Are You A Victim Of Gaslighting

The word "gaslighting" gets tossed around a lot in the media these days, sometimes to the point that we lose sight of its gravity. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, and it should be treated as such. Importantly, that also means recovering as a victim of gaslighting can be a long, complicated process that goes beyond just calling out the person who did it.

Gaslighting is a series of manipulative behaviors with the goal of gaining control over you and keeping you feeling off-kilter. The gaslighter will blame you for their feelings, tell you what you saw or heard isn't true, pit you against your family and friends, tell people you are crazy, and isolate you.

After you've left a gaslighting relationship, you may be feeling a variety of emotions—anger, relief, sadness, and even despair. All these feelings are normal after any breakup but especially so after a breakup with a gaslighter. Not only are you grappling with the loss of someone you perhaps cared a lot about, but you're also processing the pain of being hurt by that person: You entrusted your heart to someone who wasn't who you thought they were, and they made a concerted effort to trick you, to undermine your self-confidence, and to make you question your reality. That's a unique type of hurt. It's OK to not feel good right now.

You may even feel like you don't know who you are anymore. Gaslighters work hard at dismantling who you are—your needs and your wants—because they want you to focus solely on them. Recovering that sense of self is no easy task, so don't feel bad if you initially feel devastatingly lost.

Just remember: You can and will heal. I've spent years studying how gaslighting happens, why people do it, and how its victims can recover. Here are six of the most important steps toward regaining your sanity after you've been gaslighted:

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