Gaslighting is a word you don’t encounter very often – especially if you’re on the receiving end of this bizarre form of abuse. It’s a tactic used by abusers to cause victims to question their own sanity and perceptions of reality so the abuser can assume power and control.
Gaining confidence in your own perceptions can be quite difficult after being a victim of extreme gaslighting. Because the abuser has driven you to a state of emotional vertigo, you’re conflicted about your own decisions and even your sanity.
To rebuild self-trust, psychiatrists advise you to breathe into your own truth. But what does this mean exactly? Once you’re well aware and have completely accepted that you’ve been a victim of gaslighting, it’s time to dig into your personal memories to repair your reality.
Go back to that time when you were completely confident about your decisions and perceptions about reality. This has been proven to be an effective technique because it is, after all, our memories that keep us grounded in reality.
Getting Legal Help
Experts note that gaslighting is not often the motive behind the abuse. As a matter of fact, it is used as a technique to cover up or get away with another form of abuse, such as sexual assault or domestic violence. Reports show that this is common among married couples.
For instance, you hear your husband admitting to sleeping with other women, and the moment you confront him about it, he’d say “I never said that” or “you’re imagining things.” It goes on until he makes you believe that you were just imagining things.
Usually, the tell-tale signs are too subtle, but there are ways to find out for yourself. If you constantly doubt yourself, second-guess your actions, or make excuses for a partner who’s obviously abusive, it may be helpful to seek professional support, call the National Domestic Violence hotline, or consult friends and family.
If you confirm that you’re being gaslighted, it’s best to seek advice from a divorce lawyer. Bear in mind that confronting a partner about divorce may only motivate him to continue manipulating you emotionally.
It’s sometimes hard to discern why the people we love and trust the most turn out to be our biggest abusers. Repairing your reality after being stuck in a dizzying state of emotional confusion is daunting, but it’s important to learn to trust yourself again so it doesn’t happen over and over.