Episode #44: Tips for Dismantling the Invalidating Codependent Dysfunction

Have you noticed how often people tell you your problem is insignificant because it’s a first world problem?  Maybe others say this to you or you’re thinking – OMG, I say that all the time. Without realizing it, we are invalidating the experiences of others or having our feelings invalidated when we are seeking empathy. It’s called emotional invalidation and we use it when we can’t tolerate what we or others are feeling.

Most of us can recall a time when we’ve said to our partner, child, or employee “You’re making a big deal out of nothing. You’re just too sensitive.” If we haven’t said it, for sure there have been times when we thought it. This is situational invalidation, an off the cuff comment when we can’t relate to or pull any empathy out for the person talking.

The difference between a normal, situational invalidating that we all do from time to time and the behavior of the Invalidating Codependent is the latter does it all the time. This allows them to keep and maintain their dominant position in their relationships. These people act like they have a “no feeling” zone that disallows the any opinions, feelings, and ideas that differ from their own. They send a message that your emotions aren’t welcome, real or valid and that you just need to grow up if you want to be in a relationship with them.

In today’s episode, we explore the Invalidating Codependent Dysfunction, talk about how it manifests in relationships and reveal that it is actually a survival coping strategy that begins in our childhood. We’ll also recount many stories (our own and of our clients’) and share tips and tricks for dismantling this dysfunction that you can start implementing today. You might recognize yourself, your partner or your boss in this session, so make sure you listen.  Tune in to make sure you don’t miss out on the gems we share this week!

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  • [01:44] Episode Introduction and Overview
  • [02:43] What Is the Invalidating Codependent Dysfunction?
  • [08:20] Behaviors of the Invalidating Codependent Strategy
  • [16:26] Tips for Dismantling the Invalidating Codependent Strategy
  • [35:11] Episode Gem
  • [36:52] Episode Wrap Up



  • Invalidating Codependents consider emotions as signs of weakness and judge themselves and others for their feelings. They stamp out perceived weaknesses in those around them, so they never have to feel anything.
  • Invalidating Codependent relationships where one person constantly invalidates the emotion of the other can be extremely difficult to endure. If the person emotionally invalidating the other doesn’t accept responsibility for what they have done, the couples end up in breakups or very dysfunctional relationships.
  • Dealing with an Invalidating Codependent requires you to name their behavior. Don’t resort to your own defensive strategies, instead name clearly what you perceive is happening. Becoming emotional or stating more feelings leaves you open to further invalidation.
  • If you are struggling in relationships because you or others are using the Invalidating Dysfunctional Codependent Strategy, you are not alone. Contact us for more information on how we can help.



"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."

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