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Understanding Gaslighting: Overcoming Emotional Abuse


Understanding Gaslighting: Overcoming Emotional Abuse

Are you feeling confused, overwhelmed, and manipulated? In this episode of Understanding Gaslighting: Overcoming Emotional Abuse, licensed psychotherapists Randi and Jess help you identify, combat, and heal from gaslighting. Together, we'll explore the signs of emotional abuse, the psychology behind it, and strategies to overcome its lasting effects. With real-life examples, expert guidance, and self-care recommendations, this episode is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to reclaim their identity and mental health. Tune in, and break free from gaslighting today!

If you're looking for information on gaslighting, it's important to understand the meaning and psychology behind this form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting can cause individuals to feel confused, doubtful of their own memory and judgment, and on edge. However, there are coping skills and techniques available to help manage and overcome the effects of gaslighting. Finding the right resources, such as quotes, books, and movies can be incredibly empowering and validating. By exploring these resources and learning more about gaslighting, you can begin to heal and regain a sense of control over your own identity and emotions.

Our upcoming podcasts will delve into the various facets of gaslighting and explore how it impacts various aspects of our lives. From relationships to the workplace, gaslighting can have lasting effects and can be difficult to recognize. Through our discussions, we will help listeners learn to recognize the signs of gaslighting and understand how it differs from manipulation, as well as explore the complex interplay between gaslighting and emotional abuse.

We'll share examples and case studies to help listeners better understand the topic, while diving into the psychological intricacies of how gaslighting works. Additionally, we'll offer practical advice for overcoming the effects of gaslighting through support groups, therapy, and coping mechanisms, while exploring how it affects mental health and well-being. Be sure to tune in for these important topics and more.

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where someone manipulates another person into questioning their own perception of reality. This can include denying events that have occurred, twisting the facts, and causing the victim to doubt their own memory, judgment, and sanity.

What are some signs of gaslighting?

Signs of gaslighting can include minimizing the victim's feelings, denying the victim's experiences, twisting the facts to make the victim doubt their own reality, and blaming the victim for the abuser's behavior.

How do I recognize gaslighting in a relationship?

Gaslighting can appear in many forms in a relationship, including constant criticism, trivializing the victim's feelings, stonewalling, lying, and projecting. Over time, gaslighting can cause the victim to lose their sense of self and feel isolated and alone.

How is gaslighting different from manipulation?

While manipulation is a broader term that can encompass many types of controlling behavior, gaslighting is specifically manipulating someone's perception of reality to make the victim doubt their own memory, judgment, and sanity.

What are some of the effects of gaslighting?

The effects of gaslighting can be profound, including feelings of confusion, self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and a loss of self-esteem and confidence.

Can gaslighting lead to mental illness?

Gaslighting can cause significant distress and may lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How can I overcome gaslighting?

Overcoming gaslighting can be a difficult process, but therapy, support groups, and self-care strategies can be effective ways to cope. It is important to seek professional help from a licensed therapist who has experience in dealing with emotional abuse.

How can I help someone who is experiencing gaslighting?

If you suspect that someone you know may be a victim of gaslighting, it is important to offer non-judgmental support and validation. Encourage them to seek professional help and always respect their feelings and experiences.

Are there any famous examples of gaslighting in movies or TV shows?

Yes, there are several popular movies and TV shows that explore the theme of gaslighting, including “Gaslight,” “The Girl on the Train,” and “Big Little Lies.”

Are there support groups for people who have experienced gaslighting?

Yes, there are support groups and online communities where people can connect with others who have experienced gaslighting and receive support and validation. It is important to choose a group that is led by a licensed professional or certified support group leader to help with gaslighting.

#womensmentalhealth #gaslightingawareness #gaslightingexamples #narcissisticabuse

#gaslightingtherapy #mentalhealthpodcast #selfcareforwomen #overcominggaslighting

#emotionalabuse #healingtrauma

Ways to Unwind and Relax

Meditative, Relaxing, Mental Health Coloring books developed by licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley and Jessica Bullwinkle – Available on Amazon Today!


[00:00:00] Randi: 1, 2, 3, 4. Hi friends. It's Randi and Jess, and we're gonna cut the bullshit and

[00:00:07] Jess: let's get into women's mental health.

