Are You A Victim of Gaslighting??


Are you confused? In a daze? Constantly second guessing yourself? Questioning your feelings or your perception of reality? Do you feel like you are going crazy? Having trouble grasping on to who you really are? If so, you just may be a victim of gaslighting.


Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It is a sophisticated form of manipulation. It is used to cause doubt in an individual in hopes of making the victim question their perception of reality, their memory and even their sanity. The abuser’s goal is to have their victim second guess their every decision so that the victim is more dependant on the abuser. The more dependant the victim becomes, the harder it will be for the victim to leave. One method an abuser uses is to ignore the victim, then give them attention and ignore them again. Gaslighting often comes after other forms of emotional and physical abuse because the victim is most likely to stay in those situations as well.


Gaslighting comes in stages. Disbelief, protection and depression.  The disbelief comes into play when the signs of gaslighting first happens. You write the signs off as nothing more than weird behavior. Protection or defense comes in when you start defending yourself against the gaslighter and their manipulation. You could even say that the defense comes in when you also defend the gaslighters behavior. You begin making excuses for the things that they say. The stage of depression begins when you notice a lack of joy and you begin to notice that you are not yourself anymore. You feel cut off from family and friends. In fact, you feel like you’re cut off entirely from the world.


Psychoanalyst Robin Stern Ph.D lists the examples below as signs that someone may  be a victim of gaslighting:


  1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself.
  2. You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day.
  3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
  4. You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
  5. You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
  6. You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
  7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.
  8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
  9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
  10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
  11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
  12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
  13. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
  14. You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
  15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.


If you feel or think like any of the above listed examples you are more than likely a victim of gaslighting/emotional abuse.It is a tough pill to swallow when you realize that you are being abused. It is extremely difficult and very emotional to acknowledge that someone you respect love and trust is hurting you. The only way things will change is when you’re ready to face the facts. Again, yes it is hard to admit. We start asking ourselves how we let this happen, how did we allow this person to gain so much control?


It is important for the victim to know that it is not their fault! Emotional and verbal abuse starts off so settle that it is easy to dismiss it. That is how gaslighting works. It eats away at you slowly. Your brain is very fragile. It believes whatever it is told. So if it is told negative things repeatedly, it believes it to be true and vice versa with positive things. That is why it is a good idea to get into the habit of daily motivation. Motivate and empower yourself. It can be something as simple as “I am strong”, “I am confident” or “I am beautiful.” Take the negative things that were told to you and say the opposite.


When you begin doing this in your healing process you will also begin to reclaim your reality and identity. Most importantly, you have to come to the realization that this relationship is unhealthy. No matter what the abuser may say to you to try to get you to stay or come back. Things will not get better and they will not change. In fact, the situation(s) will more than likely get worse. You owe it to yourself to be safe, healthy and happy.

My Walk Through The Fog(Gaslighting)

When you are a victim of gaslighting it feels like you are walking through fog. A never ending, dense fog. Trying to grab a hold on to reality. Asking yourself what reality even really is any more. Even more important, trying to grasp onto your reality. You are faced with trying to identify who you are. What is your purpose. Constantly questioning your insanity. The abuser says things like “You’re crazy” or “What are you talking about? That never happened, you’re making stuff up.”


Looking for somewhere to turn, somewhere to run. How can I get out of this fog. I can’t see in front of me or either side of me. I surely do not want to try and look behind me. Unable to get a sense of direction, I turn to the only person I have for guidance. I have nobody else, they are all gone. The same person I run to for guidance is the same person who has me blindfolded by his lies. My mind is being suffocated by his poisonous tongue.


It’s my fault. I can never do anything right. I’m crazy he says. So he must be right. He’s always right. He knows me better than I know myself. Who am I? My identity seems to have slipped through the cracks of my fingers. Through the cracks of my mind. My identity is not my own. I watch as it slips through the cracks of time.


Walking through the fog, in search of my identity. Searching for a glimpse of who I once was. Searching for hope. Searching for a promise. A promise that time and time again has been broken. Searching for truth. Searching…searching…searching! Each day hoping to find myself. Each day hoping to find clarity. Every time I seem to get a step close to who I am and where I am, he seems to be right there pulling me back even deeper into the dense fog. I want to scream for help.Yet I know no one would hear me. I’m all alone. I’m all alone…


The fog thickens around me. I feel myself weakening the longer that I am here. I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want to give up. Time to throw in the towel. Fighting only wastes more energy. Maybe this is where I am supposed to be. Maybe this is who I really am. Maybe it’s who I’ve always been? Oh my god he has been right this whole time? I don’t know how much longer I can last. How much more can I take? I begin to raise my white flag to surrender.

