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Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #74784
02/26/11 04:57 PM
02/26/11 04:57 PM
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Monterey, CA
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I think it is awesome to be able to say, "I always did what I thought was best, at any moment."
How true!

And thank you for the comments regarding PreValidation. For me it is more of an attitude than an action. And it starts with myself, which is why this last comment resonates so well with me. I can only have regard for others to the extent that I have it for myself. And conversely, whenever I find fault with someone else, it is because I am actually finding fault with myself (albeit unconsciously in many cases).

I'm wondering if there are any thoughts regarding only using "you" and not asking questions.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #74802
02/26/11 06:34 PM
02/26/11 06:34 PM
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I think it is awesome to be able to say, "I always did what I thought was best, at any moment."
How true!

And thank you for the comments regarding PreValidation. For me it is more of an attitude than an action.


I can add a couple of thoughts and I love how you are sharing this and working on it. I think it makes this thread all the more valuable.

First, I see PreValidation as primarily an attitude, but one that needs to be shared in action, words, gestures, tones. Silence can be terrifyingly invalidating. Just a tiny tweak or squeek (hah) every so often can really help someone recall that they are in the presence of an understanding (not agreeing) person.

I tend to mention explicitly as I am listening to someone that I believe they make sense. "Of course, I know you make sense doing that. Could you tell me more about it."

I also almost rigidly show some sort of dissent whenever someone I am listening to comments on their not making sense. "Yesterday, I did some crazy things that didn't make sense," says the person in front of me. I will probably interrupt gently with something like, "Well you may not yet see what your sense was, but I am sure you were not crazy and were making sense. Do you have some ideas about that?"

Or, "Do I make sense?" the person says. I will probably respond with something like, "Well of course you do. You/people always make sense. Can't do anything else. Tell me more."

A more gently intervention is sometimes called for when someone in front of me suggests that their partner doesn't or didn't make sense. "Her behavior came out of the blue. She made no sense," the guy says. I may or may not interrupt at that moment. I may delay until he has run down a bit. But I will probably say something like, "Well, of course she was making sense at the time but you were in the dark about that. I wonder what she was up to, what was pushing her? You have any ideas?"

Notice I am always moving toward seeing each person as a sense-making entity. I am explicitly rejecting in thought, word and deed, that turn-your-back-on-your-neighbor behavior of saying "they don't make sense."

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
And it starts with myself, which is why this last comment resonates so well with me. I can only have regard for others to the extent that I have it for myself. And conversely, whenever I find fault with someone else, it is because I am actually finding fault with myself (albeit unconsciously in many cases).


I really like this and it points out a wonderful thing I learned about building self-esteem.

Tis my belief that solid self-esteem means that "I like myself when others hate me." It is all about how you hold yourself in your own personal esteem system. People with lo-self esteem tend to try to get everyone to like them, I believe. They seem to say, "I will like myself if you like me."

Here is the fun. I think kids learn to like themselves because they experienced that their caretakers like them. (I like the/your idea that the caretakers had to like themselves in order to do this.) But I think that when the kid looks up, say age 4, and sees a parent's approval or better yet liking or more specifically validation, then the kid starts to say, "Wow, I must be someone of worth. I can admire myself maybe."

So I think that Self-esteem often begins on the outside coming from an outsider and later becomes an internal habit. When you PreValidate someone (by action) or more strongly when you understand and Validate their behavior, thinking or beliefs, you are, I think, building their self-esteem.

Most kids didn't experience admiration as a kid. Most experienced criticism and invalidation. The result I think are all the people with the internal habit of invalidating themselves. OK, OK so we can all recover.

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
I'm wondering if there are any thoughts regarding only using "you" and not asking questions.


What I love here is that you seem to be seeking specifics of how to do or improve your validation skills. Go for it.

I've written so much about this and practiced it so much that I am now almost completely "on automatic." Tis hard to generalize.

