One patient, one of the worst self-cutters I have ever treated, used to have phone conversations with her mother nearly every day that lasted for hours and hours.On first listening, it sounded like the mother was expressing appropriate concern about the daughter’s cutting. I later learned that the conversation I listened to was essentially a rerun.(Making recordings this way is illegal in some states, but it is not illegal for me to listen to them).Patients brought me these tapes primarily because they were tired of other therapists continually insisting that their memories and descriptions of interactions with their families were all distorted.Listeners would have no way of knowing this, and would be inadvertently led to believe that they were being mistreated by the apparent invalidator. I had a big clue that invalidators may actually be thinking about themselves when they appear to be invalidating others.One of the ways I learned about borderline family dynamics was when adult patients brought audiotapes of conversations with their parents on the phone when the parents did not know they were being recorded.The second idea is that when children in a family are continually invalidated by their parents, they start to give them what the children think they want: saying and doing things which literally invite other people to invalidate them. I at first thought that maybe Linehan was re-discovering the wheel, but then I went back to the old book to look at how they defined disqualification.To my surprise, disqualification is something one does to oneself, not to someone else.
This leads to the proposition that when family members seem to be invalidating another family member, the apparent invalidators may really be disqualifying themselves.They accomplish this through wide range of deviant communicational phenomena “…such as self-contradictions, inconsistencies, subject switches, tangentializations, incomplete sentences, misunderstandings, obscure style or mannerisms of speech, the literal interpretation of metaphor and the metaphorical interpretation of literal remarks, etc." (p. They thought problematic behavior resulted from an unresolved conflict within the individual between two opposite courses of action.Now the analysts assumed that the conflict was between biological impulses like sex and aggression and a person's internalized value system, otherwise known as his or her conscience.Unfortunately, when someone disqualifies what they are saying in this manner, the other people listening are on shaky ground when trying to determine what is actually being communicated to them. In fact, just when listeners think they have a fix on it, such people may contradict themselves, leaving listeners to start to doubt their own perceptions about what was just said.In other words, when someone disqualifies themselves, they are often invalidating the person listening to them.
It could because they don't agree with them or they're uncomfortable dealing with them.