Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

Invalidation by mental health professionals, makes life worse.

7 Comments

I was just reading how many mental health professionals invalidate narcissistic abuse survivors. In fact, they can actually gaslight victims more, by this belief that we should ‘look within’ – and invalidating the suffering and abuse….rather than validating the abuse, and the suffering caused to us.

I see this very clearly happening. It’s happening in my own counselling.

I had to email my counsellor a while back asking her why she has ‘never’ said to me that I did not deserve all the abuse I had in the first 20 years of my life. Why she had failed in over 2 years of therapy, to ever say it was never my fault, I didn’t deserve it etc. It is pretty obvious to me, that after all the abuse I have endured, I need to hear those words. And my counsellor is a smart woman, so why doesn’t she say them?

I know part of the reason with my counsellor, is she is so hell-bent on protecting abusers feelings/emotions. As so many church people do. They often want to protect abusers, and do so at the cost of the emotional wellbeing of the victims. They can’t bring themselves or have the empathy needed, to say what victims need to hear…. because they fear saying anything ‘bad’ about the abusers, makes them bad Christians.

I think many church people are brainwashed in this way and fail victims of abuse continually.

At my last counselling session, I talked, or attempted to talk about the shame I feel about all the grooming abuse. Again, at no point did she offer any words of validation or support, that the shame is ‘not mine to feel’. Or the shame I feel has only occurred because of what was intentionally done to me. That the shame is actually the abusers shame. Nothing validating along those lines, was said.

Instead, she just let me sit there and watched me squirm. She spoke about what was happening in my body, how I was feeling, how I probably feel my body let me down during that abuse …. but failed to say the words I needed to hear. I realise now why I struggled so much to continue talking about it. because she didn’t offer the words I needed to hear. And as a result, I will never speak to her again about the worst emotions I have within me, shame.

Maybe she does think I deserved the abuse. Maybe she does think the shame I feel is mine to feel. Like many church people choose to believe. God Forbid we would put the blame and shame where it actually belongs.

And I totally see, how this failure to say what is needed, the truth…. gaslights people. It makes them feel this person does believe they are to blame, does believe the shame is theirs to feel. It aids the abusers, and goes along with the abusers actions and abuse. I can see this then makes victims doubt themselves and feel even worse.

Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle. ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

7 thoughts on “Invalidation by mental health professionals, makes life worse.

  1. I think this is a common occurrence. When someone is aware of abuse, they know the victim is vulnerable and needs validation. Some therapists, and others, use that power in a selfish way. The more they withhold validation, the more power they gain over the client. Some therapists are covert bullies. I think they get ego gratification by withholding validation or invalidating. The client becomes a hostage because they don’t want to anger the very person whose support they need. I would say that if a client senses in their gut that the therapist minimizes or dismisses abuse, they should dissociate with the therapist. Narcissistic abuse seems to be completely unfamiliar to many therapists, which I find to be outrageous. How the therapist treats the client reflects their own state of inner growth.

    • I think many counsellors have their own agenda’s and their own issues and views, they project onto their clients.

      I’ve also realised, that unless I see things a certain way and start showing the compassion/excuse making/rationalising certain people believe abusers need, then I will never be ‘good enough’.

      Interesting that people can want/demand compassion show to abusers for their intentional and deliberate acts of vile abuse…. but can’t show compassion needed for the victims – who did not ‘choose’ the abuse they endured and never deserved and don’t hurt anyone else the way they have been hurt.

      Such a clear case of ‘shame shifting’ that goes on.

      I’m over it.

  2. Fire your therapist immediately! They work for YOU! You’ve given this insensitive jerk ENOUGH time screw with your head. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED but you MUST take yourself OUT of abusive situations. In your article; it seemed like you were going to stay with the therapist that refused to validate that abuse is wrong and I sincerely hope that is NOT the case. When you identify a problem but just live with it anyway; you are allowing yourself to suffer. You are entitled to “interview” therapists who will help you recover from the damage caused by your abusers. You could call up a Women’s Shelter and ask them for several different people they recommend and start from there. YOU HAVE THE POWER. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

  3. It is the most tragic experience that happens at so many different levels, in so many different places..I continually ask this question: How many people have tragically died by suicide have been directly involved with an emotional abuser? There is no tracking system in place because what ALWAYS is said is “The victim has had “mental health” issues, and STILL no one else questions either the abuser, or the “support system” that a person had turned to in their hour of need..
    Apathy, is like emotional rape over and over again..My wish is that there is some kind of tracking that can happen on 24 hour support help lines, that can have a way of counting whether or not the person at risk is dealing with “emotional” abuse from a person in their life..Just a box that can be checked off quickly…
    My other hope is the people who are the front line folks learn to say “I Believe You, I Believe In You..You are Not Alone” (FIRST)….. Then (and only then) say “you need to work on yourself..

  4. So sorry to hear about this experience..There is hope..I am sure you will find someone that ‘validates you, make you feel safe in therapy and helps you’ ..It is very scary and hard to trust, I know this so well…Keep pushing through in your own time…
    Maybe find a therapist who isn’t so religious..Someone who specialises in complex ptsd, child abuse and can help you.
    .I always research therapists online, their background, training, their photos, etc…In the UK you can find therapist profiles in a directory.
    It is very important before meeting a new counsellor, to state what it is you need from that particular therapist..This is something I have found very helpful over the years..I would write the important things down on a piece of paper and I would give it to the therapist…
    I need validation because of these reasons…
    I need help with re-parenting..
    I need to hear it was never my fault etc etc…
    I need help with learning to trust..
    I need help with how to deal with my husband etc etc…

    Wishing you lots of love & support. x

  5. Thank you everyone, I truly appreciate your support and kind messages ❤ ❤

    I won't be finding a new counsellor. I can't afford one and there is no way I can go through all my history again with someone else. I don't think I will ever trust a new stranger/counsellor now with the most painful emotions and hurt I have within me.

    I can't take the risk of getting hurt and invalidated any more. I've had so much of it in my life.

    • Lilly, it can be so stressful to have to repeat everything to a new therapist especially when there’s no way to know if they’ll be any better.

      The one you see now does seem open to hearing & working out the issues she’s causing.

      Maybe staying with her can turn out to be beneficial to you both in some ways. She may become a better therapist because of the issues you reveal to her about what she’s doing or not doing.

      And it gives you practice at standing up for yourself and for your right to have your needs met.

      I sure admire the way you are facing the issues with her head on. It’s inspiring me to do the same in my own life even tho confrontation is really terrifying for me to do!!!