Can relationships heal after gaslighting has... (DW# 786)
We have been discussing gaslighting and its significant impact on a relationship.
The question we will explore today is this: is it possible for a relationship where there has been gaslighting to heal and become healthy?
Of course, it is not a good idea to write anyone off since people can surprise us and change in healthy ways when we do not expect them to.
However, we also need to be realistic about what is probable.
In relationships where gaslighting is a pattern, or used as a tool of emotional and characterological abuse, change is only possible if the perpetrator is open to intensive and long-term individual therapy. This requires some level of self awareness or awakening on the part of the perpetrator to realize their behavior has damaged another human being’s psychological wellbeing. Since abusers and perpetrators of gaslighting are rarely open to such treatment or to examining their own behavior and its impact, it is often up to the victim of gaslighting to seek help for themselves rather than wait for the perpetrator to change.
In other scenarios where gaslighting is part of a cover up of a particular set of lies, or where it is because of the argumentative nature of the person, there is more hope for healing.
Even this scenario does require that the person engaging in the gaslighting behavior is genuinely concerned about the impact they are having on the victim, they are willing to look at their own contribution to the problem, and they are willing to learn healthier ways of communicating in close relationships.
The road to rebuilding trust in a relationship is long and the path is challenging. But it is definitely possible with good support and hard work. It is imperative to do the work to rebuild trust if there is any desire for an authentic, healthy and mutually satisfying relationship.
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