Gaslighting Victims Question Their Sanity

Gaslighting victims question their judgment. They can even come to question their very sanity. Crafty covert-aggressors know how to make you doubt. In your gut you feel they’re trying to play you. But they can have you feeling like you’re a fool for thinking so. They can even have you questioning what’s real and what isn’t. (See also: Manipulation and the Gaslighting Effect.}

Upping the Ante

Skilled manipulators don’t have to set out to make you feel crazy. (Although it’s certainly not beyond them to do so.) Any of their tactics can make you doubt your perceptions. And when they throw a lot of them at you at once, you can doubt even more. Sometimes, they can combine many tactics into one. And when they act with passion and conviction, they can really intimidate. All this increases doubt. But gaslighting victims generally know this after the fact. At the time, however, they simply doubt their judgment. And after doubting deeply and often they can begin to feel pretty crazy.

A Gaslighting Story

(As always, all potentially identifying information has been altered.)

Vera didn’t know what to think. She thought she was well within her rights. After all, it was Jess who betrayed her trust. He’d been “sexting” that other woman for months. And she only found out about it by accident. A message popped up on the the phone he left on the counter. She didn’t even mean to pry. But it really hurt her to learn the truth. His breach of trust hurt the most. How could she ever trust him again? She hoped she’d be able to do so. But a lot depended on Jess. He would need to prove his trustworthiness. Yet somehow, he made her feel the burden was hers.

“What kind of person just can’t let this go?,” Jess would ask with intensity. “It’s been weeks now!,” he would add. ” I told you it will never happen again. What do I have to do? Will I be under a microscope for the rest of my life?” His questions somehow made it seem like he was the victim. That made her feel like the villain. It also made her question the reality of the situation. Was she actually being unreasonable? She didn’t know for sure. She wasn’t even sure who the real victim was anymore.

Some Commentary

Manipulative characters have a way with words. They know how to twist things to serve their agendas. Moreover, when they frame things with apparent righteous indignation, they amplify the gaslighting effect. Jess’s words were meant to intimidate. And they were also meant to instill doubt. More than anything, however, they were meant to exculpate him. Jess rightfully bore the burden to prove his trustworthiness. But he callously shifted that burden. Refusing to accept the essential labors of love that accompany a healthy, intimate relationship is the hallmark of the impaired character. Like many other gaslighting victims, Vera would have to learn this the hard way.

Next week I’ll have another example of gaslighting. And I invite the commentators to share their gaslighting experiences.

Character Matters

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As always, thanks for recommending my books and this blog to others.

104 thoughts on “Gaslighting Victims Question Their Sanity

  1. The concern is a valid one-behavior like this in a narcissist does not change, and she isn’t crazy to feel that way-she has every right.

    When someone such as in my case, convinces you that you’re crazy, shares your business with anyone she cares to, and everyone at that, goes through your personal belongings from when you are a young child, it teaches you no boundaries. They have none to begin with, but asserting yours that this isn’t acceptable, because it violates basic intimate trust, the only thing to do is walk away-run if you need to.

    They are bullies, and what they teach you about is hate and fear. Of yourself, of everyone else.

    The break with reality is not pretty.

    1. Haven’t heard that term before, and it is completely accurate. Anything that is going to further themselves, feed whatever it is they need and want.

  2. What do I have to do? Will I be under a microscope for the rest of my life?”

    Joeys reply” That’s YOUR PROBLEM,So Goodbye.”
    and repeat “that’s YYYYOOOUUURRR Problem.

    1. Joey,

      You sure have a special way of putting things,
      “Thats your Problem, So Goodbye.”
      Perfect response and so Simple.
      Yup, “Your Problem.”
      You gave me a good chuckle!

        1. Joey,

          Indeed – no supply, no sustenance no fuel to fill their abuse tanks. This is what I can see happening right now. They are literally being starved out of existence – and I say good riddance!

        2. I always say “don’t open the door”, once they’re in, hell begins.
          I subtle, yet effective word I’ve used is “So?”, it usually dumbfounds them for a bit.

  3. I never believed the outright lies my husband did when denying certain events. I knew these things had happened and certain things that he said were an attempt to rewrite history. We would just drop the subject as it wouldnt get resolved….many “unsolved mysteries”. I knew very well what had happened…I knew I wasnt “paranoid” or “crazy” but I couldnt understand my husbands motivation. It wasnt until I understood his disorder and the extent of his pathology that it became crystal clear. And although I havent (because of my circumstances) been able to leave him; my burden has lessened as I nor longer feel obligated to make the marriage work. Now I watch his machinations like I am watching a movie on Lifetime.

    1. Patti,

      If your husband is what you say, there may come a time when the pathology become so malignant he will want to destroy you and for your well being may have to or forced to leave in order to save yourself.

      I would prepare now for the possibility of having to leave, by stashing some cash and making copies of all documents you may need. Preparation is important and may be your saving grace if the times comes to leave.

      I wish you the best and always feel welcome to post on the site for validation and advice on how others had to deal with the CD.



      1. BTOV
        Thank you for your prudent advice. I have started to prepare mentally and financially for the inevitable. I am grateful for the guidance from those who are further along in the battle

    2. I get it.

      Allergic to Lifetime now too. Lot of drama, you need drama, read the Old Testament, no narcs there!!!

      1. JC,

        It takes time to get to the place of acceptance and for many it takes a long time. It is different for everyone and you must remember to do it in your own time and own way.

        Yes, the drama is another part of the distorted reality the CD would like us to stay in. One must do a lot of internal work to disconnect from the atmosphere, the distorted reality of where we came from. It may be buried deep inside our consciousness and we must regurgitate out all of the poison. This takes time and hard work.

        I found peace in prayer and I don’t believe I would had made it through life without God. He has been my rock. Be strong in your faith and you will be set free. Yes life is difficult, especially, after we realized we had been living a lie.

