Skip to main content


Lots of people are legitimately confused right now. We live in a world where the people warning us about "fake news" are the ones fabricating the lies. "Alternative facts" are spun daily to reinforce these lies. And while there are plenty of smart, fair, balanced reporters pointing this out, the narrative has been spun so far out of control that anyone who challenges these lies is made to look like the enemy. The most horrible part about all of it is that a lot of people actually believe this narrative, even when there is zero real evidence to support it. This is gaslighting.

Gaslighting makes people doubt their own perception of what's going on. Masters of gaslighting know just how to take hold of fears and spin them into someone's worst nightmare. Gaslighters manipulate so that victims have to rely on them, and them alone, to get their information. They are always one step ahead, because they know they lied, and they are already twisting information around before anyone else can process it. A gaslighter will blame someone of exactly what he is doing. While that person searches their own conscience and tries to defend themself, a gaslighter will continue to blame and lie until they are an exhausted puddle.

The antidote to gaslighting is to teach people how to spot the lie and how to think for themselves. Not what their pastor thinks, or their spouse, or the talking heads on TV. Taking ownership of one's thoughts is important. Usually, the only way to do that is to get far away from the person who is doing the gaslighting.

In regards to the gaslighting that is taking place in the media, stepping away from extremist news sources and a stepping toward moderate, non-partisan sources is critical. The best critical thinkers are objective readers who cross check their information. is one resource. It's a good place to start, but there are several others. Education and access to a variety of information is an important tool. A community college level class on critical thinking teaches enough skills for most people to recognize fallacies and apply logic to the information they are taking in.

But the underlying problem is this.  Do people really want to think for themselves? It requires effort. It requires a willingness to change. It requires a willingness to challenge old thought patterns and admit when they are wrong. If they think for themselves, there will be a day when they see how they have contributed to the problem. Do they really want to take ownership of that?

It is hard to watch people blindly accept the lies they are fed. Harder still, is to watch them choose to believe it because on some level it's an easier path. People want to believe they are basically good, yet the failure to challenge a lie means they are complicit. For some, it is easier to hide behind the lies of the abuser than it is to stand out in the open.


Popular posts from this blog

No, There Are Not Two Sides

I was in a meeting where a mediator was trying her best to stay impartial to a situation where a large volume of well-documented verbal and emotional abuse had occurred. She was a trained professional, but professionally speaking, she didn't want to be in a position to take sides on the issue. She offered the worn-out platitude, "Well, there are two sides to every story..." I let it slide the first time she said it, but when she said it again, I stopped her.

"Actually, when it comes to abuse, there are not two sides. There is abuse, and there is the recipient of abuse. The recipient of abuse is not at fault for the actions of the abuser."

Her jaw dropped a moment, then she nodded slowly. She knew I was right, and in this moment, a light went on. The situation she was mediating was not about two people having a disagreement. It was about a serial abuser attacking someone else who had done nothing to provoke the attack. She couldn't stay impartial. It was h…

Codependent or Empath?

There are a number of resources and articles for survivors of narcissistic abuse, and taken in all together, are extremely helpful in better understanding the abuser and our own role in the abuse. There is a certain type of person narcissists, psychopaths, and Cluster B abusers tend to seek out. Terms like "codependent" and "empath" are tossed around, sometimes interchangeably, but they are not the same.

A codependent's core issue (like the narcissist) is low self-esteem. They attach themselves to an alpha personality for their identity, and are constantly looking outside of themselves for validation and definition. They are helpers and fixers. Many people in the caring professions, such as teachers and nurses, tend to be codependent. They crave external praise and will go to great lengths to enable others in order to be liked. A codependent's sense of happiness and self-worth can be entirely dependent on the moods, actions, and feelings of the alpha. Code…

Ten Tools for Trauma Survivors

A couple years ago, I hit a serious wall.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but didn't understand why. Sure, I was a mom, wife, graduate student, and ran a business, but this exhaustion went much deeper than my chronic state of busyness and hypervigilance. Sure, I knew I had a rough childhood and had gone no contact with my parents ten years prior. I got on with my life. I made many positive and deliberate changes so I didn't repeat their patterns, but I hadn't fully unpacked just how vast that black hole of childhood trauma was. For me, awakening to the impact of my childhood trauma has happened over many years, with thousands of tiny steps toward recovery. But one day, the truth of it hit me so hard, I had to drop everything to process it. I had no choice because my body and brain simply gave out. I had to grow or succumb. I chose to grow.

I threw myself headlong into the task of really looking at my issues. You could say I was hypervigilant about trauma reco…