Blog

Surround yourself with people who believe in you(DW# 792)

Being the victim of emotional abuse such as gaslighting takes a toll on your sense of self.

 

The feeling of shame, isolation and sadness can be overwhelming and it can be tempting to hide out and to retreat from others.

 

It is of course helpful to give yourself the time and space to feel your emotions and to do healing work on your own. You can help yourself regain perspective by reminding yourself of times in your life when you have felt capable, grounded, sane, and generally good about yourself.

 

It is also a good idea to set a limit on your isolation and retreat, however, and to reach out to others who may ease the journey of healing.  

 

Friends and other relationships who ease the journey of healing are lifelines which we need to cultivate. When we are at the lowest point, when we lack confidence and strength, it is very important to surround ourselves with friends who believe in us, encourage us and remind us of our strengths...
Continue Reading...

Practice self-compassion(DW# 791)

We have been discussing ways to cope and to resource yourself when you are the target of emotional abuse such as gaslighting.
 
For women, who tend to the target of such abuse, it is easy to slip into questioning one’s judgement even more and being hard on yourself for falling for this behaviour. While this is tempting, please know that it will do nothing except make you feel worse. It will NOT help you cope any better, do better or feel better in this situation.
 
What will work to build your resources is the practice of self-compassion.

At times like this, it is really important to practice being kind to yourself and to remind yourself of your humanity, of how you "fell for this" because of your love and trust, both of which are positive feelings which are important aspects of wellbeing.
 
The practice of self-compassion is a widely researched tool in mental and emotional wellbeing. Let us briefly remind ourselves about the three key aspects of self-compassion....
Continue Reading...

Find a way to validate your reality(DW# 790)

With someone trying to mess with your sense of reality, it can feel very isolating. When you begin to question your own perceptions, it can be difficult to reach out to others for fear of appearing crazy. But you will need to up your game of self-care and building resources for yourself in order to maintain your mental and emotional wellbeing. You will need to find ways to validate your reality and to sort out truth from distortion.
 
Here are two suggestions:
 
The first is journaling.
 
Write down your conversations with the gaslighter in a journal so you can take an objective look at it. Where is the conversation veering off from reality into the other person’s view? Can you see patterns of responses when you bring up any area of conflict or question their behaviour? Do you recognize any phrases or statements that they consistently use from the ones we have discussed?
 
The second is to develop your own support system.
 
You need other people in...
Continue Reading...

It is really not about you(DW# 789)

The victim of gaslighting will need to keep reminding themselves that it is not about them. That the practice of gaslighting is about the gaslighter’s poor coping skills.

 

It helps to understand that it is about the gaslighter’s need for control and power That some people use gaslighting as a way to control the moment in the relationship, to stop the conflict, to ease some anxiety and to feel "in charge" again. They have not learnt to take responsibility for making a mistake and believe that it is unsafe for them to do so. They keep control by deflecting responsibility from themselves by blaming the other person and trying to prove them wrong.

 

Of course, no one wants to start out doing this in their relationships. But when they do it once or twice, they witness it, they feel the effects of it, or stumble upon it and they realise that it is a potent tool.

 

IN OTHER WORDS, IT WORKS.

 

It works to silence conflict and any challenge to the...
Continue Reading...

Call it out(DW# 788)

Of course, it is much easier to work on relationships if both people are involved and committed. But this is not always possible. When the other person is refusing to work with you and instead uses gaslighting as a coping mechanism for conflict and disagreement, they are unlikely to have the degree of self-awareness needed to take responsibility for their actions and to work on the relationship.

 

So, here’s the thing: although it seems unfair, the victim of gaslighting needs to take charge of their own responses and do what they can to help themselves. This is not easy, but it is much better than waiting endlessly for the other person to change.

 

Over the next few days, let us explore some ways to help ourselves if we find ourselves in such a situation.

 

The first and perhaps most important step is to recognize and name the gaslighting. Name what is going on between you and your spouse, friend, family member, colleague, or boss. If it is not safe for you to...
Continue Reading...

Recognizing gaslighting(DW# 787)

Here are some more uncomfortable truths about gaslighting:
 
The gaslighter is typically a man and the gaslightee is typically a woman.
 
Why? In part because women are generally socialized to take the responsibility for making relationships work. If their partners are upset with them, they will often doubt themselves and continually apologize for disagreeing or upsetting their spouses. Men generally do not get this message when growing up.
 
Also, gaslighting is most likely to happen when you bring up issues of conflict or disagreement. Typical triggers that create a stressful environment that can lead to gaslighting include topics such as money, sex, secrecy around other relationships or finances, successful careers which cause the other to feel insecure, families of origin, or habits you came into the relationship with.
 
Given that the process of gaslighting often results in the person second guessing their own sense of reality, it is...
Continue Reading...

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...
Continue Reading...

Motivation matters (DW# 785)

We have been talking about gaslighting in relationships: that is saying or doing things which cause the person on the receiving end to start questioning their own perceptions, reality and even sanity.

There are various situations where another person may question our view of events or our perceptions and we need to remind ourselves to be careful about being quick to label something as gaslighting or writing the person off as a narcissist.

The first situation is more a matter of personality than of malign intentions. Some people are dismissive of things and attitudes of others as a matter of habit. So what we may think of as gaslighting may simply be a person’s argumentative nature, their air of superiority, or their judgmental tendency. Many high functioning and powerful individuals sometimes have a hard time practicing humility or knowing how to have egalitarian relationships. They may not intend harm on purpose and are often surprised when their partners get angry and hurt...
Continue Reading...

Why is gaslighting so harmful in relationships? (DW# 784)

Yesterday, we distinguished between two types of "gaslighting", one where there is intent to control, manipulate, and subjugate the other person compared to where the person doing the gaslighting is simply trying to save themselves from facing accountability.

Experts agree that even when gaslighting is done on a one-time basis and is not part of characterological abuse, it is still very harmful to relationships as it destroys trust between people.

Since trust is the very foundation of an intimate relationship, when this is destroyed, it makes it very challenging to repair. When someone discovers that they were gaslit, they are shocked and traumatized that someone they trusted has the ability to harm them in this way. The breaking of trust leads to not feeling safe in the relationship and often results in shrinking away and protecting oneself from being intimate or vulnerable in the relationship.

Can a relationship continue with this emotional distance and self-protection? Yes of...
Continue Reading...

What is “Gaslighting" (DW# 783)

Yesterday we started talking about a situation where you experience a major break of trust, hurt or betrayal from a trusted loved one or colleague and instead of apologizing, they actually deny any wrong doing on their part. And then they turn the blame on you by suggesting that the problem is in your head and not in their behaviour.
 
The psychological term for this is "Gaslighting".
 
The word Gaslighting comes from Gaslight, the 1944 Oscar winning film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the story, a husband (Boyer) tries to convince his new wife (Bergman) that she’s imagining things, in particular the occasional dimming of their home’s gas lights. (He was dimming the gaslights as part of his plan to rob her of some very valuable jewelry.) Over time, the wife, who trusts that her husband loves her and would never hurt her, believes his lies and starts to question her own perception of reality. What is so disturbing about this story is that there...
Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.