        1. I like to have my own inside joke….listening to music while making dinner like Carly Simon “Your so Vain” & John Lennon “Mind Games”. I sing along and it helps me to ‘be mindful’…that I know what is the reality of my life and not the distorted version my husband tries to invoke

    3. Patti,

      Please get your head right around gaslighting and narcisistic supply. You will be glad you did. That knowledge provides us with the tools we need to starve this cancer out of existence. They’ve had a good couple of thousand years to go to work and cause mass destruction. They perfected it to a fine art. They just got trashed by their own arrogance and hubris. The worm has turned. Now the worm is going to literally eat the bulldozers. And I say BRING IT ON!

  4. Life is difficult – especially after we realized we had been living a lie – so true BTOV. I was listening to a counseling program on a Christian station and the women who called in was calling regarding her narcissistic husband. She had just realized that he was. This Christian counselor was someone I really respected, but he counseled her to stay with him and to find a way around it. I know there are degrees, and its hard to say whether they get worse with time, although my inclination would be to say yes unless the narc is committed to change. I am wondering if there are mild types of narcs, because to some degree we are all self focused and selfish. And would he be clinically diagnosed as a narc she did not say. But the counselor saw narcs as very wounded individuals that developed narcissism out of deep psychological wounds. Anyways, she concluded I believe that this was not a person who was capable of reaching outside of himself to love her, and therefore that would be a very lonely marriage. To say nothing of the frustration and wounds she would receive at the narcs hand. Even though I am a Christian as well, I would be very torn to advise this woman to stay with her husband. I don’t see how it could possibly work out. I know when I finally realized I had wasted 14 years with a narc I was pretty devastated and didn’t feel like I could walk and chew gum at the same time. I doubted my ability to be a capable person if I was so taken in by him, not realizing the entire time what I was dealing with. This is how I was thinking and I am still trying to piece myself back together. I am trying to look at the positive side because I did learn a lot from that experience but still wish I had never gone thru it. I couldn’t with a good conscience counsel anyone to stay with a narc though, a true relationship is not possible.

    1. Kat,

      I did just that, I tried to love him even more. I got the opposite results. I know now if I stayed how “I” would take control of him and his actions. However, this would not be true to my nature to always be playing a mind game and also reparenting a damaged adult child. This is what it amounts to. I do realize the defense mechanisms in place the CDN use to compensate for their inner turmoil. It all boils down to acceptance of admitting there is something wrong, they have issues and are willing to take responsibility for themselves. In my dealings with the narcs they are addicted to themselves and until they acknowledge a problem their is nothing you can do except the wakeup call of leaving.

      Many depending on the degree of narcissism can mellow with age but the majority become worse. I wasted years of my life waiting and still morn for what could had been. You are wise in turning the bad experiences into good. I ask God what are you trying to tell me, what can I learn from this?

      For the narcs, yes, they know something is desperately wrong and they will not and refuse to look in the mirror, they prefer to believe a lie and then empty their dirty inner shit onto you.

      This is an example of how the CDN looks at us and feels: I had a grandmother whom I never got to know, I seen her once and she never acknowledged me. I know she is my grandmother but my feelings for her is what I have for a stranger. This is how most of the CDN feel about us. They haven’t an emotional connection, their emotional connection is solely about themselves.

      Can a CDN change, yes, I believe they can. I believe more of them need a type of AA Program. Will they change? I think their love for themselves is so embedded and ingrained in their being they won’t change, the addiction is to strong. The CDN’s Pride holds them back, they lack humility, they need to hit bottom and that bottom is very deep. The lies they believe are so ingrained it like a strain of viruses that mutate continually. Only God can change their hearts and I know of two instances where this has happened.

      A person I know that had their Come to Jesus Moment is a good friend of mine and a gold mine of resource information. My sis is also a reformed narc, she straddles the fence with her Jezebel spirit. In the end, I would not hold my breath hoping and waiting for change. In most cases it won’t happen. I also don’t buy into the garbage of the poor wounded individual theory. We all have brokenness and emotional wounding. The narcs are well aware of the harm they do and don’t care that they hurt others, rather, they enjoy it. Always, remember it is a choice our choice, of what kind of person we want to be.

      1. BTOV
        I agree with you that the narcissism is an addiction. Its a maladaptive coping method that seems to me to be employed especially in times of stress. All I can rely upon is my personal experience with my husband. During our relationship he would cycle…..5yrs of doing ok and then during stressful times he decompensates and employs his destructive coping mechanisms. This addiction or reliance can only be changed by him. I have learnt or in the process of learning to let him go. This is my challenge as I am naturally very conscientious.

      2. I like to explain it to others like this: You could be sitting in a room, and hear rain, thunder, & see what looks like flashes of lightning coming before the thunder. Everyone who walks in and out of the room has on rain coats or they are carrying umbrellas. There are puddles of water on the floor from where people tracked in water.
        But, all the while, the CD/Narcissist will be doing all he can to convince you that it’s sunny outside. You shouldn’t worry about getting wet. When you point out all the obvious signs, he becomes indignant and shames you for your lack of trust. When you try to ask one of the people if it’s raining outside, the CD/Narc is scowling at the person and interjects his thoughts about how outsiders shouldn’t ever interfere with a couple so, the garden variety person takes this into consideration and rather than tell you it’s raining outside, they give you a strange unsettling look and say “I can’t get involved in this” and walk away, averting their eyes. The CD/narc then goes around to all the people in the room telling them to stay out of “his business”. Why he would do that in the first place kinda makes you wonder what he’s trying to hide. But, the obvious signs of guilt seem to be lost on the CD/narc as he continues to argue & do all he can to convince you to trust him only, even above your own 5 senses. When you finally walk outside of course you get drenched. “I thought you said it was sunny!” you scream at him. “The sun IS still shining technically! If the sun died we would all cease to exist! So, I didn’t lie!”
        This is one of those moments where your head would spin all the way around if that were possible. You feel like you’re in a dream. No one else says a word because they don’t want any problem. It’s sickening to me that one person can bully an infinite number of people by just being obnoxious and inflammatory at certain times.
        They know what to say to shut others up. But, they CANNOT edit reality. They think they can, but the truth will show itself in due time. You just have to have your eyes open when it does.

    2. Kat

      You never have a relationship with a narc what we are engaging in is a transaction. We give, they take. The answer is really very simple, stop giving.