"You" messages sometimes get really invalidating. On the other hand they do note where the thoughts/actions are coming from. "These are your beliefs and these are mine." I like that. But "You are lying to me!" or "Your behavior is destructive." are not so good. Besides there is MasterTalk in there. I often use you messages as a tentative inquiry. Here's my most favorite. I think it is almost perfect. "I get the impression that you are the kind of person who sometimes ....." Name an action they just did. If they say, "Yes." you are building their self-esteem with them. If you say, "No," your statement is a kind of inquiry, and you can alway say, "Well, tell me more about what kind of person you are. All I can see is what you did."

Here's a bit from my paper on Validation.
Quote:
Super-Validation

One cool way to nurture a person's self-awareness, and eventually their self esteem, I call super-validation. I use this as a deeply affirming action when one partner has really revealed their "sense" in one of the teaching models above. (I also use this term to describe a group validational process.)

I start this off by writing a sentence stem on the board. Here it is.

"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes….."

Then I take turns with the listener (the mirroring partner) making defining statements about the sender's self. Each word in the sentence stem is important. Our statements can be accurate or inaccurate and each time the speaker gets to tell us. "You're right." or "Nope." But every time the speaker gets to hear and agree with positive self-defining statements of self. Thus each time they are defining their self-hood.

Example (the person's favorite movie was Whale Rider)
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes likes swimming."
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes can get sunburned."
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes doesn't like crowds."
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes prefers picnics alone to city beaches."
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes likes whales."
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes feels lonely."
"I am getting it that you are the kind of person who sometimes wishes people would notice your strength."
Etc.


Good going, fddlr3


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #75015
02/27/11 04:49 PM
02/27/11 04:49 PM
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Monterey, CA
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I so appreciate the thoughts expressed and the depth of understanding evidenced in the writings. I'm slowly working through them, as each one seems to point to a previous one as a pre-requisite. I really like the iceberg metaphor!

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
First, I see PreValidation as primarily an attitude, but one that needs to be shared in action, words, gestures, tones.
Yes, it does need to be conveyed in a tangible way - and that can include facial expression, body language as well as small sounds indicating listening and empathy. For me, then, PreValidation is like the ground that underlies the entire interaction. Sometimes this is all that someone actually needs, to have a space held in which they are not judged. For me, validation comes in as soon as I begin to respond verbally to what is being said.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I tend to mention explicitly as I am listening to someone that I believe they make sense. "Of course, I know you make sense doing that. Could you tell me more about it."

If the content of what is said is primarily thoughts, I might respond with something similar but shorter, like "That makes sense." My experience has been that I generally don't need to tell someone to say more, they do so naturally when I am listening well. Also, I avoid the use of "I" when responding, since it calls attention to the listener and away from the speaker. If there are feelings evident, then I would reflect those rather than whether what is being said makes sense, since the thoughts are simply being used as a vehicle for communicating the feelings. Again, I only use "you" and never "I."

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
"Do I make sense?" the person says. I will probably respond with something like, "Well of course you do. You/people always make sense. Can't do anything else. Tell me more."/quote]This is a very compassionate response. And I tend to approach statements like this a bit differently. This of course depends on the context, but I might response by addressing the underlying thought here, which is that they are not sure of what they just said. So I might say something like "So there's a part of you that's not sure." or "So a part of you doesn't fully agree with what was just expressed."

I like the idea that everyone does "make sense"!

[quote=AlTurtle]"Her behavior came out of the blue. She made no sense," the guy says. I may or may not interrupt at that moment. I may delay until he has run down a bit. But I will probably say something like, "Well, of course she was making sense at the time but you were in the dark about that. I wonder what she was up to, what was pushing her? You have any ideas?"
I have a different take on something like this, and it is based on the very same concept of "everyone makes sense." Namely, the person who says that "she makes no sense" - makes sense! So telling him that "she was sense" is telling him that he isn't making sense. In other words, I would validate his statement first. Something like "So you have no idea why that was done." or "So you disagree with the choice that was made." or "So you would have done it differently."

