Gaslighting in Adult Relationships

Gaslighting is basically crazy making. It typically happens in abusive relationships, relationships where one (or both) partner has an addiction, or if one partner has narcissistic tendencies. It can be a defense strategy (he says "I wasn’t drunk", when he obviously was), a form of manipulation ("I'm worried about you. I hope you haven't told anyone, they'll think you're crazy"), or a result of limited attunement or empathy ("you're just being sensitive"). Sometimes it's blatant. Sometimes it's more tricky to spot. Either way, it has an impact on your health and vitality and is a pattern that needs attention and effort to change.

Because one effect is lack of trust in your perceptions, if you’re being gaslighted, you may be second guess if you’re actually being gaslighted. Here’s a list by Robin Stern, PhD to help.

Signs you may be being gaslighted:                        

  • You are constantly second-guessing yourself.
  • You start to question if you are too sensitive.
  • You often feel confused and have a hard time making simple decisions.
  • You find yourself constantly apologizing.
  • You can’t understand why you’re so unhappy.
  • You often make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
  • You feel like you can’t do anything right.
  • You often feel like you aren’t good enough for others.
  • You have the sense that you used to be a more confident, relaxed and happy person. You withhold information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain things                               

We are here to help. Get in touch and start getting help today. 

....You Might Be Codependent

In couples therapy, I often encounter codependent relationship dynamics. A person may arrive at codependency for a variety of reasons and from a variety of circumstances, but here's a list to help reader's awareness and curiosity. Being a goofy comedy nerd, I wrote it in the style of Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck" bit.

If you grew up in a house that was chaotic (addiction, abuse, contentious divorce, trauma) might be codependent.

If you grew up with at least one family member who demanded a lot of attention (either narcissism, special needs, highly emotional) might be codependent.

If you were parentified as a child (caretaker or given too much developmentally inappropriate information) might be codependent.               

If your reality either wasn't talked about or was invalidated (ie. There was addiction that wasn't discussed. You were told that you were too sensitive when you expressed emotion, you were straight up told not to feel something) might be codependent.   

If you relate to any of these, we are here to help. Call or email today.

What is Codependency?

February is codependency month. But what is Codependency? 

Codependency is term that is thrown around a lot. It is defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, often a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” But it doesn’t require an illness or addiction. Sometimes both partners are very high functioning, both may even be over functioning in the case of relationships where one partner is fairly controlling, type-a, narcissistic or a workaholic. So how does it show up? How can you know if you engage in co dependent relationship patterns? Here's a (non-exhaustive, but decent) list of symptoms:

  • You have been called controlling or nagging
  • You help without having been asked        
  • You have a hard time setting boundaries, saying no, expressing (or sometimes even just knowing) your needs and emotions                
  • You feel resentment and loss of joy                    
  • You feel compelled to put others needs before your own                        
  • You struggle with accepting help or compliments                        
  • You feel like your worth or emotions are dependant on the state of your relationships
  • You tend to be in relationships that put you in role of fixer, helper, junior therapist, caretaker, parent

If you relate to any of these, were here to help. Call or email today!