Recovering from gaslighting effects and regaining one’s sanity after an abusive relationship isn’t easy. Victims frequently mistrust themselves and worry about making the same relationship mistakes again. And getting the wrong kind of help can easily re-traumatize. Empowerment begins with understanding what really happened and why.
When we try too hard to understand we inadvertently revoke the power we have. Understanding can’t itself empower. Taking action empowers.
Rationalizing, or excuse making, is a manipulation tactic. The strategy is simple: get someone to buy into your “explanations,” and your behavior takes on a whole different light. Your intentions look less sinister. And you don’t look so bad in character. Wow! Do bad things, and look good doing them! Now, that’s quite a feat!
Manipulators like engaging in evasion and diversion because these tactics keep the spotlight off their behavior. There artful dance around the issues can help them stay one step ahead of you. That’s why it’s so important to confront their tactics head-on.
Some people fight in very surreptitious ways. The covert maneuvers they employ are effective. They throw others on the defensive while cloaking aggressive intent. You might suspect something is up but end up doubting yourself. You might even question your sanity. To restore your sanity you have to trust your gut.
How do you confront a narcissist effectively? By not playing their game – the unwinnable war of self-justification. Address only behavior and its consequences.
Aggressors can easily have you emotionally on the run. But you gain power when you hold ground. The best way to do that is to keep emotion out of things and judge and deal with behavior only.
How did we end up here? That’s the question so many folks who have been struggling in or recovering from a toxic relationship find themselves asking. Many also question how we ended up here as a society. My new book with Kathy Armistead provides a practical guide to surviving and thriving in a character-disordered world.
Proper confrontation is not just a practical and beneficial way of dealing with the character disturbances of others. It’s also one of the better ways of demonstrating a healthy brand of self-love.
Change, when it occurs, always happens in the moment of choice. That’s always where our ultimate power lies: the power to choose, and especially, to choose to do differently – at least for any particular moment in time.