Regarding kids - when they are raised with an attitude of not being made wrong (i.e. having parents who always PreValidate them) it is remarkable. I have the pleasure of knowing the grandchildren of my mentor in this, who were raised this way, and they are so amazing to interact with. It's not that they PreValidate anyone as much as they have an attitude of being accepting of everyone without really thinking about it. It's a part of them.

The infamous "you" statements have given the pronoun "you" a bad rap, imo. The problem with "you" statements is what comes after the "you" not with the "you" itself. When I'm listening, I tend to exclusively use "you" but they are not "you" statements because they are validating, not blaming or criticizing.

Since I never use "I" when listening, I would avoid phrases like "I am getting it that …" since it calls attention to me instead of them. These are all wonderful responses, and I would simply leave out the first part. Such as

"So you like swimming."
"So you sometimes get sunburned."
"So you don't like crowds."

etc.

On the other hand, when I am expressing my own needs, I only use the pronoun "I" and never "you". I have noticed that the so-called "I messages" typically contain as many "you's" as "I's"!


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #75141
02/27/11 09:23 PM
02/27/11 09:23 PM
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: fddlr3
For me, then, PreValidation is like the ground that underlies the entire interaction. Sometimes this is all that someone actually needs, to have a space held in which they are not judged. For me, validation comes in as soon as I begin to respond verbally to what is being said.

I really like your thinking. I imagine I would enjoy your presence. What do you do for a living? If you work with people, I salute you and want a couple of million others of you.

One thing I note is that your images seem to imply "you doing the work," and "creating this space for others." I often find I am in that situation, but have moved on to facilitating such a space for everyone, including me.

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
If the content of what is said is primarily thoughts, I might respond with something similar but shorter, like "That makes sense." My experience has been that I generally don't need to tell someone to say more, they do so naturally when I am listening well. Also, I avoid the use of "I" when responding, since it calls attention to the listener and away from the speaker. If there are feelings evident, then I would reflect those rather than whether what is being said makes sense, since the thoughts are simply being used as a vehicle for communicating the feelings. Again, I only use "you" and never "I."


I love what you are doing here. And I want to add a bit about the "I" word. For a long time I focused on clients - individuals. Your advice fitted me perfectly. At that point I was interested in being a help to them. I was not focusing on their abilities to help others. Couple's work changed all that framework. I think this is the huge difference between individual work and couples work.

With individuals the focus is on their challenges and not so much on communication. I take care of all the communication issues. Like you, I carefully work to make them safe to share candidly and to learn without conflict.

With couples the focus is much more on creating that space you spoke of where PreValidation is the foundation. My goal is that they take that tone, skills to their home. My goal is that the learn to PreValidate each other all the time. For me this means they have to get good and using "You" and "I" smoothly even when their partner slips. I want them used to having to face disagreement in an agreeable fashion.

I came to believe, do believe, that individual counseling often doesn't prepare people for this - too much reliance on the skills of the therapist, the other.

Thus I use "I" and "You" all the time, modeling and teaching when this works well and when it doesn't.

Probably the most powerful tool I use is to disagree with them right in their face. A client tells me something that doesn't strike true to me. I mirror them. I validate them. And then I add, "By the way, I don't believe you. I think you are fooling with me/bullshitting me. Of course I may be wrong, but I do want to share with you what I am thinking. Would you rather I share or would you like me to keep my opinions hidden?" I will then continue to affirm that their believing themselves is enough. They don't need people to believe them, too.

Remember my goal is to facilitate them living in a community which has PreValidation in the foundations.

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
I have a different take on something like this, and it is based on the very same concept of "everyone makes sense." Namely, the person who says that "she makes no sense" - makes sense! So telling him that "she was sense" is telling him that he isn't making sense. In other words, I would validate his statement first. Something like "So you have no idea why that was done." or "So you disagree with the choice that was made." or "So you would have done it differently."


