Attributing Normal Emotions to Mental Illness is Invalidating

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Do people dismiss your emotions as simply symptoms of your mental illness? You’re not alone. See how to deal with that on HealthyPlace.

Attributing Normal Emotions to Mental Illness is Invalidating

Do you ever feel that when you have strong emotions about something, others in your life dismiss your emotions as simply symptoms of your mental illness?  Or maybe you’re blamed for them, accused of letting your mental illness get the better of you? Having emotions dismissed because you have a mental illness is a frustrating experience that can lead to a whole new set of feelings. Here’s why your emotions aren’t “just your mental illness.” (The Stigmatization of Your Emotions)

Mental illnesses—not just mood disorders— have different types of symptoms, including cognitive (thoughts), physical, behavioral, and emotional. Mental illness often makes feelings more intense or reactions stronger. That doesn’t mean, however, that your emotions aren’t legitimate.

Whether they’re positive or negative, mild or intense, emotions are a part of the human experience. Everyone experiences them in three primary ways:

  1. as private feelings
  2. as responses in our bodies (ever had butterflies in your stomach or a lump in your throat, for example?),
  3. as behavioral reactions

While everyone, with or without a mental illness, can benefit from learning about their emotions and adjusting behaviors, no one’s emotions can or should be brushed aside.

Explaining this to your loved ones when emotions are neutral might help them listen to you and your feelings in the future.

Other Articles Dealing with Emotions and Mental Illness

Your Thoughts

Today's Question: How do you handle it when others attribute your normal emotions and reactions to your mental illness and dismiss your feelings? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.


From HealthyPlace YouTube Channel

I'm Hannah. I Have Bipolar 2

I'm Bipolar and My Family Is Toxic: What To Do?

“I have bipolar disorder and my family is toxic. What can I do?” Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon question I get. (Watch Hannah and subscribe to the HealthyPlace YouTube channel for more great mental health videos.)


Most Popular HealthyPlace Articles Shared by Facebook Fans

Here are the top 3 mental health articles HealthyPlace Facebook fans are recommending you read:

  1. Is It Anxiety or a Medical Condition?
  2. Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem Both Help Our Wellbeing
  3. Common Barriers to Recovery from PTSD Explained

If you're not already, I hope you'll join us/like us on Facebook too. There are a lot of wonderful, supportive people there.


Mental Health Quote

"Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day."

Read more anxiety quotes.


That's it for now. If you know of anyone who can benefit from this newsletter or the site, I hope you'll pass this onto them. You can also share the newsletter on any social network (like facebook, stumbleupon, or google+) you belong to by clicking the links below. For updates throughout the week, circle HealthyPlace on Google+, follow HealthyPlace on Twitter or become a fan of HealthyPlace on Facebook. Also, check out HealthyPlace on Pinterest and share your mental health pins on our Share Your Mental Health Experiences board.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2019, January 7). Attributing Normal Emotions to Mental Illness is Invalidating, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: January 8, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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