Experiential therapists like Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers felt that a far more basic conflict was between one’s need to express one’s true nature () and doing what was expected by everyone else.Family systems pioneer Murray Bowen framed this as a conflict between the forces of individuality and the forces of togetherness.It suddenly occurred to me that, despite appearances, she might really have been thinking about a good deal of the time during the conversation.
In other words, when someone disqualifies themselves, they are often invalidating the person listening to them.
The two concepts are not just similar to each other, they go hand in hand!
The mother often disqualified herself while seeming to be in the process of invalidating her daughter. They will therefore give the parents repeated opportunities to keep doing it.
If the daughter brought up something the mother had just said, the mother would accuse her daughter of living in the past! Parenting columnist John Rosemond alluded to this in a recent column.
"I have to wonder if (constant) parental concern is eventually self-fulfilling: as in, if you are concerned, then your child will give you something to be concerned about." I don't wonder about that at all; it is absolutely true.
In this case, if you seem to have a need to invalidate your kids, they will say a bunch of stupid stuff just so you can keep doing it.In the case of the patient I just described, for instance, she would keep telling her mother, “I’m fine.I’m doing great.” She said this while she was in the process of cutting herself deeply near her carotid artery, which of course could kill her. Also, during this process, the daughter was also completely invalidating her mother’s expressed concerns about her well being.On first listening, it sounded like the mother was expressing appropriate concern about the daughter’s cutting. I later learned that the conversation I listened to was essentially a rerun.In fact, I realized that my patient had been very good at getting me to sound just like her mother. They had had the exact same conversation over and over again. The mother’s comments in that context no longer sounded like appropriate concern but more like the mother’s obsession with her daughter and a compulsion to lecture the girl repeating the same things - constantly.This leads to the proposition that when family members seem to be invalidating another family member, the apparent invalidators may really be disqualifying themselves.