Good, good, but again I have this slight twist that I am pursuing. I want the person in front of me to enter the world where BOTH they make sense and the other person makes sense. Usually I will respond to anyone implying that a person (self or other) "doesn't make sense" with some sort of intervention. So it might sound, given your additional thoughts, like, "Well of course they make sense. And it makes sense you aren't aware of it right now. Hell, everyone's making sense. What keeps you from seeing their sense?"

This last intervention, the question, is all about bringing awareness to poor communication going on in this person's life.

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Regarding kids


I have only seen a couple of kids raised this way. Seems to be very rare - sadly. Some of the people I saw with this background came from western Africa. I've also heard of Mayan kids, tribal South American, and Australian Indigenous kids. Ah well, gotta face the country we are in.

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
The infamous "you" statements have given the pronoun "you" a bad rap, imo...........


I think I often face those who want a simple set of rules. One of the reasons my website seems awkward for people is that everyone seems to come from a different place and wants to learn things in a different order. Yet people seem to want a "one size fits all solution."

I tried to find the principles underneath the troubles, and leave it up to people to grasp those principles, and apply them or not as they choose.

For instance, I want no sentence uttered that isn't explicitly clear whose Iceberg that is coming from. "I think popsicles are tasty," is for me a fine sentence. "Popsicles are delicious," is a dangerous sentence. "The Bible is the Word of God," I think is a profoundly nasty sentence. "I love the Bible as the Word of God," seems to me a happy sentence.

Teaching people that "I think you are a liar," is a statement about the speaker seems useful. I do teach all this using Mirroring, the tool to teach handling words.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #75229
02/28/11 12:48 AM
02/28/11 12:48 AM
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I appreciate the kind words, Al - coming from one who has worked and thought so deeply about all of this, it is indeed a compliment. And I wish there were many more like yourself, especially therapists.

My day job is mostly right brain, teaching computer simulation to military officers. For a number of years though I have been exploring the other side of my brain through trying to learn the most effective ways of communicating with others. The original (and ongoing) motivation was my own marriage, which has gone through some very difficult times. We found that the MC's generally were not very helpful, but what has contributed the most to our relationship has been learning communication from a remarkable non-therapist. One interesting thing I have discovered is that these skills are very effective in dealing with the officers. One would think they respond better to an authoritarian stance, but I have found that empathetic communication is far more effective even there.

The work you are doing with couples is precisely the kind I wish more counselors did. I firmly believe that communication skills is the single most important factor in happy, loving, and successful relationships. By working with them as you do, they internalize the skills rather than relying on the counselor. My wife and I had that problem with a number of MCs we saw - I wish we'd started with you!

In my case, being more of an amateur than a professional, I don't have any goal except for the other person to feel heard and validated. Since they are not coming to me for help, it isn't my place to do so. Your clients are coming to you for help, and part of your help might be to call them on their bullshinola. In that context, it is more than appropriate, it is probably exactly what is needed in that moment. In similar situations, what I use instead is something I learned called a "gentle challenge." So far I haven't been able to find a way to explain it, although I can model it IRL. What it does is hold up two conflicting thoughts expressed by the speaker for them to look at. Whether I believe them or not is not the issue for me - but again, I am not being asked to help them, just listen. The gentle challenge however has become a very important tool for helping someone who is "stuck."

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
For instance, I want no sentence uttered that isn't explicitly clear whose Iceberg that is coming from.
I love the iceberg metaphor. I also appreciate the subtle distinction between similar-sounding sentences that can mean entirely different things. I believe it is the difference between stating something as a "universal truth" (which I believe is called "Master Talk") and stating the same thing as a person's perspective. I find it very insightful that such a crucial distinction can exist for something as "innocuous" as popsicles! I completely agree that such statements say more about the speaker than anything else - and generally that the speaker is in some kind of pain.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #75779
03/01/11 05:26 PM
03/01/11 05:26 PM
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Dear fddlr3,

I really like your phrase, "PreValidation is like the ground that underlies the entire interaction." I think it is simple and elegant.

Last night in my group we discussed the fundamentals of our group interactions. After listing all the members we got down to it. Here is what ended up on the bottom of the board.