[00:00:13] Randi: We're gonna be talking about gas lighting and why it is so toxic and what exactly it is.

[00:00:19] Jess: Have you ever thought or had someone say to you, I never said that. I only do it because I love you.

[00:00:25] Randi: You're being so dramatic.

[00:00:28] Jess: You're the issue. Not me.

[00:00:30] Randi: You are crazy.

[00:00:31] Jess: If you loved me, you would….

[00:00:34] Randi: You are just being insecure.

[00:00:37] Jess: You're imagining things

[00:00:39] Randi: Or you're so selfish if you don't do this for me. Insert whatever this is. Or it didn't happen that way. It's not that big of a deal. You're


paranoid. Yep. So we're gonna talk about how you can recognize it and what you can do about

[00:00:54] Jess: it. Gas lighting is a psychological abuse that distorts the victims view of reality by undermining.

And making their memory small or making it unreal, making their feelings their needs not worthy.

[00:01:09] Randi: Basically, you're trying to suppress the other person's feelings, wants validations, and squish them down, and they're telling you like that's not reality. And they're super imposing, like their reality on you and making you second guess yourself, right?

[00:01:25] Jess: Yes. It's the second guessing, right? Mm-hmm. , it's lying. Deflection. Mm-hmm. , it's making it, their reality is yours and yours is wrong. Right.

[00:01:34] Randi: So it's majorly manipulative. And like you said, you are always questioning your perception of what is happening, cuz then you think like, oh maybe. I did hear that wrong, or I did think something else, or maybe I did say something to them that is making them upset.

And then it's because they're deflecting everything they've done and pushing it back on you. And usually, um, those that gaslight really target empaths. Mm-hmm. and people that have higher sensitivities and they know, or those of us with like ADHD too, that can. Think very inwardly and like live in our head a lot.

And then we internalize all of that and start thinking, you know, repeatedly, like maybe it is me, maybe I am the problem.

[00:02:24] Jess: What I find interesting is that the term is popped up a lot lately. Mm-hmm. , But it comes from an old 1940s movie. And in the movie, have you ever seen it? It's an old black and white movie where the husband comes in and he's trying to make his wife look crazy.

And so he'll come in when she's sleeping and he rearranges the furniture and she gets up and says The living room's change. Mm-hmm. , And he's like, No, it's always been this way. And he'll move her purse or he'll change things and do things to make it all different. Right. And so she starts thinking, maybe I am crazy.


[00:03:01] Randi: Maybe this is watching her reality.

[00:03:03] Jess: Yeah. Yes. And so that's where this comes from, is this

[00:03:07] Randi: movie. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And that's very interesting because I like that you talked about that because, uh, that's how it can feel like somebody's moving pieces around a board and they know, and they're the only players on the board, and you're not part of this game that they're playing.

And then you're like, Wait, how did I get from A to B? What's that other movie, The Truman Show where he doesn't realize he's in the TV show? Oh, I love that one.

[00:03:33] Jess: Yeah. We always say

[00:03:34] Randi: the Truman Show. Yeah. And they're like manipulating his reality and then he starts realizing like everything around him is fake.

Yes. And I feel like that is kind of like, almost like gas lighting too. Like you, you're creating this like environment for this other person and then you start to believe like that's reality. Or like you're not worthy or like you're questioning everything.

[00:03:55] Jess: And you're going through saying, I don't think I said that, but maybe I did say that.

Maybe I am the one. We talked about the examples, right? If we go through examples of gas lighting mm-hmm. , uh, the first one would be shifting blame. It's not my fault, it's your fault. It's part of the deflection, right?

[00:04:11] Randi: Not me, it's you. And that's because they don't want to be held accountable for their actions.

[00:04:17] Jess: Yeah, exactly. They want you to

[00:04:19] Randi: own it. Mm-hmm. , Um, well, and with narcissistic personality disorder, which we can go into detail in another episode, is that you think you are the most amazing person in the world and you're never gonna do anything wrong. So that's very common with gas lighting, that it's like, it's not me, it's you, you're

[00:04:36] Jess: the problem.

