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Emotionally Invalidating Environment

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Updated December 29, 2008

Definition:

An emotionally invalidating environment is any environment in which a person’s emotional experiences are not responded to appropriately or are responded to inconsistently.

For example, in an emotionally invalidating home environment, a child who becomes frustrated and cries may be told “stop being such a baby.” In extreme examples, a child may be physically assaulted for expressing feelings.

An emotionally invalidating environment has been suggested as one of the factors that puts people at risk for developing borderline personality disorder (BPD).

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