The top line was about "Preference for Internal Locus of Control." This refers to a concept about where people describe control in their lives: externally (they make me do this) or internally (I choose to do this).

The next line refers to a common to the group awareness of the centrality of the concepts in the Biological Dream.

The bottom line is yours, "Founded on PreValidation." While I think of this as a piece of the Biological Dream skills (related to Diversity), we've pulled it out and explicitly put it in the foundations of interactions.

As the group of you all discusses how to greet newcommers, I was noticing the ideas around "You can't validate...." certain people - those who aren't there, the WS or etc. What I encourage is that whenever you can't Validate, you can PreValidate.

My thought is that if you are talking/responding to a newcomer who is pretty pissed at their departing partner, you can validate the newcomer's anger/resentment/disappointment and and PreValidate the absent departing partner. Doing this gently and kindly probably sets up the best environment for sharing, learning and support.

By the way, I think there are many routes to getting a great relationship and "professionals" don't have, in my opinion, even a corner on the market. Hooray for learning communication and for working with them great military people.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #75813
03/01/11 07:04 PM
03/01/11 07:04 PM
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I keep coming back to your prevalidation thinking in relation to people I have recurring problems with. I think in particular of my ex-SD. She can be counted on to react in the most histrionic fashion to any stimulus. She also acts in a manner that is attacking to anyone she percieves as a threat. Her memory of events tends to not even come close to anyone else's memory and it's malleable over time by her emotions - she took a single incident of a physical altercation with her mother that was actually pretty mild, and over the course of 4 years turned that into ongoing physical assault abuse allegations. (Thank goodness she never said it to anyone who is an obligatory reporter.) She has made being a victim an art form.

Needless to say, I don't get along AT ALL with this person. I can see things in her childhood that potentially caused some of her dysfunctions, and I understand that it all makes sense to her. That doesn't help me interface with her. OR with her father who believes everything from her and even takes on some of her attributes when she's around.

How does the prevalidation help when the other person just seems flat out crazy?


Let me not be so vain to think I'm the sole author of my victories and and a victim of my defeats. -- ze frank
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: TACticGAL] #75814
03/01/11 07:10 PM
03/01/11 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted By: theantichick
I keep coming back to your prevalidation thinking in relation to people I have recurring problems with. I think in particular of my ex-SD. She can be counted on to react in the most histrionic fashion to any stimulus. She also acts in a manner that is attacking to anyone she percieves as a threat. Her memory of events tends to not even come close to anyone else's memory and it's malleable over time by her emotions - she took a single incident of a physical altercation with her mother that was actually pretty mild, and over the course of 4 years turned that into ongoing physical assault abuse allegations. (Thank goodness she never said it to anyone who is an obligatory reporter.) She has made being a victim an art form.

Needless to say, I don't get along AT ALL with this person. I can see things in her childhood that potentially caused some of her dysfunctions, and I understand that it all makes sense to her. That doesn't help me interface with her. OR with her father who believes everything from her and even takes on some of her attributes when she's around.

How does the prevalidation help when the other person just seems flat out crazy?
I'd be interested in that answer as well. I work in a community health clinic and there is a lot of conflict--partly because we have a lot of, ummmmmm, crazy folks.

Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: TACticGAL] #75860
03/01/11 08:59 PM
03/01/11 08:59 PM
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AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: theantichick
How does the prevalidation help when the other person just seems flat out crazy?


Originally Posted By: hoosiermama
I'd be interested in that answer as well. I work in a community health clinic and there is a lot of conflict--partly because we have a lot of, ummmmmm, crazy folks.


Well, here we go. I was amused by Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland with the line, "Sure you are crazy, bonkers. But I've found out all the very best people are crazy."

I think this is a great question on the way to learning what PreValidation is. The way I see it, a person who seems crazy, is a normal person whose world-view is just perhaps tragically different from yours or those around you. Calling them crazy, giving them a nice diagnostic label, doesn't change anything - cept maybe creates a second problem, a label. It will probably also create a sense of distance from them which will probably come across as "invalidating" and non-therapeutic. (Tho it may make the staff feel "fragily" better.)

