He knows how valuable I am (that I could find another job tomorrow), I know how valuable I am, but I get hardly any feedback--in fact, all we get is outright criticism for anything that lies outside of his standard of perfection. It manifests badly for him, because nobody dares bring any issue up with him, people don't trust him, and people will either isolate themselves or up and leave at the first opportunity that presents itself.
The problem is that I don't expect that an open and honest discussion of my feelings would get anywhere. He doesn't speak on the wavelength of 'feelings' anyway, and exit interviews with several of his employees have hinted at this problem time and time again to no avail.
Honestly, it helps to grasp the perspective that the environment around you is to 'blame.' I think that it helps with acceptance of the fact that you may not get much external validation.
I now keep my nose to the grindstone and do exactly what I'm told, and no more, because initiative and creativity isn't valued so much. In the meantime, I'm on the lookout for ways to work with good teams--I treat my own employees very well, and I'm looking for other jobs with better leadership. In a way, recognizing the situation for what it is--and doing my best to create environments that are suitable for me--is freeing because I'm not beating my head against a wall.
It's not fatalism; it's acceptance. That lays the groundwork for me to change my perception and, in at least some small ways, to change the environment around me.