Just as I was about to give up. Right before I raised the flag, I saw a glimmer of light breaking through the fog. HOPE! Hope has found me! Hope has come to my rescue! The fog starts to dissipate. I begin to feel my strength slowly return to me. I am becoming more alert of my surroundings now. I begin to see the reality for what it really is. I realize that this is not where I am supposed to be. This is not what I deserve. I deserve so much more. I have to get out of here. I have to break free. He is aware of it all. He sees that I am catching on. He again lures me back into the fog. Damn! I can’t believe I am here once again. How does he do it? The process starts over again. Again…and again…and again. In the fog, at the edge of the fog. Back and forth. It’s like a revolving door.


It’s hard to get out. It’s hard to escape. Always questioning yourself, always second guessing your thoughts, your perception, your memories. Then one day you realize you are not the same person who you once were. You are an empty shell. We need to listen to our instincts. We cannot stay in this same place. We have to walk out of this fog and not look back. We have to have hope and know that there are clearer days ahead of us. We can make it out and we will make it out!

Gaslighting- What is it?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!! With that being said, I wanted to start off with bringing awareness to gaslighting. I plan on writing a few blogs on this one topic before starting the next. What is gaslighting? Giving examples of gaslighting. As well as sharing my personal experiences with gaslighting. As always, I invite my readers to comment, share and make suggestions on my blogs. So let us get right into it!


Do you know where the term “gaslighting” comes from? It comes from a 1938 stage play titled  Gas Light, Where the husband tries to drive his wife his wife insane by messing with the lights which in those days were controlled by gas. He would dim the lights and when she would notice it and say something to him he would tell her that the lights didn’t change.


So what is gaslighting exactly? Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, where the victim begins questioning their own sanity. They begin questioning their reality and their emotions. This form of abuse gives the abuse an immense amount of power over their victim. As we know, abuse is all about control and power. Therefore, once the abuser manipulates the victims reality, the victim will be less likely to leave the abuser. Gaslighting is something that tends to happen gradually, it is not something that happens overnight. As time goes on; a victim can become, depressed, anxious, confused and even isolated to the point where they lose sense of what is actually going on. This in turn can lead to the victim relying on the abuser more and more and becoming more dependent on them defining what reality actually is. This creates a difficult and possibly dangerous situation for the victim to escape.


Below are examples of several gaslighting techniques. Is your significant other using any of these?


Withholding: This is when the abuser refuses to listen or acts like they don’t understand. Example: “You’re confusing me!” or “ I do not want to hear this again!”


Countering: The abuser starts to question the victim’s memory or thoughts. Regardless is the victim remembers them accurately. Example: “You never remember things correctly.”


Blocking/Diverting: When the abuser tries to change the subject or questions the victim’s thinking. Example: “Did you get this crazy idea from (persons name) again?”


Trivializing: This is when the abuser makes the victim’s emotions seem unimportant. Example: “You’re too sensitive.”


Forgetting/Denial: The abuser acts as if they have forgotten what has actually happened or denies things like promises they made to the victim. Example: “You’re making stuff up.” or “I don’t know what you are talking about!”




  • Always second guessing yourself.
  • You ask yourself multiple times a day if you are too sensitive.
  • Frequently feel confused or even crazy.
  • Constantly apologizing to your significant other.
  • Lack of understanding that with a lot of good things in your life you still aren’t happy.
  • You often make excuses to your friends and family for your significant other.
  • You withhold information from your friends and family in order to not make excuses for your significant other.
  • You are aware that there is something horribly wrong, but you can’t seem to express it, even to your own self.
  • You start telling lies to avoid put downs.
  • You have difficulty making even the simplest decisions.
  • You sense that at one point you used to be a confident,loving, carefree and more relaxed individual.
  • You feel hopeless.
  • You feel like you can never do anything right.
  • You start to wonder if you’re “good enough” for your significant other.


Gaslighting is a serious form of emotional abuse. It leaves the victim in a “fog-like” state. What was once their reality no longer exists. What was once their identity has been stripped from them. The victim’s reality has literally turned into a horrible nightmare. If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of gaslighting, I urge you to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline which is exactly where I got the above information from.You can chat with one of their advocates online via the above link, or call and speak to an advocate at 1-800-799-7233.


The Phoenix Never Dies

It’s a rough road. For those who are going through or have gone through any form of abuse. The task of surviving day to day. As the one enduring the abuse. The unknown of whether or not we will make it out alive. The unknown if we can ever escape. The unknown of what will happen to us if and when we do escape. What will he or she do if they find out? What will happen to me? For those who have children; it ups the ante 100 folds. Why don’t people leave right away? It’s easier said than done, there are so many factors and reasons. Some may call it excuses, but as a survivor I tell you, it isn’t that we are making up excuses. It is due to the immense amount of fear we have towards this individual.