  5. I believe only God can change their hearts as well. I used to say my ex just had no bottom to hit. You say it so well – that their lies are ingrained and mutate continually. Its an odd thing to behold. I always thought the ex lied so much he believed his own lies and was in some kind of alternate universe where he lived according to his lies as the only foundation for his conduct. In that kind of world what would be out of bounds? I enjoy the wisdom you share BTOV.

    1. JC, I think too it depends on how much confidence we have to begin with. I did not have much due to childhood upbringing but I was totally unaware of narcissism and narcs and was a perfect victim, yes blamed and punished myself. But I prefer not to think for his benefit, I was just unaware, and in the end he suffered quite a bit physically and was supremely miserable in body and mind. I am using what I learned for good and I am at peace.

      1. I may have gone a little overboard, but well, this is stuff that I can control. Cutting off a narc has everything to do with no more worries.

        1. No more worries?? Not necessarily JC – cutting off the narc is just the beginning. There is residual that follows and follow it will. You have entered into a process and it’s no easy process either. It’s sort of like menopause, you can’t really bypass it or switch it off. Or to put it another way, you don’t stop giving birth because you feel comfortable between contractions so it’s time to jump off the ride. Erm NO -it will end when it ends. And just like a ride, say the Big Dipper, there will always be exponential ups and downs, you can count on it that’s why you are on the ride in the first place. You got off one ride and boarded another.

          No more worries (I assume) start when all the rides end which appears to to be the exit. The problem is it’s not the rides because they are just rides – it’s the particular fun park itself! You’ve gotten in, now the trick is getting out!! If you don’t get out you stay on the rides forever.

          Remember the stuff you think you can control is just a ride too. So is going overboard. Your aim is for the Exit>>>>>>>>>>>>> and not get carried away by the rides :-

          If that makes sense.

          1. It makes plenty of sense.

            Going back to work, changing my number and a new apartment-any mail is returned by the post office. My bank was instructed to send back any money she sends directly to my account. She does live in another state.

            If she shows up, neighbors will call the police (she does have a gun permit).

            I do carry aomething to protect myself (correct answer is, “Three inches, Officer.”

            I am not taking her life insurance–money is how she manipulates).

            What I refuse to do is live in fear.

            Narcissists and bullies in schools teach you everything there is to know about fear and hate.

            Usually of yourself.

            Cut it off brings back reality, the rest you unlearn.

            Anything else, nothing I can do.

            Being in recovery helps, it is a program of rigorous honesty.

            Eight months. Someone asked me if I had a doctor to vouch for me.

            “No need, call the police first. After, if needed, then you call a doctor.”

            Sad, because she will die alone. I cant think of anything worse.

          2. JC one of the rides we are supposed to be on the longest is the healing stage. Getting to our core selves. The core self that was shattered and scattered to the four winds. It is the last ride. If we negotiate that one properly the Exit will be open to us. Otherwise it remains concealed.

            NC is paramount. One of the best parting words to a malignant narcissist should be:

            I don’t know you.
            I don’t recognise you.
            You don’t exist

            Use this opportunity to rescue your core self. Bring your wounded child in from the cold and nurture that being with all your heart.


  6. Kat and JC,

    Kat, thank you for the compliment. I am glad I can help and validate ones experiences.

    Jc, Yes, we do punish ourselves, the reason being we can’t punish the right persons so we take it out on ourselves. This is a deep in-bedded trait that many empaths have. What is important is you realize this and now have the opportunity and power to change this adverse thinking. My motto is: if a person can’t treat one with dignity and respect, I point to the door.

    Think of it this way, you have gone through the worst part of your life and now have the opportunity to make these the best years of your lives. Take the knowledge of what you have learned and share with others who are in the dark and show them the way. Build your spiritual strength and be the best you can be, as Eudox repeatedly states: Know Thyself.

    The most important lesson in all this is forgiveness. Yes, I said forgiveness, forgive the perpetrator, give it over to God or the judge , I guarantee it will set you free. It does not mean you have to have anything to do with them or break NC rules. The forgiveness sets you free to go on with your life, not hanging onto anger and bitterness. You will be blessed, don’t let them steal your joy by staying stuck in anger and resentment, live your life to the fullest. There is a saying ” The best revenge is living well.” I also get out my anger by praying for the CDN’s in my family and it gives me peace.

  7. I have been told when I was rightfully angry and indignant that I was a ‘rage junkie’ and had a serious ‘anger problem.’ This — because I raised my voice. No screaming, throwing things, issuing ultimatums.

    This is the most common form of gaslighting. Ignore boundaries, offend by other means and then reframe the whole thing to make the other person the problem. ‘Crazy’ ‘doesn’t process well’, etc..etc…Any time mental or emotional frailty of another is invoked to deflect blame, there is a form of gaslighting going on.

    Hurts when you are trying your best to be heard.

    1. Not to mention when you have to raise your own voice to be heard over the top of their word salad and assorted other bullshit. They are crazy. Stark raving bonkers mate!

    2. LisaO/Euxodia.

      I had one of those anger problems at one point too-it went pretty much entirely away once I um, severed the source.

      Not a pretty picture when the child is pawned off on doctors, counselors, etc, to be given what little, if any nurturing that they did get. Thankfully, there is the genetics of my father, but also some genuinely good people along the way who took interest and did their best to help me, as opposed to her, to be as close to normal as this can allow someone to be.

      And anger, folks, is also a sign of the grieving process.

  8. Jess invariably is a parasite. Like the majority of CD’s they Lie, Con ,Cheat and Steal their whole lives. They give what they choose and take what they choose. Life and or any relationship, if you can call it that. Will ALWAYS BE ON THEIR TERMS. You give and they take. As can be seen in Dr Simons account. Vera Will always, Always have to give into jess’s parasitic needs. All she is feeding is his overly large EGO.

  9. I had to have surgery a couple years ago. Forty-five minutes, I wasccomimg unhinged, the same night. I hit the call bell and the pain button at the same time. She began screaming about it, doimg it to “get high,” the nurse kicked her out, threatening to call cops.

    This is her baseline.

  10. BTOV

    I have a question I wish to ask.

