Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which a person manipulates and undermines the victim's perceptions, memories, and sense of reality. It is a tactic used to gain power and control over the victim, often causing them to question their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Gaslighting can occur in a variety of relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, and familial relationships. Signs of gaslighting include:
Denying that certain events or conversations took place
Making the victim doubt their own memories and perceptions
Blaming the victim for their own abusive behavior
Isolating the victim from their support network
Making the victim feel like they are going crazy
Gaslighting can have serious psychological and emotional effects on the victim, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and a sense of powerlessness. If you suspect that you are being gaslit, it is important to seek support and get help from a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. It isn't always clear when we are being manipulated, especially if you lean into open-heartedness, open trust, and compassion for others. It is crucial to begin to notice if your "inner" ecology is beginning to question what is happening inside verses what is happening in our reality. Often when we are experiencing emotional abuse one will start to notice that we are over thinking and hiding our struggles inside.
Keeping important truths inside can have negative effects on mental health. Some possible effects include:
Repressed emotions: When you keep important truths inside, you may struggle to process and deal with your emotions. This can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness that are difficult to manage.
Increased stress: Keeping secrets can be stressful, as you may feel pressure to hide your true thoughts and feelings. This can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and stress and contribute to a variety of physical illness.
Decreased self-esteem: If you feel that you cannot be open and honest about who you are and what you believe, it can lead to a decline in self-esteem and self-worth.
Isolation: If you feel that you cannot be honest with others, you may start to feel isolated and disconnected from others. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and a lack of support.
Difficulty forming close relationships: Keeping important truths inside can make it difficult to form close, honest relationships with others. This can lead to a lack of intimacy and connection in your relationships.
It can be challenging to share your story if you have been suppressed or gaslit, as these experiences can leave you feeling invalidated and unsure of yourself. However, it is often essential to tell your story and share your truth in order to heal and move forward. Here are some tips for telling your story if you have been suppressed or gaslit:
Find a safe and supportive environment: It's important to have someone who will listen to you without judgment and offer you the support you need. This could be a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or support group.
Take your time: It's okay to take your time and process your experiences at your own pace. You don't have to rush to share your story if you're not ready.
Practice self-care: Telling your story can be emotionally taxing, so make sure to take care of yourself both before and after sharing your story. This could include things like getting enough rest, eating well, and engaging in activities that help you relax and destress.
Seek validation: It's normal to want validation for your experiences, and it can be helpful to seek out others who have had similar experiences and can offer you validation and understanding.
Remember that your story is your own: It's important to remember that your story is your own, and you have the right to tell it in your own way and on your own terms. Don't let anyone else dictate how you should tell your story.
Telling your story can be a powerful and transformative experience, and it's important to remember that you are not alone and that you have the right to share your truth.
There are many mental and emotional benefits to sharing your story. Some of these benefits include:
Healing: Sharing your story can be a cathartic experience that allows you to process and make sense of difficult experiences. It can also help you to come to terms with the past and move forward in a more positive direction.
Emotional release: Telling your story can help you to release strong emotions that may have been bottled up inside. This can provide a sense of relief and help you to feel more balanced and centered.
Increased self-awareness: Sharing your story can help you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your experiences, which can lead to increased self-awareness and personal growth.
Improved relationships: Sharing your story can help you to build deeper, more meaningful connections with others. It can also help to reduce feelings of isolation and increase feelings of support and belonging.
Personal empowerment: Telling your story can give you a sense of personal empowerment and control over your experiences. It can also help you to feel more confident and self-assured.
Empowering oneself after being emotionally abused can be a difficult and challenging process. However, it is an important step in healing and moving forward. Here are some steps you can take to empower yourself after being emotionally abused:
Seek support: It is important to have a support network of trusted friends and family members who can offer you emotional support and guidance. You may also benefit from seeking the help of a mental health professional.
Set boundaries: It is important to establish and maintain healthy boundaries to protect yourself from further emotional abuse. This may involve setting limits on what you are willing to tolerate from the person who has abused you and seeking support in enforcing these boundaries.
Practice self-care: Take care of your physical and emotional well-being by engaging in activities that nourish and support you. This could include things like exercise, hobbies, and activities that bring you joy.
Seek validation: It can be helpful to seek validation and understanding from others who have experienced similar situations. This can help you to feel less alone and give you the strength and support you need to move forward.
Learn to advocate for yourself: Empowerment involves learning to assert your needs and rights and speaking up for yourself. This can be difficult after experiencing emotional abuse, but it is an important step in taking control of your life and building self-confidence.
Remember that healing and empowerment are ongoing processes and it is okay to take your time. Seek support and be patient with yourself as you work towards building a stronger, healthier, and more empowered version of yourself. There are many external therapies, forms of knowledge (gnosis), and outer activities to help us become strong and sovereign, But also investigating the tools of self healing and inner work have proven to be exceptionally beneficial as well. (See the works of Carl Jung and Jungian principles to begin to experiment with inner work). "Good" people can sometimes be taken advantage of if they allow it, as they may be more trusting or forgiving than others. To be honest, they also may be needing to become more honestly self aware. This unawareness and nice-ness can leave them vulnerable to manipulation or exploitation by others. Within that process of developing self-awareness they also must set boundaries in order to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. Self-awareness involves having a clear understanding of your own thoughts, feelings, values, and motivations. It also involves being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and knowing how to advocate for yourself. By becoming self-aware, you can better understand your own needs and boundaries and be better equipped to set and enforce them. Setting boundaries involves establishing limits on what you are willing to tolerate from others and communicating these limits clearly and assertively. Boundaries can help to protect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being and prevent you from being taken advantage of. It is important to remember that setting boundaries is a process and it may take time to establish and maintain them. It is also important to be flexible and open to negotiation, as boundaries can change over time. However, setting and enforcing healthy boundaries is an important step in taking control of your own life and protecting yourself from being taken advantage of.
Emotional healing is a process. It will take time. And leaning into the process with forgiveness and grace, love, and compassion is primary. Often we find that as we dive deeper, there has been child hood trauma that has contributed to certain patterns and behaviors. Often these survival mechanisms can stay dormant in our subconscious. Carl Jung famously stated; Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate."
Take your time but don't avoid what is arising and the truths you need to investigate to heal. Healing is possible. We all can benefit from looking within and making space for healthy personal and other relationship dynamics.
These great underpinnings of unhealed abuse contributes to our ecology, amongst all facets of our environments. From our partnerships to complex institutional systems they all are rooted in our personal inner coherence and the willingness to tell the truth and take steps to heal and evolve.