Your choice is to turn you back on them and call them "crazy" or to turn toward them and PreValidate, wondering about how they make sense.

I have a great friend, Jim Wells, MD, a Psychiatrist in North Carolina, who introduced his whole ward to PreValidating and Validating. Found it vastly improved care. Told me that often mental health professionals are woefully mis-trained in this area. Gave everyone my paper on Road to Empathy.

PreValidating the "crazy" seems to me the wisest thing to do with them.

Of course tis just my opinion.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #75880
03/01/11 09:42 PM
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Thank you for the kind words Al - they are much appreciated, especially from you! I am coming to appreciate the power of PreValidation, and especially like the wisdom in:
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
whenever you can't Validate, you can PreValidate.


Your group sounds like a wonderful one - do you ever get to California?

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
if you are talking/responding to a newcomer who is pretty pissed at their departing partner, you can validate the newcomer's anger/resentment/disappointment and and PreValidate the absent departing partner.
This gave me an "ah-ha" with regards to something that had come up on the peer counseling thread. PreValidating both the poster as well as the spouse means adopting an attitude that neither one is "wrong" (or accepting that they are both "making sense" as you might put it). A concrete way to PreValidate such a poster is to continue to focus on their feelings and steadfastly refuse to play "ain't they awful" about their spouse. I believe that all anger and resentment directed at another person is, deep down, a different feeling about oneself, such as pain, fear, or sadness. Validation the poster together with PreValidation both the poster and the spouse will, imo, help them get to those feelings, which in turn will help them move forward. Commiserating about what a $4!t their spouse is only serves to keep them stuck, in my experience.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #76064
03/02/11 04:11 AM
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flowmom Offline
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Originally Posted By: fddlr3
PreValidating both the poster as well as the spouse means adopting an attitude that neither one is "wrong" (or accepting that they are both "making sense" as you might put it). A concrete way to PreValidate such a poster is to continue to focus on their feelings and steadfastly refuse to play "ain't they awful" about their spouse. I believe that all anger and resentment directed at another person is, deep down, a different feeling about oneself, such as pain, fear, or sadness. Validation the poster together with PreValidation both the poster and the spouse will, imo, help them get to those feelings, which in turn will help them move forward. Commiserating about what a $4!t their spouse is only serves to keep them stuck, in my experience.
I see things this way as well. But it seems that validation can be very tricky. There was a thread started recently here where affaired-against spouses wanted to talk about their anger towards their spouses' affair partners (OP). The original poster mentioned not feeling safe to express that anger in their thread because they didn't want to get advice to focus on themselves, etc. I assume the poster didn't get to feel "listened to" before getting feedback and didn't feel validated in their anger. It's tricky in a forum to make those steps happen in a way that the poster can see/feel.


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #76081
03/02/11 04:46 AM
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AlTurtle Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: flowmom
I see things this way as well. But it seems that validation can be very tricky. There was a thread started recently here where affaired-against spouses wanted to talk about their anger towards their spouses' affair partners (OP). The original poster mentioned not feeling safe to express that anger in their thread because they didn't want to get advice to focus on themselves, etc. I assume the poster didn't get to feel "listened to" before getting feedback and didn't feel validated in their anger. It's tricky in a forum to make those steps happen in a way that the poster can see/feel.


Well, I think you've touched on another issue that's got to be dealt with - anger, or probably more accurately, the expression of feelings. (Maybe time for a new Topic!)

Sandra and I were very lucky to have been deeply educated both in expressing emotions but also on clearly delineating between "feelings" and "thoughts masquerading as feelings." We did this training before we started working on our relationship, actually during our Romantic Period and the beginning of our Power Struggle. I think it has been very useful to us both.

If you look the menu in on my website, you'll see a whole section of papers on Feelings and Emotions. This section, surprised me, by being popular with people in Sweden, Turkey and South Korea. I think teachers used my papers in classes. I am aghast at what the translations (via Google) must have looked like.