    I have found my the fathers phone number. I did look for it. Do i phone him a say I am doing find and dandy with out him. Or do I just leave it. I know I should, But the best revenge is living well. Please help. And that goes for any and every one as well.
    I would just love to say. I am doing ok. And I did it WITHOUT YOU BYEEEE

    1. Joey,

      I do have some input on your question. In fact I have had a feeling to do this with someone I know.

      I know very little about your relationship with your father and from what I gather there was little contact over the years…. If I may ask you a few questions.
      What was your relationship like with your father and when you did have contact with your father how did it go? I believe you said your brother went to stay with your father. Over the years have you talked, was he caring, congenial, how did you feel about the contact?
      What kind of person is your father and how does he live his life?
      How long has it been since you had contact?
      I am not asking these questions to pry, but rather to give you a more rounded answer. This is a difficult question as there are many variables to weigh and consider when answering this question.
      I do have considerable thought on this question, that really is a topic all on its own.

      1. Joey,

        Much of who we are comes from our relationship with our parents. In fact the whole construct of the CD we talk about has to do with our relationship in our development and developmental attachment to our an with our parents.

        Most people with issues especially the CD are in denial of this and have deep rooted issues in relationship to their childhood. However, this discussion can be broken down into several different areas, nor withstanding going off into rationalizing the adverse behaviors of the CD and thereby giving them a pass.

        Of relative importance here ,is the fact you have done the work to rise above and find your authentic self through all the trauma and abusive neglect you have lived perpetrated by the individuals who should love you the most. On your journey you have arrived at this juncture, a profound one to say the least.

        This can be a positive or a negative, it can also pull you into the mire or you can rise above it. In asking the above, shows your maturity and how far you have come. What you ultimately decide to do will be up to you. For now, it is important to gather all the input you can and thoughtfully decide what in the end you will do. Ultimately, what is the best solution for Joey, I know what ever happens you, Joey, have the strength of character to handle whatever may transpire.

        In all this, try to step outside of yourself, being the greater you, looking at the young boy, Joey, incorporate his being into you to make a stronger accepting, loving you. You are wise my friend, don’t let bitterness be your guide, let it be the understanding, conscientious, wise loving you who deals with this growth spurt. If you can do this, regardless of the outcome you will be rewarded with growth and esteem. You will grow immensely, becoming the giant you were meant to be.

        Please keep in mind, we may not be your next of kin family, but in kind are your family of Kindred Spirits, we have shared pain and suffering, our deepest fears and regrets, so much we have shared way beyond our natural family. It may sound odd, but the individuals who have been here for a long time, I can picture in my mind how they must look from what they have written. Be well my friend and patient, in the end I am sure you will find the answer you are looking for.

        Words of caution, do not react emotionally, it will pull you down. It is wise to prepare and gain insight and knowledge.


        1. Joey,

          Also how long has it been since you talked or seen your father?
          Do you know his address.
          Also if you feel uncomfortable talking on this forum, we can always talk via email, all you have to do is contact Dr. Simon. I always encourage one to seek closure in anyway possible .

          1. To All especially especially BTOV.

            I have to Ask. I have no family a such The mother/grandmother sore to that.

            My father is a deeply selfish man, BUT he is not and never has been in any way malevolent to me. like the mother/grandmother

            I last sore him in 1992/93. He is a highly skilled engineer on aircraft. I did a diploma back then and as a result i stayed with him in London, That is were my college was also. I had not seen him until I started college priyor to that for 20 yrs or more. So I have seen for about 18 mts in the total of 49yrs I have been on Gods earth.

          2. JB

            Thank You. As I said I have no family. I have no problem in posting or for that matter anyone saying what they think.

        2. Btov

          You sound just like a big Sister to me. Words cannot express just how grateful I am to you.
          I am So glad I asked

          1. Joey,

            I reread our comments to each other regarding your father.
            You asked me for my advise and I feel privileged that you asked me.
            This by no means is an easy task or an easy answer, it requires a lot of inner soul, mind and heart felt thought and preparation. In kind I have been meditating on your question for some time, thank you for your patience.

            I have seen your growth Joey, where you came from and where you have gone to is an amazing transformation and a road map of inspiration for others to realize a dream that they can make it too. You have added wisdom, courage and modeled strength of character and insight in your responses on this blog.

            If I may, in regards to contacting father, ask you, what are you looking for, in your heart of hearts what do you want to hear? Please give this deep thought.

            All children want to know they are wanted, loved, accepted, cherished, feel security and so forth.
            Our true feelings, thoughts, desires are deep in our minds, soul, spirit, heart and especially, deep within our subconscious.
            Then there are fantasy feelings, and desired thoughts, realistic, caring, loving truthful, genuine wants and needs we plague our hearts with, wishing , hoping, praying for something we never had
            but should have had unconditionally in an honest relationship. We have thoughts that continually haunt us and we remissness and contemplate the what ifs over and over in our minds.

            I am asking you this because I have been there. When I hear back from you I have more to add. For now, please contemplate what I have just said. I know its difficult, but brutal honesty will help us grow.

            Yes, I thank you, for in this I will learn and grow too.
            Hugs Kindred Spirit and Blessings.

  11. Joey,

    In contacting your father there are a number of scenarios that could take place. I say this because I have a family member right now I am thinking of contacting and before or if I do it I want to make sure I understand every possible thing that could take place and be prepared to react or not to react.

    Look deep inside and be brutally honest with yourself about what you want and are looking for from your father. It may be best to write it out. Also, one must look at the positives that might occur and then the negative. I believe we have the power to make positive decisions that procure positive reactions.

    Give this a little time, I have a lot more to say about this too, for now, think about what I just said. Something else to do in the meantime is write a letter to your father, say everything you feel, don’t hold back and I mean write everything. Don’t send it though,
    keep it for yourself.

    Also, in your heart of hearts write about forgiveness. Joey, forgiveness sets “US” Free.
    So for now ponder these things. I can’t express how proud I am of you, you have been to hell and back and your doing all the difficult work to be whole. It takes immense strength and character to do this. Also, your courage and strength pours over to me.
    Hugs dear one.

    1. BTOV,

      I’m not sure about forgiveness that is a lot harder to do regarding the toxic CD and their actions which are just downright malicious. They have hearts of murderers.

