The need to be heard and get validation is an important part of how we see ourselves. Young children need validation constantly to help them determine their boundaries.As toddlers begin walking they take a few steps away from Mom and look back for validation that she is still there and they are OK. And then they take a few more steps and check again. As they grow the focus of the validation may change from mommy to family to friends etc.
But within a closed community such as the WTS the only way to get validation is to follow the rules and not set your own boundaries. The self is seen as the enemy and only the "New personality" is validated. The individual must be suppressed. For those raised as JWs this creates massive problems after they leave. They must start out at square 1 testing the boundaries like the 2-yr old who is told d\"Don't touch" but touches anyways to see what will happen. As JWs the person is invisible. The true self is always encouraged to be submerged. And personal growth winds up being stunted.
Then we get out. We have no idea about where the boundaries should be. We test and seek out validation but the old source of validation is gone. Add to that the rumors and lies that are told about us. And their unwillingness to listen to our side. We have been tried and convicted without an opportunity to tell our side whether we went before a JC or not.
In the book Toxic Parents by Susan Forward she discusses the need for confrontation. This is a way for us to be heard. But she fully realizes that being heard and getting validation from truly toxic people is next to impossible. Confrontation then becomes more about self-empowerment than about seeking validation.
When a person confronts another about the hurt thay have cause it has to be with the intent of speaking your truth regardless of the other person's response. It is about saying
- "This is what you did."
- "This is how it affected me then."
- "This is how it affects me today" and
- "This is what I want"
Most likely they will not acknowlwdege what they have done. So we can't speak our truth and expect them to admit it. But once we understand the impact their hurt has caused in our lives and the power they took from us, we can find a way to reclaim that power.
Forward recommend writing a letter. It may be given to them or read to them or kept for yourself (especially useful when the person who hurt you has died or is too dangerous to confront). Include in the letter the above 4 things. Be very specific about what happened and how it affected you emotionally, physically, cognitively (what you thought about it or yoursaelf or the world), sexually, spiritually etc. And then state clearly what you want and what you need know you won't get this from them but claim those things for yourself and will get those elsewhere from now on. The point here is to make it clear to yourself and the other person that you no longer will seek acknowledgement and validation from them. Also that you will no longer allow them to hhave power over you. You claIM YOUR OWN POWER. YOU set the limits and boundaries of the relationship from now on, not them.
Forward then goes on to talk about the need to put the letter away for a few days and then take it out and reread it. Change what you need to change and put it away agina. Keep doing this until you take it out and there are no more changes. At that point you can decide to give the letter to the person or not. You have reclaimed the power to decide how to proceed.
I did this a few years ago with a friend who had hurt me badly. At one point the letter was over 30 pages long. It had everything in it. But through the rewritings it eventually was only 19 pages. And since she was not a violent person I decided to give it to her to read. She wanted a copy and I refused (too afraid she would find hurtful things to do with it) - my boundary not hers. In this case she had to respond that I was right. She had done those things and based on the letter she could see why I would no longer be friends with her. I felt she heard me but I didn't need her validation. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what had happened and that I no longer needed her to acceptance or validation.
A few years before this letter I had confronted my father about his abuses. I was not prepared and hoped he would apologize (Yeah right(1st mistake) My father was a violent man and I should have never gone for a face to face confrontation (2nd mistake). And while he didn't deny it he didn't apologize either. I had to back out of the house in the face of his growing rage and fortunately got out before he became violent. It did release mje from the guilt of the abuse being my fault. But I wasn'y empowered by it. I was scared to death he would hit first. I was a scared little girl again talking back to an all-powerful abused.
As for our need for validation from those we left behind: most won't listen and telling them anything just gives them more fuel for the rumors they will tell. I know I won't get validation from them. They are controled and have no personal power to offer validation from. Personally I get it from within and knowing who I am and what I need. I get it here and other places from people who are capable of giving me what I need.