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Validation: The Skill and the Art — 5 Comments

  1. Pingback: All values are personal

  2. Al, I think you are amazing.
    I ran across (I believe I was lead) to your article on the parts of our brain and found it really good.
    I get so tired of hearing how we evolved from monkeys!
    Anyway, the way it is written actually made sense to my husband and he realized he spends the majority of his time in his “reptilian” brain…especially in intimate relationships. Somehow, though, the knowledge has not changed his lack of speech.
    We just spent 7 hours in a vehicle with him saying about 2 sentences. He believes he is not allowed to speak, which came from his family of origin. His dad was an alcoholic working on a military base, their home was a mess to say the least. There were only boys (3 brothers) and all they did was fight. His brother beat him up all the time.
    Most of the time he is dead silent…even when spoken to. He continually scapegoats me (blames everything on me and takes everything out on me, even things I did not do) and I am buckling under the pressure. This goes on mostly in his head and he doesn’t speak enough to clarify anything.
    I am actually wondering if he is autistic. There is huge master/slave going on here, me being the slave. Even though I do most of the talking…which will happen when your partner won’t talk. Someone has to say something! I am good at empathy and mirroring etc. but am at a loss as to how to pull anything out of him.
    If I say “I notice you are not speaking, his response is one of about 5 black and white responses. These are “Yeah”, “I don’t know what to say”, “I am not allowed to speak” or “I get it”. He once told me he had not figured out a “once and done” statement for what we were talking about…which was his lack of speech!

    I am hoping your information will spur him into action…you have done such a good job. There is all the “practical” included as well.

    • Oh, Kathy, you’re doing so well. And I’m reminded of your last sentence about the “practical.” I also like this guy – stuck in his reptilian brain. I think of this whole thing as a work in process. How does he get his Reptile to go to sleep, particularly in an intimate relationship – particularly in your presence? How do you help his reptilian brain to sleep, so that you can reliably connect with his cortex? Tis a common situation, I believe. And the coolest part of it is that the “Lizard” is almost completely “practical” and doesn’t really grasp theory at all.

      Now his behavior of silence or of “black and white” responses or “blame” is easy to understand with the context of his childhood (brothers and dad). Military and Ex-military have real trouble with intimacy, bless ’em. Warfare seems to be such a “black and white” world. And you must do stuff that reminds him of it. STOP.

      My guess is that you’ll find the answers in my Master/Slave and Power of Passivity papers and in the concept of MasterTalk. I doubt it is autism. MasterTalk may seem like a little thing, but I think it is all about respect, decency and the current battles in politics worldwide. Tis for me an enormous issue. And your goal is, I believe, to lead him to a safer world with you. “People who don’t talk are people who do not experience it as SAFE to talk.” Set it as a tactic that every time he speaks, even a short phrase, that he feels safe: i.e. he feels “heard”, “invited” to say more, and eventually always “understood”. Get rid of criticism, right/wrong, contradiction, and interruptions particularly briefly after he speaks. Quite a set of skills. Try ’em. Good luck.

  3. where can I learn to communicate in this manner? How do you validate someone who already has a negative view of you and the way you are? My husband who is in MLC, I think, use to worship me but now he loathes me and only remembers what he doesn’t like. We don’t communicate because he is living with ow and seems to have moved on with without an explanation. There was no closure and I was shocked by his decision to leave as if I didn’t mean much to him for many years. That he was unhappy but I didn’t know it. How to validate someone who won’t communicate? Is it even possible in an email?

    • Hello Sophie,

      where can I learn to communicate in this manner?

      Anywhere you are, you can learn and practice. Fastest way to learn is to be around people who communicate well and watch what they do. Easiest way to learn it to be raised by people who are good communicators, but I didn’t have that luck, and I guess you didn’t either.

      How do you validate someone who already has a negative view of you and the way you are?

      Those with what we call “negative views” are the best to practice with. I love the challenge of validating them. Check out my article on this, http://www.alturtle.com/archives/169. I learned to use the word “validate” differently, in a way that works. Learn to PreValidate.

      My husband who is in MLC, I think, use to worship me but now he loathes me and only remembers what he doesn’t like.

      Pretty normal for the shift from Romantic Love to the Power Struggle. (See my Map of Relationships http://www.alturtle.com/archives/801 ). Either way he isn’t seeing the real you. But I think the issues that he “loathes” are the ones that need addressing. Good luck.

      We don’t communicate because he is living with ow and seems to have moved on with without an explanation.

      You probably weren’t communicating for years, which was just one of the problems. Since all those struggles to communicate didn’t work, he’s gone “hopeless” and is communicating clearly by leaving. Hopefully, and probably, the OW won’t communicate well either, so he may be turning back to you to see if you’ve changed. So get on with it.

      There was no closure and I was shocked by his decision to leave as if I didn’t mean much to him for many years. That he was unhappy but I didn’t know it.

      Yup. Your “blindness” was a big problem. Who in your family as a kid taught you to be blind?

      How to validate someone who won’t communicate?

      Well, I think you can’t. But you can easily PreValidate. And the first thing to do is to PreValidate that he won’t communicate. Sounds like this, “Well I see you aren’t communicating and I know you make sense doing that. I’m curious. Share more why you aren’t communicating.”

      Is it even possible in an email?

      Only a bit. But probably showing him that you can PreValidate by email will help. Check out http://www.alturtle.com/archives/1326

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