      When it comes to forgiveness we need to forgive ourselves first and foremost and accept what has been done without guilt and anguish.

      Forgiveness is downright impossible for me re these people. Acceptance allows us to let them go and truly get on with life. Some things can be put right. If one of them were to come to me and demonstrate true contrition I may consider it. But I won’t be holding my breath on that anytime too soon.

      1. Eudox,
        When we think about forgiveness we usually think about redemption for the person asking for it, as a sort of cleansing, a clean slate so that this person can move forward without feeling stuck. But the exact same thing can be said for the one doing the forgiving. Forgiveness is for the forgiver as much as it is for the forgiven.

        Forgiveness is a tremendous gift that can only be given by the person who has been wronged, but in this process the giver also receives. When you forgive you free yourself from those burdensome feelings that impede your happiness and growth in the present just like they impeded your happiness and growth in the past.

        Forgiveness is a letting go, and with this letting go is a decision to move forward with your life instead of staying stuck in the past. There is nothing new for you in the past, just the same old betrayals and resentments. You were violated in some way. The heart of what makes violation so painful is that it makes you feel powerless. Forgiving is the ultimate act of power, and the result is liberation.

        You don’t need to be asked for forgiveness to grant it. You certainly shouldn’t grant it verbally to someone who hasn’t asked for it, but you can still forgive this person in your heart and with this forgiveness set yourself free to live the life you were meant to live, and probably would have been living all along if not for the violation you experienced.

      2. Eudox

        I can understand “acceptance” but have so much trouble with the concept of “forgiveness”.
        I’m working hard on acceptance at this point, and making a little headway. It’s going to take time. To put it another way “acceptance without anger”, that’s where I want to be.

        1. Lucy

          From my own personal experience we can’t force ourselves into acceptance. It comes in it’s natural time and can only come after the anger stage. If you can give yourself full permission to be angry, then be angry and be done with it. I found after I gave myself permission to be angry (and you would not wanted to have been there when I let that out!) but it was the best thing I did. Acceptance soon followed.

          To forgive is totally different for me. To truly forgive someone is to allow them back into our lives and open our hearts to them. This is not possible with CD and it’s something I will not consider. Acceptance is the best I can do and I’m perfectly okay with that.

          Grief is a natural process. That is the process we have all been in. It’s part and parcel of losing something we once held sacred. It’s just that it wasn’t what we thought it was and it could never have been any other way than what it actually was.

          BTOV if you are still morning for what could have been you will be pulling yourself backward. What could have been could never have been it wasn’t in them to start with. This is where I got stuck for a while. We loved a dream, a fantasy an illusion. What they gave to us aside from a great deal of pain was not real – the pain on the other hand was very real. There is nothing to morn here except maybe ghosts of those who never really lived. That perfect soul mate, that perfect partner was just a strawman, what they are is Mr Hyde.

          1. Eudox,

            Yes, at my age I still grieve, I grieve for all the things we did honestly enjoy together and it was alot. I knew once I left, there was no going back, this I knew completely. What is difficult is there were moments I did see the real him and then the veil was pulled to hide the real person. In dealing with my case, there hasn’t been a doctor or any case I have read anywhere that compares to mine. The events that took place were bizarre to say the least. I never went through an angry stage, I just say and knew beforehand the lunacy that transpired. He brought more grief and misery upon himself that I could had ever thought possible.

            It might sound strange but I could predict his behavior before he did it. He only harmed himself. Believe me Eudox I have my eyes open for a good man.

  12. Joey,

    I agree with BTOV regarding writing your father a letter. Put down everything you want to say, how you feel allow it to flow. You may find during the process more and more emotions will surface and that will alert you to what you might be holding onto. Writing is very cathartic it often brings up a lot more than we were initially conscious of.

    Sometimes we hold onto things that are not all that obvious and writing helps dislodge it. You may also find that after you have written it and expressed what you needed to express you may decide you don’t want to see him. On the other hand you may decide it’s now or never. That choice is yours and yours alone.

    Our relationships to others is sacred and nobody has a right to interfere in another’s relationship to whom ever. Your mother/grandmother were masters of that. It is also highly likely your mother/grandmother have instilled a bias toward him in you. You may need to assume everything those two have told you about him are all a lie.

    While I don’t know anything about your father depending on how long they were together would have undoubtedly damaged him also. You can’t be in a relationship with these monsters and walk away unscathed. There is always damage. I’m sure your father has his own personal demons to contend with. The only thing you can hope for is that the truth will be revealed to you. Set your will and intent on that and let the truth reveal itself.

    God bless Joey

  13. There are a quite a few of these people re-surfacing now, not just in my life but in the lives of other friends of mine who have had the misadventure of being involved with them. The litmus test is when are whole and healed we can be around them and know they can’t affect us. I am not recommending hanging out with them!

    I got an email from my former best friend. It was sickly sweet, but flat and emotionless as usual and of course the same manipulative tones – same ole, same ole. In all honesty she is just dead inside – an empty pit. I need to respond to it but I’ve been sitting with it for a few days giving it some consideration. She still owes me a great deal of money and I intend getting back every penny of it.

    My other friends husband who she has been separated from for over 2 years made a reappearance in her life. She was really stressed out about this until he actually got there. She said she deflated each and every one of his strategies effortlessly. She called him on his gaslighting and word salad and made him stay on topic. LOL she said this caused him some serious stress. Good! She realised he has absolutely no power over her anymore, those days are long gone and that’s the point we all have to come to.

    1. Eudoxia,

      Regarding “She still owes me a great deal of money and I intend getting back every penny of it.”
      She may be looking for more loan. Maybe you should be very very direct and start with it. Broach this topic and let her make quick choice: pay up & we talk more, otherwise goodbye & look somewhere else.
      Caution: sometime people return 100, only to borrow 200 after few days. Net effect is 100 more borrowed.

      1. AndyD,

        It won’t be that – she owes me the money she won’t be borrowing any. She has in inheritance coming which is how she can repay me the money. Plus I don’t have money to borrow out anyway it was all tied up in that property.

