A young woman uses 7 tips to heal from gaslighting she experienced in her relationship.

7 Tips for How to Heal From Gaslighting

Use these tips to empower you on your journey of healing from gaslighting.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing any type of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) for anonymous, confidential help available 24/7.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where the perpetrator seeks to make the victim doubt their perceptions, memories, and sanity. It’s a subtle, insidious form of emotional abuse that can erode self-confidence, making it difficult for the victim to trust their own judgment. Whether experienced in personal relationships, at work, or within the family, gaslighting can leave deep emotional scars.

Healing from gaslighting is crucial for reclaiming your sense of self and regaining control over your life. This blog post aims to guide you through the process of recognizing gaslighting, understanding its impacts, and taking actionable steps toward recovery. By acknowledging your experience, seeking support, and practicing self-care, you can rebuild your self-esteem and foster healthier relationships. Below, we delve into tips for how to heal from gaslighting and offer resources and encouragement to help you regain your confidence and sense of reality. 

7 steps to heal from gaslighting

Healing from gaslighting requires time, patience, and deliberate effort. Here are some key steps to guide you through the process:

1. Acknowledge and validate your experience

The first step in healing from gaslighting is acknowledging that you have been a victim. Recognizing that the manipulation you experienced was not your fault is crucial. This realization helps to shift the blame away from yourself and place it where it belongs – on the gaslighter. Understanding that you have been subjected to gaslighting allows you to start seeing the truth of your experiences and begin the process of reclaiming your reality.

2. Seek support

Reaching out to trusted friends and family members is vital for emotional support and gaining a different perspective on your experiences. Sharing your story with people who care about you can help reinforce the reality of what you went through. A supportive network can offer comfort, validation, and practical advice, making you feel less isolated and more empowered to take the next steps in your healing journey.

Professional help, such as therapy or counseling, is crucial in recovering from gaslighting. Mental health professionals can provide you with strategies to cope with the trauma and rebuild your self-esteem. They can help you understand the dynamics of gaslighting, process your emotions, and develop healthier relationships in the future. A therapist can also offer a safe space to explore your feelings and guide you through the healing process with expertise and empathy.

3. Establish boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries is essential for protecting yourself from further manipulation. Learning to set and enforce personal boundaries involves recognizing what behaviors are unacceptable and communicating your limits firmly and consistently. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and insist on being treated with respect. Boundaries are a vital part of self-care and personal safety, helping you to maintain your well-being and prevent further abuse.

Examples of healthy boundaries include limiting or cutting off contact with the gaslighter, insisting on respectful communication, and refusing to engage in arguments or manipulative conversations. It also involves taking time for yourself and prioritizing your own needs and well-being. Setting boundaries may initially feel uncomfortable, but it is a necessary step towards regaining control over your life and creating a safe space for yourself.

4. Rebuild self-esteem and trust

Rebuilding self-esteem is a crucial part of healing from gaslighting. Engage in activities that you enjoy and excel at, which can help restore your sense of competence and self-worth. Practice self-compassion and positive self-talk to counteract the negative messages you’ve internalized. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and remind yourself of your strengths and capabilities. These practices can help rebuild your confidence and sense of identity.

Rebuilding trust in yourself and others is a gradual process. Start by trusting your own perceptions and decisions. Take small steps, and as you see positive results, your confidence will grow. It is also important to foster relationships with people who respect your boundaries and validate your feelings. Trusting others again can be challenging, but surrounding yourself with supportive and understanding individuals can help restore your faith in relationships.

5. Learning about gaslighting and psychological abuse

Educating yourself about gaslighting and psychological abuse can empower you with knowledge. Read books, articles, and online resources to understand the tactics used in gaslighting and their effects. This knowledge can help you recognize and avoid such manipulation in the future. Understanding the mechanisms of gaslighting can also provide a sense of validation and clarity about your experiences.

Knowing that you are not alone in your experience can be incredibly validating and empowering. Join support groups or online forums where you can share your experiences and learn from others who have gone through similar situations. Hearing others’ stories and insights can provide comfort and solidarity, making you feel part of a community of survivors. Learning from others’ experiences can offer practical advice and emotional support, helping you feel less isolated and more hopeful about your recovery.

6. Develop healthy relationships

One of the most crucial aspects of long-term recovery is surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people. These individuals can provide the emotional support, encouragement, and validation that are essential for healing. Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, trust, and understanding, and being around people who genuinely care about your well-being can significantly enhance your recovery journey.

To foster healthy relationships, prioritize open and honest communication. Make sure to express your needs and boundaries clearly and listen to others with empathy and respect. Invest time in building connections with individuals who share your values and interests. Engage in activities together that strengthen your bond and provide mutual support. It’s also important to recognize and distance yourself from toxic or manipulative individuals to protect your emotional health.

7. Practice self-care

Self-care is a fundamental component of long-term recovery. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health helps you build resilience and maintain balance in your life. Consistent self-care practices can prevent burnout, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. By prioritizing self-care, you affirm your worth and commit to nurturing yourself, which is essential for sustained healing and growth.

Incorporate a variety of self-care activities into your daily routine to address different aspects of your well-being. Physical self-care might include regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. Emotional self-care can involve activities like journaling, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. Mental self-care might include engaging in hobbies, reading, or learning new skills. Create a self-care routine that suits your lifestyle and consistently prioritize these activities.

Examples of gaslighting

Gaslighting behaviors can be subtle and insidious, making it difficult to recognize, especially when it’s happening over an extended period. Understanding the common signs and tactics can help you identify whether you are being gaslighted — whether in a romantic relationship or from a family member. Here are some examples of gaslighting:

  • A romantic partner insists you’re imagining things when you notice signs of infidelity.
  • A colleague denies ever receiving an email or instruction from you, making you question your professionalism.
  • A parent continuously tells a child they are too sensitive or remembering events incorrectly, undermining the child’s perception of reality.

How Charlie Health can help

If you or a loved one are experiencing gaslighting, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides mental health treatment for dealing with serious mental health conditions, including healing from gaslighting. Our expert clinicians incorporate evidence-based therapies into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today. 

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