thought of the week: what is gaslighting?

this blog post is long overdue. on my instagram live in december, there was a question about gaslighting and many of you messaged me about doing a full length post on it. between the end of the year not wrapping up as i anticipated + the start of the new year being brutal both at work and in the world, i didn’t have the energy to tackle this topic. it’s an important one that deserves my full attention.

first things first – what is gaslighting? gaslighting is a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get a person(s) to question their own reality, memory or perception.

during grad school, i found myself frequenting the psychology today website. during my final year in my mft program, there was this great article on 11 warning signs of gaslighting. it is a quick and easy way to analyze whether or not the relationships you are in are truly healthy. let’s get to these 11 warning signs:

1. they tell blatant lies

2. they deny they ever said something, even though you have proof

3. they use what is near and dear to you as ammunition

4. they wear you down over time

5. their actions do not match their words

6. they throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you

7. they know confusion weakens people

8. they project

9. they try and align people against you

10. they tell you or others that you are crazy

11. they tell you everyone else is a liar

any of these individually are less than ideal but it would make more sense that a person could miss that this was happening in the first place if they appeared as isolated events. it would also make sense for a person who grew up being gaslit by their family may not recognize how controlling and manipulative said behavior is when building relationships with friends and partners as an adult.

as we kick off a new year, i encourage you to take a step back and look closely at the most significant relationships in your life. are each of them free of this kind of behavior? if not, why is this behavior being tolerated by you?

if struggling to end a relationship where you are being gaslit, just remember to treat/talk to yourself like someone you love.

xoxo,

k. tap

world mental health day

what are you doing to be sure you are taken care of? in honor of world mental health day, i wanted to share things i am making a conscious effort to do more of:

1. listening to my body – if i am not feeling well, i don’t simply try to power through; rest is necessary

2. scheduling time with loved ones so i have people/interactions to look forward to whether it be a facetime or a road trip

3. asking for help when needed whether it be from my inner circle or one of the therapists i’ve seen over the years

4. setting boundaries that feel good for me

5. reframing vulnerability as a strength

6. being kind to myself

7. long, candlelit baths

8. baking lemon bars (makes me feel close to grammy)

9. buying beautiful bouquets for my home

10. weekly dinners with pooh bear

11. journaling (i have one for calm, one for gratitude and one for happiness)

12. using “no.” as a full sentence

13. advocating for myself and others

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: talk to yourself

as someone that lives alone (and has for quite some time), i find myself thinking out loud quite often. i have noticed myself doing this at a higher frequency while quarantined, likely because i can’t do it over a bottle of wine with a friend on my couch.

whether you talk to yourself out loud the way that i do, jot down your thoughts and feelings, or simply store them all in your head, have you ever paid close attention to how you talk to yourself? what does your tone sound like? what does your body language look like? are you tough? are you kind? are you compassionate? are you mean? are you forgiving?

we’ve heard time and time again that we are our own toughest critics. that being said, i have caught myself talking to myself in a way that could be considered harsh or unforgiving. this quote by brene brown stood out to me and is often something i tell myself and my clients:

“talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” -brene brown

when i think of how i treat my inner circle, i meet each of them with love first, no matter the circumstance. i am just reminding myself to channel that same love and energy inward. i deserve it. so do you.

xoxo,

k. tap