Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that is often used in toxic parenting. It is a manipulative strategy used by one person to gain power over another by making them doubt their own perception and reality. This can include making accusations of lying, withholding information, changing a conversation’s topic when the parent does not like it, telling the child different versions of events, or otherwise skewing the truth to make it easier for the parent. The goal of gaslighting techniques is to establish control and manipulate the child into compliance with the parent’s will.
Recognize & Don’t Internalize
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which someone causes you to doubt your own memory or beliefs. This can lead to feelings of confusion, insecurity, and self-doubt. It’s important to recognize when your parents are gaslighting you so that you can better protect yourself from the damaging effects of their behavior. Try not to internalize what they tell you. Instead, focus on establishing boundaries and making sure that your opinions and feelings are being respected.
Acknowledge your feelings, even if they don’t seem valid to your parent, means recognizing and accepting the emotions you are experiencing in relation to a situation. This means allowing the emotion to be there without judging it as good or bad. It is important to acknowledge your feelings because it helps build self-awareness and encourages oneself to work through their emotions so that better choices can be made in response.
Having worth and value independent of your parent’s opinion means knowing that your life decisions, feelings, and goals are their own work and have their own meaning. It means understanding and believing in yourself, even if others don’t. It does not mean ignoring or disregarding the opinions of those who care about you but instead recognizing that no external judgment defines all of who you are. It is about being able to trust your own instincts, having confidence in yourself, and respecting yourself as a unique individual.
Disengage & Focus
Disengaging from a narcissistic parent means taking care of yourself and focusing on activities, relationships, and pursuits that make you feel good. This separation is necessary to reduce stress and reclaim your sense of self. Doing things that make you happy and healthy are a great way to focus on your own well-being as it helps to build positive emotions, increases connection with yourself and others around you, supports relaxation, and can improve overall mental health. Additionally, making time for yourself can help foster resilience so that if the relationship with the narcissistic parent shows signs of improvement or remains challenging in its current state, you have access to the resources needed to cope.
Creating boundaries with a toxic parent involves speaking up and clearly expressing what type of behavior is acceptable. This could involve setting limits, such as letting your parent know that you will not accept insults, criticism, or any other type of emotional abuse. It is important to be firm and assertive when communicating these boundaries with your toxic parent so that they understand that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.
In conclusion, gaslighting from a toxic parent can be incredibly difficult to cope with. It can take a long time to realize that you’ve been manipulated and invalidated by someone who is supposed to love and care for you. That being said, it is possible to move on from this type of situation and reclaim your sense of self-worth. This can be done through techniques such as boundary setting, assertiveness training, validating yourself, avoiding triggers, and reaching out for outside support when needed. With the right resources and guidance, victims of gaslighting by a toxic parent have the potential to heal from the traumatic experience and begin living life in a healthier way.
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