Then one day. It happens. Literally. Maybe it doesn’t just happen overnight, but because we are so brainwashed and have no self-control we don’t quite recognize it until it is practically boiling over. This fire burns inside of us. An unstoppable strength, After being beat and torn down for so long we don’t quite understand how we got this strength or where it came from. It is as if something inside of you just wakes up all your senses.

For me, it happened after my ex choked me and I passed out. Now, for the critics out there, you must understand that before physical abuse occurs usually mental, verbal and/or emotional abuse have already been set in motion for quite some time. No I didn’t leave after the first time he physically or sexually abused me. Why? Because he had already gained control of my mind. I was a prisoner in my own body. The daily verbal beat downs. Being told that no one loves me, or that I am not pretty enough. Being told that I get what I deserve.. The threats of what he would do if I try to leave, threats he made to me about hurting my family. No one wants me. No one loves me. I am nothing and will be nothing without him. Being reminded of how my biological father abandoned me by saying things like “Your own father doesn’t even want you”. The list goes on and on.

So on this one particular evening, we had not been on speaking terms for a couple days at this point which was pretty much the norm for him. I had the day off so I had spent the day doing laundry, running errands etc. I was sitting on our bed, watching t.v. when he had come home from work and entered the room. I didn’t like when we were not on speaking terms, I knew I had to be the bigger person and start some sort of conversation with him. I simply asked, “How was work baby?” He slams the wardrobe door shut, I look up at him and see his teeth clenched. I knew exactly what was about to happen next so I got up from the bed, thinking I would just walk out the room to avoid any more confrontations. It didn’t work out that way. He grabbed me by my arm and pulled to where I fell on to the bed. Like any other time, he pinned me down and punched the bed on either side of the bed. Like so many times before he said. “If you move and I hit you it’s your fault not mine.”

I thought I had memorized the whole scene. Every move he made I knew by heart. Then the scene changed. He got behind me and put me into a choke hold that I could not get out of. I passed out. For how long? I do not know and will never know. When I came too, I woke up with my head in his lap. You want to know what he was doing? Playing video games. As if nothing had just happened. It was as if I had fallen asleep there. When he had realized that I had woken up he began laughing and petting my head as if I were some sort of lap dog. It was in that moment that I finally realized I had to go. It was in that moment that I had realized that things were never going to change but that they were only going to get a whole lot worse. If I didn’t escape hell that night or the very next day, I would become a statistic. I had to fight and subconsciously I knew that I had to fight for others who were/are in a similar situation.

When it was time for bed, he told me to sleep with my head at the foot of the bed (as if I were the one that did something wrong). My rage boiled over. The phoenix within me was starting to wake up. I looked at him and said “I ain’t your dog, and I will NOT sleep at the foot of your bed, either you can sleep at the foot of the bed or you can sleep out on the couch, but me? I ain’t moving. Good night!” I had found my voice again. He was the one who slept with his head at the foot of the bed.  In something so small and simple as having the good spot in the bed, I felt victorious. My power had returned to me. That there was the first time I realized the strength I had within me. I stayed awake for a while until I knew that he for sure was sleeping.

The next morning I woke up pretty much just as the sun was rising. I had probably slept for only a few hours. I quietly and softly got up out of the bed, grabbed my towel and my cell phone and headed to the bathroom. When I got into the bathroom I looked at myself in the mirror and could still see my ex’s fingerprints on my neck. I ran the bath water and sobbed as I dialed my sisters phone number. It must have been around six o’clock so I knew she would be up. If she wasn’t heading into work, she was at least getting ready. When she answered the phone she had just entered her work place. I told her I needed to talk to her that it was very important and then began to explain what had taken place the previous night. She told me she would be right on her way and to begin packing everything that I possibly could. After we got off the phone I stayed in the bathtub a little longer. I had so many emotions raging through me. I was scared. I was hurt. I was nervous. I was angry.  I began crying again. I was doing my best to not cry loud enough that someone in the house would here me and come to the door.

I got out the bath, got dressed and walked back towards the bedroom. While walking down the hallway I was praying that he was still sleeping. While opening the door to the bedroom I literally held my breath. As I entered U looked over to find him still asleep. Thank God! I went to the kitchen for some trash bags and began emptying out the closet, stuffing my clothes in the bag. When one bag was full, I tied it and put it in front of the apartment door.

My sister kept me up-to-date with her location. I think that was her way of making sure I wasn’t in any type of danger. Whenever I heard him move or breathe different I would freeze. All I could think was what will he do if he wakes up?