        What is important now is that she is kept in reality. The amount owing of course will be debated by her, however, I have proof. They are about as honest as a murderer. Plus she does not deal in reality, none of them do. I have a strategy up my sleeve though which will allow the full truth to come out. There is a moment of reckoning coming.

  14. My sister and I spoke last night, and I mentioned that the final tie is severed. That the sense of relief was huge, that there is no further money that is going to change hands, including her life insurance, I have applied to school for naturopathic medicine (only need to take physics), and that if she wants me to have the life insurance, it goes into a tax shelter college savings plan, or she does something else with it, I am not accepting it on the terms she has now-again, puts me into the role of mental incompetent, leaving my 50 year old brother in charge of it, and I don’t think this is appropriate. It is on my terms or it is not at all.

    We both agreed that while the physical violence was there mostly for her and some for me, that the convincing me and others that the CDN had shared my private business with, telling my doctors in NE that I had a thought disorder then stating “I didn’t know1!!” Know how I am aware she knew exactly what she was doing?

    Ha, I am the one who years and years ago, in nursing school, explained to her what that was. Hurtful, and is a sign of betrayal. And the last one. What I did as a result, was never a conscious decision, this is how insidious a CDN is. The good news, is one, now it all is a conscious decision on my part, and second, having set myself free? Doesn’t matter, my life is so much better.

    I do grieve FOR her, for whatever happened in her own home, probably starting before she was born. The dye was cast, no question, but thank God I have my father’s genetics, and that is what allows me to overcome her contrubution, which is a conscious creulty to another person, and the kind no one deserves.

    1. JC,
      Interesting you are go to school for holistic medicine. I dabble in it on a amateur level and make my own tinctures and natural remedies. I live with chronic pain (neurotic) as a result of back surgery and nerve compression. Good for you, if I were younger and perhaps had the stamina I would go to nursing school too. Oh well that is in the past, so all we have is the present and I love making my own remedies. I advocate for myself and my docs get a kick out of what I do.

      Yes, it is difficult to cut ones ties with our family, however, when they are toxic and tear you down it is time to leave. Your situation seems fairly involved. It is good that you left the area where they are, it seems they may collude to get you committed on a psych eval. It is best to stay away from these kind, I have a family full of them and I found it best to cut most of the ties. False allegation don’t hold weight when one doesn’t speak with them.

      It is also healthy to grieve your lose. Try to remember the good things and put the bad behind you in a lock box. Many times we find more toxic memories, we deal with them and put them in the box. Otherwise, if we stay caught in the past and triangulated in the present we stunt our growth.

      JC, love your mother in the capacity you can and let the other stuff go, I had to do this with my parents and the story ain’t pretty. However, I dealt with it, forgave them and locked it away. When we can deal with the hurt in a mature way we grow, we flourish and take back our true selves.

      It sounds like you are on a positive path, don’t let them steal your joy anymore. Trust God and he will bless you. I am happy you are dealing with all of this pain in positive light.

      Blessings and be Well

      1. JC,
        I hate these computers, they change my words on me, they try to guess and interpret what I am typing. I’ll never agree that I am neurotic, I am an Emapath and a Highly Sensitive Person concerning the needs of others. To my understanding this is being Christ like, not neurotic.

        Correction on neurotic, I meant to say I (neuropathic) pain.

  15. I too think the letter writing is a good tool. The way I have done it in the past is to start off by not judging my emotions and to let them out on paper, just to let it out and get in touch with my true feelings . I would recommend to just write some everyday for a week, until you think you are getting to the core of it. For me it takes some work to get to the core of my true thoughts so that it feels authentic and real to me. That would be the first step. Its a good way to get to know yourself better and to hone in on your true motivation. You may have to redefine and change what your motives are if it includes retaliation, that means he holds power over you and you don’t want to give him that power, he has not been in your life so this is basically a fresh start and can be a new beginning or a much needed closure, just knowing you are taking care of yourself.

    1. Kat well said.

      It is necessary for us to give ourselves permission to feel what we feel. We have all been conditioned to squash down our real feelings and emotions to some degree. It can be difficult getting to the bottom of these. But writing allows it to unfold and it’s pretty interesting what happens then.

      I think during the writing process it encourages us to be totally authentic and that in and of itself one of the most important things we can every achieve in life. This blog really helped me in this regard and while I am well and truly on my way to becoming whole and healed I stay around because I love my fellow season ticket holders and want to be available for people who are hurting. It’s a pretty horrific process but it takes us straight into our dark night of the soul and that’s where the real alchemy occurs.

    1. You are a beautiful soul Joey. Only a beautiful soul can survive this journey. Know you are truly blessed – we all are.

    2. Joey,

      Do you know where your father lives? Also, what has happened with your brother? Does he have a relationship with your father and if so how do you feel about that. How old is you father now, is he retired , perhaps remarried, did he have anymore children? When you spent the 18 months with your father what was your relationship like? I am trying to get somewhat a feel for both of you. In the end I do have quite a bit to say and then perhaps I can tell my story and you might give me some insight too.

      Cheers mate, here is to better days.

  16. Guys/gals

    This is from Sarah Anderson’s book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing
    S – Shattering
    W – Withdrawal
    I – Internalizing
    R – Rage
    L – Lifting
    I get that, surely do. I for one have SWIRLed and I’m pretty sure we all have. Abandonment and co-dependence run a lot deeper than what we think. It really does open up old wounds and forces us to go deeper. It’s the Dark Night of the Soul and I’ve been there more than once.

    It’s a whole new way of looking at things isn’t it? If you want to SWIRL just hang out with psychopaths. Wish granted.

    I thoroughly recommend this book guys from what I’ve seen so far. It’s one to keep on the shelf in the psychopath section. This type of information are the stakes we need to kill the vampires for once and for all.

    1. EU-thanks for the book recommendation. Will have to take a look. I think one of my turning points was when I totally lost it one day and if I would have had a gun at that time I believe I would have shot him, I was so totally out of control and his behavior was so outrageous. After that I determined I would never get to that point again and began the process of disengaging, so much that so that it made me kind of numb to him afterwards. But that gave me an objective view and I could look at him impartially and think things through. Its certainly a process and one we don’t need to hurry along, its more important to gain what we can from the experience, but we do need to be vigilant about bitterness in our spirit and purpose to weed it out. I know I was full of bitterness and it took forgiveness to clear it out of me.