The reason I am bringing this up is that one principle I teach on the emotion of anger is that in our culture the only time Anger is "legitimate" to express is when the target is "justified." Lots of studies on this. Called a "guilt-free hostility object." Practically, if a person starts to feel the emotion of anger, they create a court case that justifies the expression of that anger. Mind you, they already have the anger, but no "excuse for it." So, when I see someone building a logical case against someone (invalidating all the way), I just believe they are pissed off and want to let their anger out. I validate their anger w/o paying much attention the the "excuses."

I observe this in two ways. This seems to me to be the most common posture of individuals, particularly men, coming into my office (pissed at their spouse for being disobedient or for leaving, lying, betraying, or something like that). And they want me to "approve" of their "right" to be angry, their righteous anger. They often call this "Validation" - this approval. Now, I believe all emotions are alway valid by their very existence and do not need any "approval".

The second way I see this effect is online, where someone comes to the site, "complains about how bad their partner is", i.e. building that verbal case against them (invalidating all the while), and then others jump in to express their own anger - kind of a piling on ("Yeah, my wife did that and it really pissed me off".

I am grateful for a great posting by Foreverhers today in which it seemed he displayed a whole pile of his held in rage at the OM while, it seemed to me, neatly omitting to a) Validate the OM b)omitting to Validate his wife, all the while c) building a case against the OM and d) foolishly letting his wife off the hook. I like FH and particularly like him being here online and being candid. And I think he has a complete right to his rage. I'd fight for his right. Tis just my take on all the anger stuff.

So, if you read my stuff, the goal is to Validate everyone, but maybe first triage the emotional bundle that people bring when they first arrive. I generally put emotions and feelings first and then get on to the cognitive stuff. (This makes highly pissed and bright/cognitive people to be dramatic to deal with.)

In the office it seems a balance. "You have a right to being damn mad/sad. Go ahead and let it out. Oh, and sometime we are gonna have to figure out why your partner did this stuff, but for now go ahead and be pissed/cry." I witness the beautiful emotion, but do not validate the angry court-case dramatic stuff.

Tough subject.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #76093
03/02/11 05:57 AM
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Fiddler Offline
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Originally Posted By: flowmom
I see things this way as well. But it seems that validation can be very tricky. There was a thread started recently here where affaired-against spouses wanted to talk about their anger towards their spouses' affair partners (OP). The original poster mentioned not feeling safe to express that anger in their thread because they didn't want to get advice to focus on themselves, etc. I assume the poster didn't get to feel "listened to" before getting feedback and didn't feel validated in their anger. It's tricky in a forum to make those steps happen in a way that the poster can see/feel.
Getting advice to focus on themselves is not validation - it is actually invvalidation, imo. The most effective way to validate someone in that circumstance (IRL at least, in my experience) is to not buy into the personal attacks, but continue to reflect and validate the painful feelings.

I don't know what happens with posters, but face-to-face when someone is heard this way they gradually (or even rapidly) soften and move into their heart place. The speaker is the only guide for where things go, and the listener/validator's only role is to stay with them, "walk the walk" as my mentor puts it.

It is completely understandable that this didn't feel safe in that circumstance - if they didn't feel validated, then the responses were not effective, whatever they might be.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #76094
03/02/11 06:06 AM
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Thanks for your reply Al! I had read about those concepts but I didn't connect them with what I posted about above. I see the link now.

You know, that's what bothers me the most about the preoccupation with the OM/OW: it seems to let the spouse off the hook and paints them as a "victim" and the OP is seen as the "predator". Perhaps that comes from the intention to "save marriages"? Creating an "us" between the spouses banded against the "them" of the OP?


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #76095
03/02/11 06:11 AM
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Good points fddlr. I think I am not alone in relishing giving advice but being terrible at validation. I actually think that in many cases I am able to pre-validate, but I fall short when it comes to doing the actions that express that (validation). I guess this forum is a good place to work on these skills. I just need to keep reminding myself.


