When you imagine interpersonal abuse and what it looks like, you’re likely picturing physical altercations and hands-on abuse tactics. While these forms of abuse are common and extremely harmful, they are not the only ways someone can abuse another person. Emotional abuse is just as prevalent and can be just as destructive as physical forms of abuse. When someone is subject to long-term emotional abuse such as gaslighting or other verbal abuse, they may develop coping mechanisms that are just as harmful. If you’re concerned about gaslighting occurring in one of your relationships, you should seek a reputable family therapy program.
Oceanfront Recovery in Laguna Beach is dedicated to helping our clients become the best versions of themselves that they can be. When we address mental health issues that may be impacting a substance abuse pattern, we create more likelihood of a good adjustment and lasting sobriety. This dual diagnosis approach sets us apart, and it’s how we can help you or your loved one on their journey. The effects of gaslighting can be hard on your physical and mental health, but you don’t have to manage that alone. For more information on how we can help, call Oceanfront Recovery at (877) 296-7477 or visit us online to learn more.
The Long-Term Effects of Gaslighting
Gaslighting refers to tactics that someone uses to manipulate another person into feeling like they cannot trust themselves or their thoughts, memories, or senses. The term is taken from a 1940s movie, where a man adjusts the dimness of lights in the home he shares with his wife, then tries to convince her that she’s hallucinating. Behavior like this can make someone doubt their sanity, and the effects of gaslighting can last for a long time. Gaslighting tactics can include:
- Withholding is when an abuser ignores their victims or acts oblivious in the face of confrontation. This tactic can make the victim more dependent on approval or attention from their abuser.
- Countering is when an abuser questions small details and makes them believe they remember events incorrectly. This intense questioning can be very stressful and can remove attention from abuse that may be occurring.
- Forgetting is when an abuser pretends to forget events or even claims they never happened. They may make their victims believe it never happened or question their memory.
- Diverting is when an abuser repeatedly changes the subject when confronted about abuse or other gaslighting tactics. They may also block conversation or claim their victims can’t be trusted.
Consequences of Gaslighting
A victim of gaslighting, particularly if it lasts a long period of time, can begin to question and doubt their credibility. They may believe or believe that they have mental illnesses that aren’t present, and they may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Victims of abuse are more at-risk for substance abuse issues or addiction, and emotional abuse is not an exception. When you’re led to believe that you can’t be trusted or that your truth isn’t accurate, you may feel alone and isolated.
Access Family Therapy with Oceanfront Recovery
The consequences of gaslighting can be so difficult to manage by yourself, but that’s not the only way out. Oceanfront Recovery offers family therapy alongside treatment programs to help our clients get the closure they may need to move forward with recovery. Our dual diagnosis approach is intended to address the entirety of our client’s needs, and your mental health is included in that. A better mental outlook and a healthier mindset will be valuable tools in maintaining sobriety. Call us today at (877) 296-7477 or visit us online to learn more about our individualized treatment.