Any failure on the part of the child to perform to the expected standard is therefore ascribed to lack of motivation or some other negative characteristic of her character.
(The feminine pronoun will be used throughout this paper when referring to the patient since the majority of BPD patients are female and Linehan’s work has focused on this subgroup).
The term Invalidating Environment refers essentially to a situation in which the personal experiences and responses of the growing child are disqualified or “invalidated” by the significant others in her life.
The child’s personal communications are not accepted as an accurate indication of her true feelings and it is implied that, if they were accurate, then such feelings would not be a valid response to circumstances.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is based on a bio-social theory of borderline personality disorder.
Linehan hypothesizes that the disorder is a consequence of an emotionally vulnerable individual growing up within a particular set of environmental circumstances which she refers to as the .
This can be done through denying, ridiculing, ignoring, or judging another’s feelings.
Regardless of the means, the effect is clear: the person's feelings are “wrong.”An environment perceived as invalidating generally means that the child grows up feeling that his emotional responses are not correct or considered in the regular course of things.
The technique has been devised by Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington in Seattle and its effectiveness has been demonstrated in a wealth of research in the past decade.
Over time, this can result in confusion and a general distrust of a person’s own emotions.
An invalidating environment is not the same thing as an abusive environment, although abusive relationships are certainly invalidating.
Invalidation can be quite subtle and may reflect a general way of interacting.
It is generally characterized by intolerance of the expression of emotional experiences, which often leads to extreme displays of emotion. Linehan, borderline personality disorder clinician and researcher, proposed the idea that the development of BPD happens during the developmental years, where the child receives the message that he or she should learn to cope with emotions internally and without support from his or her parents.
An emotionally vulnerable person is someone whose autonomic nervous system reacts excessively to relatively low levels of stress and takes longer than normal to return to baseline once the stress is removed.