Mm-hmm. denying the. That is very textbook, uh, going through and saying the obvious, like whatever's obviously true, being like, Yeah, that's not true. Like that didn't know, that didn't happen.

[00:04:48] Randi: Like a hundred percent. You could be like, um, the sky is blue, right? Like they could be like, the gas tank is empty. I just filled it.

And they're like, No, it's empty. Yeah. You know, and you're like, Wait, is it, did I not fill it? like, oh shit. And this is very common too. I wanna say like any young relationships, I think when your brain isn't fully developed and you don't have a lot of wherewithal about like what healthy relationships can look like, it can be easy to fall into like being, um, kind of a victim of being gaslighted.

The other

[00:05:20] Jess: part is minimizing or dismissing someone's needs. Mm-hmm. , right? Not just, that's not what you need. But it, somebody says, I really need this time. And they're like, No, you don't.

[00:05:30] Randi: Right? Like, you're so needy. The same thing we said before, like, you're so insecure. Like why? When you're saying like, I need this from you, and they're like, No, you don't.

I'm trying to communicate with you and I'm trying to be healthy, immature, and then you're putting it back on me. Mm-hmm. , and that's making me, now, that's making me feel insecure and that's making me feel needy when I really wasn't. What

[00:05:54] Jess: about disapproval? And this one happens a lot when parents gaslight their children.

Mm-hmm. and that can happen, right? Is saying that I don't approve of that. Not just disapproval, but subtle things like, Mm, you're doing that. You're choosing to do that? Yeah. Do you think that was a good idea? Yeah. And so that's another way, right? Yeah. Cause especially with

[00:06:14] Randi: your kids, and I have a hard time doing that too, because that was kind of like how I was raised.

So I have to catch myself like doing that with my own kids and not being like, Why are you doing that? You know, and like, okay, chill. Like, you're your own person too, and you're developing and you're growing, and things like that. And flip the script on myself

[00:06:34] Jess: and let's just sidetrack for two seconds.

Mm-hmm. sometimes, especially with my kids, they gotta learn themselves. Yeah. You're like, I ooh, you so wanna be like, I told you so, but I'm like, Mm. I'm just gonna bite my tongue. Hmm. How'd that work for you? Yeah. Yeah. How'd that work? Oh, that didn't work. Oh. Mm-hmm. . Okay. . Another form of gas lighting is alienation or isolation, and

[00:06:55] Randi: that's huge.

I feel like a lot of the times, like they'll pull you away from friends, they'll pull you away from family, they'll pull you away from like social situations and things and be like, You don't need to do that. Or like all of a sudden, now white, you were too needy before. But it's like, now why aren't you spending more time with me?


[00:07:13] Jess: don't think your family has the best interest

[00:07:15] Randi: for you. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Turning you against, you know, people or best friends, Your support system. Yeah. Till you are so codependent on them, but then they're also pushing you away at the same time. So it's this constant like push and pull with

[00:07:29] Jess: them and then you start wondering, wait.

Who has my best interest at heart, Right? Because your family's probably going, Mmm, something is wrong, right? Something

[00:07:37] Randi: is totally wrong. But then it's like if you have like stars in your eyes for this person, it's hard to see other people's, like opinions of them when they're like, This person is a, a-hole.

Like, why are you with them? And it's like, you just don't know them like I do. And it's like, Oh God. Yeah, girl. See that from a mile away, But it's like, you know, but how often

[00:07:57] Jess: do you really wanna call your spouse as an A-hole? Right? Because really, truly, you're like, I mean, nine, they're gonna get

[00:08:02] Randi: right ,

[00:08:03] Jess: but you're gonna get right back with them, right?

So you're like, I probably shouldn't tell you that. I think he's an asshole, but you know,

[00:08:10] Randi: Using love as an excuse, like, I love you, but I love

[00:08:14] Jess: you. No. Oh, if you loved me, that's not what, If you loved me, you would do this for

[00:08:20] Randi: me. That's not love. Let me just say that again. That is not love. Okay.

[00:08:24] Jess: That is manipulation and control.

Mm-hmm. , And that's also abuse. Right? Right there. That is

[00:08:29] Randi: abuse. Right. And that is causing you to not communicate and not voice your concerns and not be yourself. You learn to diminish yourself, um, your personality, your thoughts, your wants, your needs, your emotions when you do that, and you become a shell of yourself.

