rage recovery for moms

When You’re Desperate for Validation

Often I talk to women who are desperate to be validated by someone, namely their partners. I know what it’s like—I’ve been there. Still am at times.

I used to feel like my husband didn’t validate me enough. I wanted to hear that my idea held promise or that I was worth the money I spent on myself or that I was far more desirable than the strippers at the bachelor party despite my A cups.

We all need validation. It helps us feel good about ourselves and allows us to move from feeling angry or used or sad to compassionate, energized, and happy. We need validation like we need air.

However, validation doesn’t have to come from a particular person or from anyone other than yourself, and challenges can arise when an expectation is set that it should come from a certain person and that person fails to meet the expectation (oftentimes without even knowing there was an expectation).

coaching for moms with rage

To take a closer look at your expectations for validation from your partner let’s use The Work of Byron Katie.

We’ll begin with the belief that “My husband should validate me” and go through the four questions. (You could also use “My husband doesn’t validate me” or “I wish my husband would validate me.”)

  1. Is it true that your husband should validate you?
  2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?
  3. How do you react—what happens—when you believe that he should validate you?
  4. Who would you be without the thought that he should validate you?

Once you’ve answered these find the turnarounds of “My husband should validate me” and give 3 examples of how each of them is true. (In creating turnarounds change the original statement to “the self,” “the other,” and “the opposite.”)

For instance:

1. (Turning it towards the self.) I should validate me.

What are 3 reasons this is true?

2. (Turning it towards the other.) I should validate my husband.

What are 3 reasons this is true?

3. (Turning it towards the opposite.) My husband shouldn’t validate me.

What are 3 reasons this is true?

What new ways of seeing the situation did you come up with? How will you apply them?


Validation rarely came (and still rarely comes) from my husband. And if it had I would have wanted more. Because no amount of validation given by others would ever be enough.

Ultimately, validation from others can only trigger us to validate ourselves. That’s why your husband can tell you 4,761,902 times that you’re beautiful, but you don’t feel beautiful unless you also believe that it’s true, in which case the need for validation fades.

Over time I realized the gifts within my husband’s “withholding” of validation.

First was the space created in which I was forced to find acceptance in myself if I wanted to be happy. Though it wasn’t really a matter of force—it was a choice. I could stay in place wallowing because he didn’t, I assumed, value me as much as I’d like, or I could choose to value myself and practice doing so.

Second was the realization that we are each other’s mirror. I did not, and still don’t, often validate my husband because he is incredibly strong and independent, so in my mind there’s nothing to validate. What we see in others is a reflection of what is in us. The strength and independence I see in him is a reflection of the same in me. I know he sees strength in me, too. Strength that is both a reflection of what’s in him and, I presume, part of what keeps him from feeling a need to validate me.

From this viewpoint, rather than being someone who is holding back, he is someone who sees the best in me.  He is also free from the yoke of validating me as part of his life’s work. And I am free of the expectation that he do so.

(Most of the time.)

What would happen if you released the expectation that your partner should validate you?

What might happen if you abandoned other expectations as well?

What would it take for you to be able to validate you?


Did this post stir you up? Share your questions, insights, or arguments in the comments.

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