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.


k. tap


last night’s post was all about filling your cup. while we all might have our own approaches to doing so, one of the most significant pieces in my own journey has been being sure i am surrounding myself with the right people.

road tripping to las vegas with this beauty a couple of weeks ago was everything i needed and then some. and while i loved the poolside passion fruit margaritas, dance parties in our suite, 4am deliveries from room service and bubble baths in the sunken tub, the most meaningful part of the trip was the drive home.

psychology today published an article some years back with 36 questions to bring you closer together. this could be done with a friend, family member or partner. some of my favorites were:

1. what would constitute a perfect day for you?

2. if you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

3. what do you value most in a friendship?

4. when did you last cry in front of another person? by yourself?

5. if you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? why haven’t you told them yet?

for the full list, look no further…

here they are, in order:

1. given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?

2. would you like to be famous? in what way?

3. before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? why?

4. what would constitute a perfect day for you?

5. when did you last sing to yourself? to someone else?

6. if you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?

7. do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. for what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. if you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. if you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. if a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? why haven’t you done it?

15. what is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. what do you value most in a friendship?

17. what is your most treasured memory?

18. what is your most terrible memory?

19. if you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? why?

20. what does friendship mean to you?

21. what roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. share a total of five items.

23. how close and warm is your family? do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. how do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. make three true “we” statements each. for instance, “we are both in this room feeling…”

26. complete this sentence “i wish i had someone with whom i could share…”

27. if you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. tell your partner what you like about them. Be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. when did you last cry in front of another person? by yourself?

31. tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. what, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. if you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? why haven’t you told them yet?

34. your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. after saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. what would it be? why?

35. of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? why?

36. share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

if you try these with a loved one, let me know how it goes. i am curious to know what your favorites are.

and to britt, even after all of these years of learning and growing, it was truly a pleasure getting to know you even better. cheers to 13 years of friendship, vulnerability and being unapologetically us. i love you.


k. tap