What Validation Is & How It Helps

One of the main problems that microaggressions popover available cause is feeling paranoid. Participants in a wealth of studies have described feeling like they can't trust their own perceptions and judgements. Wondering if they really are oversensitive, and feeling like maybe they shouldn't feel so hurt or angry by something so small, even if it really is so constant. One of Dr. Derald Wing Sue's theories of why microaggressions are so stressful is that in the moment of a microaggression, when you're still trying to understand what's even happening, having been invalidated in the past leads you to doubt yourself every step of the way. [1-9]

In nearly every study on how marginalized popover available people deal with microaggressions, the same tactic comes up time again as the most common, most effective way to cope. Getting validation tooltip available from peers. [1-3,5-6,8,10]

You probably already do this to some extent. Something bad happens, and you tell a friend about it. The friend is supportive, and assures you that you're not overreacting. In the context of microaggressions, it might mean describing what happened and your friend assuring you that it was a microaggression and you're not just imagining it. Your friend might say that they would have done the same thing, or that how you felt and reacted were understandable. For instance, if you were angry, your friend might tell you that they'd be mad too. However it happens, your experiences and feelings are validated and the negative feelings you're experiencing because of the microaggression are reduced. More intentionally and mindfully popover available seeking validation can make a huge difference in your life. For examples of what validating sentences can look like, check out Valerie: The Auto-Validator.

Validation is, of course, the direct counterpart to the microinvalidations popover available. Dr. Sue believes microinvalidations are the most insidious form of microaggression, which makes validation one of the most important coping skills to counter them.[2]

[1] Donovan, Roxanne A., David J. Galban, Ryan K. Grace, Jacqueline K. Bennett, and Shaina Z. Felicié. “Impact of Racial Macro- and Microaggressions in Black Women’s Lives A Preliminary Analysis.” Journal of Black Psychology 39, no. 2 (April 1, 2013): 185–96. doi:10.1177/0095798412443259.

[2] Derald Wing Sue. Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010.

[3] Kevin Nadal. That’s So Gay: Microaggressions & The LGBT Community. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2013.

[4] Burn, Shawn, Kelly Kadlec, and Ryan Rexer. “Effects of Subtle Heterosexism on Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals.” Journal of Homosexuality 49, no. 2 (August 9, 2005): 23–38. doi:10.1300/J082v49n02_02.

[5] Nadal, Kevin L., Avy Skolnik, and Yinglee Wong. “Interpersonal and Systemic Microaggressions Toward Transgender People: Implications for Counseling.” Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 6, no. 1 (January 1, 2012): 55–82. doi:10.1080/15538605.2012.648583.

[6] Mays, Vickie M., and Susan D. Cochran. “Mental Health Correlates of Perceived Discrimination Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 91, no. 11 (November 2001): 1869–76.

[7] Derald Wing Sue, ed. Microaggressions and Marginality: Manifestation, Dynamics, and Impact. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010.

[8] Richard Keller, and Corrine Galgay. “Microaggressive Experiences of People with Disabilities.” In Microaggressions and Marginality: Manifestation, Dynamics, and Impact, 241–69. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010.

[9] Meyer, Ilan H. “Minority Stress and Mental Health in Gay Men.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 36, no. 1 (March 1, 1995): 38–56. doi:10.2307/2137286.

[10] Hernández, Pilar, Mirna Carranza, and Rhea Almeida. “Mental Health Professionals’ Adaptive Responses to Racial Microaggressions: An Exploratory Study.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 41, no. 3 (June 2010): 202–9. doi:10.1037/a0018445.