Gaslighting is a favorite tactic of people with narcissistic personality disorder. This tactic involves lying, manipulating, and coercing the victim into questioning his or her reality, often driving them mad in the process. If you’ve ever bee gaslighted, you know how this feels. Nothing seems real, not even your own thoughts. Your head soon becomes a prison, and you start to feel stuck with the person who’s gaslighting you. After all, everything is your fault, right? Or so the gaslighter would have you believe.
Moving on after being gaslighted by someone isn’t easy. You’ll need to rebuild your personality from the ground up, and the journey starts with rediscovering your self-worth. We’ll cover some of the most important steps in the process here, so you can pick up the pieces and finally move on. No one deserves to be treated in such a way, and it’s time to leave gaslighting behind once and for all.
Examples of Gaslighting Behavior
Some people aren’t 100% sure whether they’ve been gaslighted or not. After all, the abuser’s prerogative is to make you question your own reality. To help out, here are some gaslighting examples and signs:
- Debating small details
- Lying constantly
- Making you question your own truth or identity
- The argument becomes more intense in the face of hard evidence
- Tearing down your worldview and telling you you’re wrong
- Constant verbal abuse
- Using charm to bring you back into their graces before striking again
- Making everything consistently your fault, even when they’re clearly wrong
- If they can’t have their way, you’re automatically in the wrong
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, then you’ve likely been the victim of a gaslighter. Let’s talk more about how to move on from it now that we’re certain of what it looks like.
Rediscovering Your Identity
The first step in the recovery process is rediscovering your identity. If you’ve been a victim of gaslighting for an extended period of time, you’ll need to patient with yourself. This process can take a long time because unfortunately, it’s much harder to build a person back up than it is to tear them down. Much like a building, a solid foundation can take weeks, months, or even years to build, but only a few seconds of destruction can bring the entire thing tumbling to the ground.
Your gaslighter has managed to steal something incredibly valuable out from under you: your identity. Your thoughts, feelings, and interpretation of the world have all been outlawed by the gaslighter. You’re supposed to think what they think, feel how they feel, and succumb to their whim. But now you’re free, and it’s time to rediscover yourself.
Start with the things you enjoyed before the gaslighter came around. Rediscover your love for the arts, for nature, for music, or for good drinks and company. It’s ok to step back into your hobbies and interests. No one is going to tell you they’re a waste of time anymore. No one will chastise you for not being home to tend to their needs. You are your own person.
Next, you’ll need to solidify your own beliefs and hold true to them. What you believe and how you think matter, and they’re important components of a whole person. You can do this, just take it slow and remember that your gaslighter can’t control you any longer.
Surround Yourself With Good People
Love and support are your best tools for rebuilding your life after gaslighting. The love and support of close family and friends will help you rediscover your value and your personality. They’ll tell you the things they love about you and will be there for you when you inevitably run into obstacles along the way. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, so don’t expect to recover within just a few days or weeks.
The process will take time, and time can make things more painful. You want to be at the end of the road already, recovered and happy and healthy, but you still have so far to go. Don’t be afraid to lean on others or ask for help. It’s going to take a strong network of people to undo the damage that’s been done.
Do NOT Allow The Gaslighter Back In
Gaslighters and narcissists thrive on making victims of other people, which is why it’s so important to block all contact with your abuser once you understand their motives. Gaslighters are often quite charming, and more often than not, people allow them back into their lives. The gaslighter will use every trick in the book to regain your trust, and just when you’re most vulnerable, they’ll exert their influence once more.
Block all contact on social media. Block their phone number. If they have your work extension, change it. You don’t want any contact, accidental or otherwise, while you’re recovering from the damage they’ve caused. They are not your friend.