Question-- do you think that validating him right now interferes with his need to work on himself without leaning on me?
I think the bigger question is why are you asking this? Is it control? Is it fear?
You can validate people all the time w/o engaging or even accepting it as true for you. You are just understanding that they are in pain.
Originally Posted by may22
I think the reason I asked this was because folks here and my IC have been very very clear that this is his work to do, not mine, and I need to stop shouldering his emotional processing load for both of our sakes. So I guess I was wondering if validation counted as helping him to do the work that is really his to do, not mine. Is the act of validating helping take off some of his mental burden? I am definitely not open to validating or listening at all to him processing his feelings around AP-- that is a boundary for me and easy to enforce. But his concerns about his own identity, why he did this, and both his hurt from the SSM in the past and his worry that we'll slide back into it eventually-- I'm unsure if listening or validating these thoughts is crossing any lines. (I feel a little bit like the SSM talk is-- I told him last time he brought it up that I'd be happy to discuss it once he was over AP, but in the near term it didn't feel good on my end to discuss it. I'm not sure if that is a boundary for my own safety, or if it is a discomfort I need to push through eventually.)
I personally think it just doesn't add fuel to the fire. You certainly don't have to validate him at all. It's your choice. I'm starting to use "I hear you" more often. It felt uncomfortable at first but now I just leave it at that and continue on. It helps me with a self boundary to not be tempted to allow that shoulder to cry on or to absorb more than I need to.
M(f): 38 D'ed: 8/12
Show empathy when there's pain. Show grace when warranted. Kindness in the midst of anger. Faith in the face of fear.