      1. In re-reading what I wrote it sounds like I am directing this to you EU, what I meant is be taken generally to whoever is on the site, according to the topic of dealing with the after effects of being around a CD. I hope I don’t sound like I am lecturing – I hate that. I am just describing my own experience and what I found helped me. But its not a one size fits all process to free oneself of the harmful effects of being around a CD. That’s why this forum is so helpful.

        1. Kat,
          No offense taken and it didn’t sound that way. We all understand we are under pressure and many times it is difficult to find the right words to express ourselves. We all have different personalities and ways of articulating. Many times I come across strong and perhaps a questionable tone. If anytime someone says something that doesn’t sound right all one needs to do is ask.

          We will never agree on some things and we have that right to disagree, in this process we need to be respectful. Thank you for your contributions to the blog, you have helped me too.

          1. Thanks BTOV. If I could help anyone I would consider that to be a real honor, I have been helped by many folks along the way. I don’t know your back situation you mentioned, just wonder if you have heard of Stuart McGill. He has a book called “The back mechanic”. He is a leading back expert. I have been doing his 4 core exercises daily and have not had a bout of sciatica in a long while. I know you said it was due to a surgery but still may be some helpful information, it is mostly core work. I found videos online and haven’t read the book but watched the exercises online to know how to do them correctly if you are interested.

          2. BTOV,

            Yes very true, I think I can come accross as lecturing from time to time also, in fact I’m certain of it. It’s not what is/was intended.

            Nobody will every agree 100% of the time. But we can most certainly disagree and not rip the other person to shreds which CD are masters at doing. With CD the information or the topic is never in question, they are right all the time. So in order to keep them in their right position they must launch into ad hominem attacks on our characters. This is where they continually slime us.

            I’ve had amazing conversations with people whom do not agree with my point of view and vice versa but we don’t eat each other for breakfast and more often than not our own knowledge is enhanced anyway and it allows us to bond with that other person who is able to maintain and even keel without being triggered. I refer to those who are easily triggered as gunslingers. It suits.

          3. Kat,

            Thanks, have not heard of that book, although I have done a huge amount of reading. During the D I stopped doing any exercises. I injured my back over 30 years ago and dealt with chronic pain since I was 30. Twelve years ago I was attacked by 2 St. Bernards, my nerves in my back we pinched so severely my legs were paralyzed, I was able to walk again but have severe nerve damage. What saved me was I was in good physical health from keeping my muscles tone with isometrics and other exercise. I never got back on track which I need to do. Thank you for recommending the book and will get it. It is encouraging to hear it has helped you.

            Later the docs found I had a pinched nerve in my neck as a result of the injury, that causes me much difficulty too. I am going to try swimming and see if that will help. Thank you for your concern, that was very sweet of you. So we are sisters in pain.

  17. SWIRL describes it perfectly.

    A 12 Step program for those who’ve had a family member-spouse or parent, and been a victim of gaslighting.

    1. I really thought I had met real scum in the corporate world and I mean total bastards who would throw you under a bus as soon as look at you.

      Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected it from my nearest and dearest. Worse than a Steven King novel – including IT and Misery.

      1. When Misery is a different form of your mother, yeah, I get it-too well.

        I thought that doctors could be meglomaniacs, which pales in comparison, doesn’t it?

        1. The medical profession is rampant with CD doctors, nurses – it’s power over others. The more I go back into recapitulation on events the more I see them. Because Mum was in hospital so much in the last 2 years of her life, I saw plenty of great medical staff and just as many bad ones. At one stage a hospital was my second home.

          Just because somebody is a doctor or a nurse doesn’t necessarily imply they are good people. Character matters!

          1. Kat,

            Thanks, have not heard of that book, although I have done a huge amount of reading. During the D I stopped doing any exercises. I injured my back over 30 years ago and dealt with chronic pain since I was 30. Twelve years ago I was attacked by 2 St. Bernards, my nerves in my back we pinched so severely my legs were paralyzed, I was able to walk again but have severe nerve damage. What saved me was I was in good physical health from keeping my muscles tone with isometrics and other exercise. I never got back on track which I need to do. Thank you for recommending the book and will get it. It is encouraging to hear it has helped you.

            Later the docs found I had a pinched nerve in my neck as a result of the injury, that causes me much difficulty too. I am going to try swimming and see if that will help. Thank you for your concern, that was very sweet of you. So we are sisters in pain.

          2. Eudox,

            Nor does it make them an authority which most like to profess. Give me a well versed intelligent advocate and I do fairly well. Most psych docs have more problems than we do, (No Offense Dr. Simon) and just love prescribing drugs, LOL. I do have to say I have had luck with docs far more often than most people I know. I would go so far as to refer to them as healers.

          3. Agreed, the lack of social skills was evident in one pain specialist telling me he understood about the competitive swimming, “you were all out there by yourself.” Um, swimming is a team sport, it was the others there, standing in the freezing cold under a sleeping bag at meets, and standing in the showers after workouts watching the room spin. I didn’t expect him to understand, not when you spend all your time in chem lab, but I did call the office of patient experience, as it is a teaching hospital and politely suggest they teach him the correct answer.

        1. Lucy that’s what CD basically are though. Great eh! Kathey Bates gets it in the end though. I’m your number one fan! She would have been the topic for his next book entitled Annie Wliks LOL

  18. I was talking to some people the other day and stinging nettle came up. They claim it’s the best cure for sciatica and good for nerve damage. Vicki a friend of mine swears by it she said it cured her sciatica she used to drink the tea but also did something else. I’ll see her again in a few days or so so I will ask specifically what she did. There’s a link below and article from Natural News for all those who have got nerve damage and other associated or not so associated ails.

    1. Eudox,

      Have a jar of it now, making a tincture with it. There are a whole slew of medicines in our own back yard. Golden milk made with tumeric, pepper, fresh ginger and honey is great for pain. Lots of goodies if you know what to look for. Thank you for thinking of me, that is really sweet.
      Hugs Sister and hope you never hurt like this.