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #76377
03/02/11 09:17 PM
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Flowmom, maybe you could express what kinds of difficulties you have been having attempting to validate.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #76394
03/02/11 09:37 PM
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Fiddlr, I think it's because my mind tends to be overactive in conversation and in posting in a forum. I do the validating in my head, but it's in "fast forward" mode and I tend to communicate as if the validation is "assumed". I forget that the validation that I could offer is far more supportive than my ideas or advice.


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #76403
03/02/11 09:51 PM
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So it's not that you won't or can't validate, it's that it is hard to slow down and make it explicit. And knowing that's what happens, you still find it almost impossible to respond with the validation you are thinking, even when posting on a forum.

(Sorry for the thread-jack Al - hope it's okay)


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #76429
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flowmom Offline
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Yes, you've got it fiddlr smile


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #76432
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So for now you are content with how things are.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #76434
03/02/11 11:04 PM
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flowmom Offline
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As I wrote above, it's my intention to practice validation more frequently in the forum and IRL. So no, I am not content with how things are.


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #76440
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You want to find a way to validate more, and have no idea how to go about it.


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: Fiddler] #76544
03/03/11 03:41 AM
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AlTurtle Offline OP
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Dear Flowmom and fddlr3,

Thanks for slowing this down. I tend to prevalidate everyone who writes. (By the way, as you learn to get better at Validating, I suggest you practice PreValidating all the time.) So when you, Flowmom, said you had difficulty validating, I was very interested in your problems. I think fddlr3 did a great communication job of inviting you to be more clear. Thanks, both. It often seems to take two to slow things down.

So you have a speed problem, speed of mind and speed of mouth. I certainly had something like that. It surfaced enormously in my relationship with Sandra. The line I use is, "I can think 3000 words a minute and Sandra can listen 30 words a week." smile

Tis not a problem if I am alone or if she is alone. Tis a problem of adapting to each other. The principle is that a) I cannot slow down my brain, b) I can speak slower, c) she cannot listen faster. The solution was for me to put a permanent system of gears in between my brain and my mouth. The way I learned this was to chat with her often and let her control, by hand gestures, the speed of my mouth. We were practicing Mirroring a lot in those days, very much what fddlr3 is doing.

There is one thing I might share about what makes this cool. One time I was driving my first wife along a country road. She said, "Don't drive too fast." I said, "OK, what is too fast." She said, "You know." My brain/lizard went crazy. You cannot meet another person's need by reading their mind. So you can't slow down enough to meet someone's need if they won't participate in the process.

Learning to speak slower, Sandra provided the "brake lever" and I supplied the "linkage" that made it easy to control my mouth speed.

Slowing my mouth down became a wonder for me, too. I have more time to craft what I am saying, lots and lots more time. And, after all, my goal isn't to chatter, my goal is to feel heard.

I salute you both, again.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #76549
03/03/11 03:53 AM
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Maybe I can bend this to be on topic if I pretend that validating and encouraging are the same thing.

I am following this, and using it somewhat selfishly right now as I realize that in my fear of exhausting people I don't go deep enough. I "tested the waters" a bit today and found validation and safety enough that I think I can continue. There may be things posted on my blog that I have never examined. Things I have been ashamed to think but that I am realizing by reading all of THIS are gonna make my "iceberg" crack and succumb to global warming if I continue to shove them back down.

The reason I might actually open up this personal Pandora's box is because of the validation I am feeling here. THIS is the kind of environment I think I can get some work done in. If only there was someone in the rural deep south that did this in person. Lucky y'all...you get to take the ride.

So thank you for this.

Re: Topic 4: "The Secret of Validation" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #76552
03/03/11 04:05 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions Al. I don`t usually tend to talk really quickly, but I do just skip over the things that I`m too impatient to say blush . I think that being more mindful before speaking and posting is something that I can work on.

So yes fiddlr, I do have an idea smile . Thank you for validating me. I have to admit that it feels uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of it, but I appreciate the intention and the opportunity to clarify my thoughts.


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
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