* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
TW: Discussion of gaslighting and emotionally abusive relationships.
If you have experienced gaslighting in any kind of relationship, then you know it is an emotionally wounding experience.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. Gaslighters will manipulate you in a way that makes you doubt your own reality and sanity.
They will often use tactics like lying, deflection of their own behavior, denial, and turning others against you.
This will cause a person to feel guilt, confusion, and isolation.
It can sometimes feel like you will not be able to recover from gaslighting.
However, there are several things you can do that will help you with your recovery.
Read on for our tips to help you recover from gaslighting.
How To Recover From Gaslighting?
There is always a way to recover from gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse, to begin feeling like yourself again. Here are our tips to help you recover from gaslighting.
One of the best things you can do to recover from gaslighting is to put a label on it and call it what it is.
You will find it useful to name it because the term will encapsulate the experience that is often difficult to describe.
Don’t forget that gaslighting is effective because the victim is often unaware of what is actually happening since they are often made to doubt their own sanity and reality.
So, saying “this is gaslighting”, or “that is/was gaslighting behavior” is a good way to start recognizing it and recovering from it.
Cut Off All Contact With The Gaslighter
It does not matter who it is, whether it is a current partner, a friend, or a family member, it is important to break off this relationship and remove yourself from a place where they can gaslight and manipulate you.
Once you cut off contact with the gaslighter, it is important not to try and make contact or respond to their attempts to talk to you.
Even if a lot of time has passed, it is safer for you to have them out of your life as much as possible.
Of course, this can be difficult and sometimes dangerous.
So, when minimizing contact with, or totally cutting off, a gaslighter, you should speak to a trusted loved one, and law enforcement, and take precautions to keep yourself safe.
Be Kind To Yourself
When people realize they have been the victim of a gaslighter, they often blame themselves for what happened, for not realizing they were being emotionally abused in the moment, and for not ending the relationship sooner.
It is important to remember that this form of self-criticism is very common amongst those who have been the victims of gaslighting.
So, it is important to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. It is also important to try and stop blaming yourself for what happened.
A good first step in this is to acknowledge that gaslighters are very skilled manipulators, and it is important and valid that you have now recognized this and will learn from it.
Feel Your Feelings
During your recovery process, you may feel many feelings like anger, fear, frustration, and resentment.
It is important to bring those feelings to the surface and acknowledge that they are valid – you are allowed to feel negative emotions about what you have experienced.
Also, by validating your negative feelings, you have a better chance of accepting them and moving forward to recovery.
Surround Yourself With Love
Abusive relationships, no matter who is involved, can make us feel miserable. Loving relationships can help us move forward in our healing.
So, when trying to recover from gaslighting, it is important to surround yourself with love and people who appreciate and uplift you.
It is good to create new, positive memories with these people, but it is also important to talk through the fears and doubts that you experienced throughout your relationship with the gaslighter.
The people who love you will validate your sanity and reality and this will help you to let go of self-blame and self-doubt.
Seek Professional Help
Some therapists specialize in helping emotional abuse victims.
It may be beneficial for you to talk through your experiences with them.
Here, you should find a non-judgemental space where you can speak freely and receive professional advice on recovering from gaslighting.
It can definitely be tempting to try and get revenge on your gaslighter for everything they put you through.
However, this is best avoided because it may put you back in contact with your gaslighter and will give them another opportunity to gaslight you and feel justified in their previous actions. They may use your revenge as another way to “prove” you are “insane” or “crazy”.
Remember Recovery Is Not Linear
It may take a very long time to feel like you have recovered from the experience, and your recovery process will likely not be linear.
So, while you are recovering from gaslighting it is important to be patient with yourself.
It is important to remember while you are trying to recover that you are not what your gaslighter claims.
You are not “crazy”, your feelings, perceptions, and reality are valid and are worthy of love, and you are able to heal.
Recovering from gaslighting will not be easy, and your recovery will not be linear.
However, there are several things you can do to help you take the steps towards recovery from this emotional abuse.
It is important to label the experience for what it is, to minimize or cut off all contact with the gaslighter in a way that ensures you will be safe, and not to try to get revenge on them or let them back into your life.
It is also important to validate any negative emotions you may feel to try and move forward, as well as surrounding yourself with love, being kind to yourself, and seeking professional help to get professional advice in a safe space.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)
988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640.Both services available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org
Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228
Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255
LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)
The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com
The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.
‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
- GoodTherapy.org: http://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: https://aamft.org/Directories/Find_a_Therapist.asp
- Emergency: 911
- Hotline: 1-888-353-2273
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/
UK & Republic of Ireland
- Emergency: 112 or 999
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/