  19. BTOW,

    Tumeric tea is my favorite (I treat gastroparesis and the chronic pain with it, grow it on my patio and buy the fresh ground ginger (make it with evaporated goats milk), and the honey and sometimes, a little bit of caramel syrup. Great way with oils, to chill. If I need the sleep, adding the Melatonin to the tea itself, and it’s lights out.

    The Tryptophan in there can help depression/anxiety too, which is the way to do it when at all possible, the natural stuff does feel better, no more need for any antidepressants for someone else’s benefit.

    Losing a narc is like lancing a boil. Fear, then the relief is immediate. :)

    1. JC,

      I truly believe the majority of sicknesses are caused by outside factors, ie., the GMO’s, the pesticides, chemtrails, fluride and a whole slew of other toxins that we are forced to eat and breath. The meds big pharma prescribes in the end do far more damage than if we stayed symptomatic. I have had great result s with my herbal garden and remedies. I am working with burdock right now, I didn’t know they offer classes for this hobby.

      1. BTOV, I like to go the natural route too when I can. Do you know anything that helps with sinuses? Sorry to get off track but I am stumped on this. I have a lot of allergies as well and trying to find something that will help. I already do a neti-pot. Would like to get off the Claritin. I think a lot of our health problems are due to toxins as well. My daughter suggested a massage therapist that does a “cupping” technique. Up for anything that helps.

        1. kat
          The one thing I know that helps allergy symptoms, drug-free, would be Saline solution to clean out the nostrils of allergens that have deposited there with the nose hair trapping it.
          A nice shower also seems to help my face swelling when having trouble with allergies.
          At times, when my face is plugged up and somewhat swollen I’ll lie down with a cold pack or cold rag on my face. Sometimes I use heat. I love water therapy.
          A hot bath with Vicks Vapor Rub on my chest and ribs and back feels good.
          Other than these things, I rely on meds to help.

        2. Kat,

          If you go to the link I put up to Natural News I’m pretty sure the article mentioned stinging nettle for hives which is allergy. It seems that the most nasty looking and worst tasting plants have the greatest medicinal properties.

          I got given a tincture once by the woman at the apocathary in town for some other problem and OMG it was vile. Drinking kerosene would have been more pleasant but it worked.

        3. Kat

          A bowl of very hot water, Place a towl over your head and breath the steam. Good for sinuses. Also Horse raddish, Grate finely and breath the vapour. Be careful very spicy and hot.

          1. Thanks joey, I have done the steam thing and it is very nice, when I was really congested I put vicks vaporub under my nose and breathed it in. Will have to try the horse radish, that’s a cheap fix – right up my alley.

  20. Kat

    Also – again water – hot steamy cup of tea, and I like to place the hot cup on my face and put my face over the cup to inhale the steam.

  21. Saline solution to prevent sinus infections is wonderful. Works like a son of a gun. Something else that is simple and helpful to neutralize acid is baking soda. It really helps me with muscle pain.

  22. Thank you all!! Believe me I will try all these tips. Also thinking about doing a cleansing diet to see if that helps, I do use the Himalayan and celtic sea salt, its so good. Off to try a cold pack. Thanks for the support, it means a lot.

  23. My mother’s birthday (CDN) is in a week, the same date as my last appointment with my counselor. :). Don’t need her anymore-she’s nice, and all. Is this pretty normal to want to bake a cake and take it in?

    1. Since I don’t know your situation, I would hestitate to give you advice. That would be the ‘normal’ instinct. But I think if it were me I would buy a cupcake and put a candle in it. You are still being thoughtful. Maybe a small gift like a pretty pen, like you would do for a friend. That’s only if you feel right about it, only you can determine that. My son’s Dad put him through hell, but I still asked him to go see his Dad when he was in hospice. He did, but his Dad never apologized, even on his death bed. He didn’t see where he did anything wrong. But still, it was his Dad and I didn’t want him to be bothered in his conscience that he didn’t go see him.

  24. Good point. I know what she was put through was worse. It does seem right, a card is late in coming by now.

    But you are right.

    1. I wanted to put this in-when I mentioned that the good news is I can unlearn all the bad habits I learned from my CDN parent, one of the things was that I was afraid to have kids. I can’t as it is (PCOS), but I am going to volunteer with Big Sisters. :). Never give someone else all your power. Or punish yourself for their shortcomings.

  25. Oh geez: “What kind of person just can’t let this go?” She’s said this to me after I confronted her about something she said to me. She added that my response(s) was/were not normal. And then said I had an obsessive side to my personality, so that I could not let certain things go. Thankfully I had read some of Dr. Simon’s work, so that when she wrote me all of this, I looked not much AT what she said, but FOR what she said, and it looked to me like a bunch of manipulation tactics. That being said, I’ve still struggled in my quieter moments with WHAT she said. She cut me
    off after that last message, but we still work together, so it’s been pretty painful. Thanks for giving this example Dr. Simon. So strange to find someone behaving this way after many months of a different relationship. Very confusing.

  26. Am currently being gaslit by a doctor to cover up her negligence. Stunning how low she will go and how she uses others to gaslight by proxy. On one hand pretending to care and on the other trying to make me look crazy. I made the mistake of sticking up for myself and now she is trying to discredit me to protect her image and cover her mistakes.

    I’ve experienced doctors using lies and coercive control to try and get me to submit to unnecessary tests. It’s awful. But when they team up once they realize you’re on to them it’s terrifying.

    Even though I know what they are doing, I feel this strong desire to defend myself, to prove I’m not crazy. Which will likely, if I’m not very careful, make me look crazy!

    Crazymaking behavior. It’s very destabilizing.

    Need a new doctor, but I’m finding it’s a very common tactic in the medical profession. It’s an effect tool to get and maintain control and to conceal whatever they feel the need to conceal.

    1. That’s awful. I have a friend who went through that. For sure find another doctor. Don’t subject yourself to their behaviors. Life is difficult enough dealing with the norm.
      When one becomes upset, angry, confrontational when in a situation of dealing with one’s issues, suddenly one becomes “crazy” because we aren’t calm while we’re taking the beating. (not literally) I’ve been there in court, high intensity situations for over two years. It will take a toll on you emotionally and physically.

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