Abnormal Psychology

Recovering From Gaslighting

Howdy y’all!

I am concerned that my article on Trump gaslighting America through his campaign may have not been “good” for some of my readers. It may have activated some previous trauma, or they may have recognized their situation. At the end of the article, I supply some hotline numbers for someone so affected. Seriously, the more I read about this shit, the more I think my family gaslighted me growing up. Sorry, mom, but true truth is true and I’ve outed you! Gah! I’ve lost my only reader! In between, I want to discuss gaslighting as abuse and general information about recovery.

Recognizing Gaslighting

There are numerous websites that address gaslighting. One that I found has information that seems to be repeated on several others. I’ll summarize some of it here; otherwise, you can follow the link at the right.

  • Memory blackouts are a symptom of being gaslighted. When trauma, abuse, stress, fear get to be too much, we protect our future selves by blocking out the memory. It may or may not be retrievable — remember the recovered memory fiasco? So, if you’re experiencing holes in your memory, especially if your last memory is of being with the gaslighting SOB, then you is probably being gaslighted.
  • Just because the mo’fo’ gaslighter don’t know he is gaslighting yo’ ass, don’t mean he ain’t gaslighting you! Most narcissists and psychopaths are excellent manipulators and even if they don’t consciously manipulate you (A psychopath generally will know that’s what they’re doing; narcissists are often too deluded to realize.) to be a confused self-doubting wreak, they still can. So, don’t let that mo’fo’ off the hook!
  • Gaslighting doesn’t necessarily involve violence, anger, or intimidation. Those can be tools of a gaslighter or like a side show they like to indulge in. Don’t dismiss the crazy-making behavior cuz the asshole has never hit your or screamed in your face. If you’re feeling crazy, it ain’t probably because you are, it is probably because of someone in your life.
  • Given family and group dynamics, it is possible for a family or group to unconsciously collude to gaslight a member! Thanks, mom! It’s fun for the whole family, except for the one being gaslighted, but it is just like the spoil sport, ain’t it? (That was a joke, y’all. Okay maybe not the most appropriate joke, but a joke nonetheless. Sorry. Maybe see the numbers listed below?)

Recovering from Gaslighting

Unfortunately, our instinct to confront the gaslighter is probably wrong. The only thing you really can do is untangle yourself from the abuser. Untangling can be difficult because they are usually close relationships, and the gradual onset of gaslighting means that you’re in pretty deep before you realize you should be getting the flock out!


Reinforce your version of reality. As Samuel Johnson famously said, I refute it, thus, and kicking a large rock as hard as he could, causing him to hop around on one foot cursing his stupidity. He was trying to do, though, was refute Bishop Berkeley’s contention that reality isn’t real way back in the late 18th century. They weren’t no smarter then than we are now. We just have more stuff. Luckily, you don’t need to break a foot or toe on a rock, you jus’ need to focus on what you know to be real no matter the claims made at you.

Reconnect with people you’ve lost contact with because of the abuse. That’s one of any abuser’s favorite tricks is to isolate you. Often the victim colludes because they tire of defending the abuser from their friends or family or are embarrassed by what is going on. I had to isolate myself from my family for over ten years. Now, I don’t take any guff. I don’t like it, I walk. Fuck that. My mom knows it — I know you do — so she doesn’t put as much into it. Now, she just takes it all out on her husband, the poor sap, but…

Get into therapy. Having a neutral understanding person to talk to on a regular basis can really really help. It helped me. Joining a support group can really help, too. Externalizing your thoughts and emotions either through talking to a support group or writing or art helps. When it is all held inside, it seems much worse than it actually is.

Getting help

Every community in the Western world and many in the non-Western world have resources available to you. I cannot create an exhaustive list. Please avail yourself of those resources if you need them. Help is out there. If all else fails, you may contact me.




18 replies »

  1. Someone wrote that trump cldnt be gaslighting as gaslighting is not done as openly as he does it. I agree but my question is “do we who have gone through the experience of gaslighting can recognise gaslighting even if it is actually not done openly?” It may be that our eyes are now SO OPEN that we can read between the lines simply because narcissists as we know are unimaginative and so terribly f…g predictable & they never ever ever change. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Louise!

      Great observations and questions. I think the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is gaslighting his supporters, but that there are those of us who recognize the techniques who are not fooled. I don’t think he is gaslighting the Repubes in Congress, for example. I think they know full well what is going on and have made their deal with the devil.

      That said, even if you know that someone is gaslighting you, and even if you can identify the technique, it still wears upon your soul. It still has an effect as you work your way through the “Hey, wait a minute! That can’t be right” phase.

      Anyone who is waiting for or expecting a pivot out of the the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is going to be waiting a long time. He cannot and will not change. That you are right about.



  2. I just found this site after Google-ing “re-traumatized by election of narcissistic president” . I think you’re dead on about gas-lighting & Trump.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees this. Trump unfortunately reminds me of my father, as if he’s succeded in foiling death to come back & torment more people, ack!
    I’ve grown so much that I know not to buy into fears. Yet this morning wanting verify my own reality & this blog is helping, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Chezzy!

      Wouldn’t that be the worst gaslighting trick in the book — coming back from death and continuing to torment others! Trump should come with a trigger warning.

      I’m so glad you’ve recovered from your abuse that you know how to take care of yourself. It is a huge honor and very gratifying to be able to support that in even a small way.

      We’ll make through this together. God help us!



  3. Aww Jack! this is great! more of this type of info needs to be given out.
    I was lucky,,, I was apparently born with a good ” bullshit detector” that has stood me in good stead all these years. I have dealt with my own child that had the misfortune to marry
    a classic gaslighter, It took a while for her to break away and seek help and get on the road to healing…. but it has worked. and another interesting thing ,,,, the perpetrator ( who also turned out to be a pedophile) is in jail. That alone has helped her regain her equilibrium . But it couldn’t have happened with out a few years of therapy.,

    Fran W

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Suze!

      I’m glad people do check that sort of thing. It helps us all to stay on the straight and narrow. Resources both locally and nationally have improved so much since I was an active social worker/therapist twenty odd years ago.


      Liked by 2 people

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