to say on treatment options, what’s to say they will do that with other things I tell them??

I have found a good number of professionals that are not like that, but the ones that are make me hesitate to reach out when I need to. They have me second-guessing myself and feeling like a hopeless wreck. I really don’t need any help in that department lately, thanks.

Sorry, guess I just needed to vent on that…

The choice to be a patient

lots of things I can relate to in this, and I really like the way some of it is said (I do not think English is a first language for the writer, but they get their point across well).

“for me it felt humiliating to be hospitalized. It was almost impossible to keep my dignity in those periods of time. Sometimes I did not even feel human anymore. We had to ask for everything, the medicine (we had to stay in a line to receive them), the food, going out and getting back to the ward. It felt really degrading when all the power was taken off from me. One can say, maybe I was not able to take care of myself anymore. But many times, I felt that what I wanted to say was not heard at all. Of course, in those periods of time I could not express myself so well. That is true. But when people are not willing to listen, talking becomes extremely difficult. Maybe it is dangerous to say, but I think psychiatry felt for me like the environment I lived in as a child. Neglect, silence and disrespect”

” I begged to be heard and for guidance to get out of trauma land. This was not honoured at all. Therapists and psychiatrists thought what was right for me. Many times they said that I had to stabilize, but it meant literally loads of sedative medication, and nobody asked me what had happened to me in my childhood.”


I have just been on two course-days about dissociation, and was happy when I discovered a news-letter from ESTD (I am a member now). There I found the following post about how hard it is to become a patient dealing with abuse. I have so much respect for people who want to live a better life after abuse, since this is no easy task. I hope this can be a reminder of just that


By Esther Veerman


Being a therapist for patients with chronic childhood abuse and neglect needs a conscious choice. Not a lot of colleagues will do the same, and sometimes it is quite a lonely voyage that one starts to make. Becoming a patient with a history of chronic childhood abuse and neglect demands a conscious choice as well. It is not logical to start exploring the traumatic past, once…

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