In my work, I get this question a lot. I find it interesting how important it is for us to have the validation that someone else believes us. Anytime one of my clients questions whether or not I believe them, my response is always some version of
What I think doesn’t really matter. Do you believe yourself? That’s what’s important.
Do I have an opinion in the moment? Of course I do, I’m human. In these moments though, it’s important that I keep my opinion to myself. Why? I’ve learned that more often than not, when someone questions whether or not I believe something they’ve said, it’s because they know I have a reason not to.
In my experience, “you believe me, right?” is usually a precursor to someone asking me for something, and if I don’t believe them, it’s less likely that they will get what they are seeking. From a counseling point of view, the need for someone to know that I believe something they’ve told me often stems from a desire for confirmation that their manipulative behavior is working.
When I turn the question around on them, I am putting a mirror in front of them and forcing them to face their own truth instead of seeking my validation. Are they being honest? How they feel about that question is more important than how I feel.
Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.