I had almost finished getting all of my things when he woke up. I must’ve looked like a deer in headlights. He turned his head and looked at me saying “Shauna, are you leaving me?” It felt like my throat was closing up. I mustered up the courage to tell him yes. I told him my sister was already on her way and should be here any minute. He got up, and I prepared myself for what I thought would happen. I was expecting him to either hit me, punch me or even drag me around the room. I was expecting him to do all the things he had threatened to do to me. All the times he said I wouldn’t make it out the front door unless my legs were broken. Telling me I was lucky if that was all that happened to me. Every time I would look at him, I would have flashbacks from the night before. Flashbacks of when he clenched his teeth together and then lunged at me. Flashbacks of him putting me into a choke hold and then of myself waking up with my head in his lap. He had grabbed his towel and gone to the bathroom. While he was in there I started grabbing everything of mine that I could and continued placing the bags by the front door. I called my sister to see how far away she was and told her that he is awake and in the shower. She said she was just a few minutes away.

When he came back to the room he finished getting dressed, grabbed his keys and with his back turned towards me he said “Goodbye Shauna”,  and walked out of the apartment. I stood there for a minute kind of dumbfounded. Maybe even in a bit of shock, I didn’t expect it to happen that way. I didn’t expect him to react in that way. All the thoughts I had of how everything might play out when this day comes, all the fears of this day that kept me from leaving sooner. It crazy to me. In the back of my mind I still wondered what he may really be up to. Would he be outside the door waiting for me to leave? Would he be sitting in his car to follow us and see where I was going to be staying?

My sister called me to tell me that she was outside of the apartment building. I let her into the building so we could grab everything in as little trips as necessary. We gathered all my belongings, put them in the back of her truck and we were gone. My sister called my mother to tell her that I am safe and with her and even told my mother how I had marks on my neck still. I looked out the window as we drove off. I was free I thought to myself. Little did I know that the real battles were just around the corner.

Physically I was free. Mentally and emotionally I was still a prisoner. It has taken me years just to be able to talk about this, let alone start to heal from it. It is a long road. It isn’t a lonely road because I have learned from first starting my blog page that I am not alone and that there are many people who are there for me when I need them. I do not have to feel ashamed when I experience something for the first time. I know there is someone who has experienced it or something similar to it and they will help me thru it.

When I feel weak, when I feel defeated. Those are the times that the phoenix inside me burns brightest. The Phoenix never dies. It is apart of us, it is one with us. The phoenix is our inner most deepest strength and courage. It may seem like it escapes us but it never leaves us. It waits for its moment to shine in our lives. It waits to be called upon in our most desperate of times.

Like a Phoenix, she will rise from the ashes of despair and soar.”



My Broken Pieces


When your biological father doesn’t love you, it cuts you deep.

It leaves you vulnerable and weak.

Leaving you open to predators

Who seek to do nothing but devour you.

When your father doesn’t love you

It leaves you searching for it in the wrong places.

It leaves you craving it.

No matter how it is that you taste it.

Love is all that you want.

Love is all that you long for.

To be loved.

It is all you dream about.

You fall for all the lies.

No matter how big or small.

You will go through it all.

You stick with the bad and go through hell.

You let him continuously keep you under his spell.

Because nothing else matters when you are being given what you so desire.

Whether it is real, or all a fantasy.

It satisfies your craving.

Even if it is only temporarily.


My broken pieces I’m left alone to pick up off the floor.

On my own to make myself whole.

No one but me.

Me. Myself. And I.


When the first man you ever loved.

Shows his true form.

Things you said you would never allow,

Now have taken your freedom.

He uses his tongue to cut you deep.

You lay in the dark afraid to sleep.

He wraps his hands around your neck until you pass out.

He has no fear in killing you, have no doubt.


My broken pieces I’m left alone to pick up off the floor.

On my own to make myself whole.

No one but me.

Me. Myself. And I.





The Lost Wanderer (Part 2)


A few minutes later she was finally gone.

Out of hell she escaped.

Without nothing, not even a scrape.

The butterfly had found an opening in the window.

And started to fly towards a better tomorrow…..

On to brighter days she thought to herself,

Not knowing that there would be new obstacles.

These obstacles would be different though.

The obstacles of the mind.

She wanted all memories erased.

Unfortunately she realized this would not be the case.

It took a long time for her to be able to function properly.

Years of torment, years of abusing herself.

Years of hating herself.

Seeking for love by any means necessary.

The lost wanderer, searching for her place.

Trying to figure out life on her own.

Through trials and tribulations she endured.

She survived.

For so long she hated the word survivor.

It wasn’t until years later she wore it like a badge of honor.

The butterfly now soars sunrise to sunset.

Freely to higher heights.

She found her path and destiny.

Each day comes with its own set of challenges.

Each day she continues to grow and strengthen her wings.

No longer lost, she now wanders with love, hope and courage.

Searching for those who are in the same space she once was.

Searching to empower, searching to encourage and searching to inspire.