And it's just really sad. And only because I speak from experience of. Don't become a shell of yourself. No. You know, I just dated a lot of bad guys when I was younger. ,

[00:08:58] Jess: I'm telling you, when you're young, bad guys are hot. There is something hot about 'em. And then when you grow up, you're like, Yeah, that's just dangerous and annoying.

I mean,

[00:09:08] Randi: really. Yeah. Yeah. My MO was to date, you know, douchey bad boys, so, Well, they don't require much of you sometimes. Well, yeah, exactly. So that's why ,

[00:09:17] Jess: Another one is forgetting, and this can be two different ways, right? Mm-hmm. looking at, forgetting as that never happened, right? Like, Oh, I don't remember that happening.

Right? I never saw that. I don't know where it is. The other way of forgetting is, oh, I forgot to stop by the, Mm. Oh, I forgot to do this. When you ask them to do things or you need them to do things right? Mm-hmm. to pick you up

[00:09:41] Randi: or reverse, like Universe said that to me.

[00:09:44] Jess: Yes. That's another way of forgetting,

[00:09:45] Randi: and you're like, I'm pretty sure we had this full conversation.

It's like, no, you probably just had it in your head. Did

[00:09:52] Jess: I say that out loud? I could have swore I had that conversation. Did I dream it? Mm-hmm. . And validating emotions. Mm-hmm. ,

[00:09:59] Randi: it's not that big of a deal. You don't feel that way. Why are you so worried about this? There's so many ways that that could be like phrase to like, play down your emotions and not validate them.

[00:10:12] Jess: Another one would be withholding information. And this one happens a lot like at work Right. Right. With

[00:10:18] Randi: the bosses or coworkers. Right.

[00:10:21] Jess: Somebody who doesn't give you everything you need to make your job successful. Mm-hmm. . And so you're, you're going, Oh, I didn't know that makes you look dumb. Mm-hmm. , I didn't know that, Oh, if I had that information, I could have done this or that.

[00:10:32] Randi: Right. And I just watched this really cute new show on Netflix called Partner Track. And that's kind of like in that, um, show. That happens. One of the other lawyers like withholds information from her on the team so that like she can't like make like the partner that she wants and then she like finds out afterwards.

Like that's kind of like what damned her in that situation. And she was like, Why would you do that to me? Like somebody that she

[00:10:56] Jess: trusted. Well, and my husband had that happening at one of his last employments, right? Mm-hmm. , he was. Had gotten his masters, he was working with a mentor. Mm-hmm. , he was trying to move up.

Come to find out after like a year of going, why is this not going anywhere? It got back to him that his boss was gaslighting, was actually saying, Yeah, yeah. I've got this with holding information and making it so he couldn't move forward. Mm. And somebody finally said, Hey, I just wanna let you know your boss.

Like doing this. Yeah. He's a dick. Yeah, he, Well, we knew he was a dick. Yeah. But we didn't know how big

[00:11:32] Randi: of a dick he was. Yeah. Which is interesting because if you do have a good like manager or boss, they will continually want to support you and push you forward and, um, help you if you are stuck in certain areas because that's gonna make their job overall better.

But if they wanna have like all the praise or if they're threatened by you, which is another thing usually, or

[00:11:54] Jess: if they don't want you moving up because it means they have to retrain somebody. Mm-hmm. or they're gonna have to pick up the work.

[00:12:00] Randi: And that also comes back to using that in a relationship too.

A lot of times they are fearful that you are too good for them. . And so they are like basically blowing out your candle because they don't want you to move on. They wanna keep like a stronghold on you, that you stay like in this little box they have you in, so you can't, Or like a cage, rather cage. They don't want you to like fly away from them.

So it's like their own fear is controlling

[00:12:30] Jess: the relationship. And that's domestic abuse. Mm-hmm. . Right? That is, That is emotional abuse. Emotional

[00:12:35] Randi: abuse. It is. Which is domestic abuse.

[00:12:38] Jess: Sometimes the, the, the verbal is worse. Mm-hmm. , the nonverbal is worse. I mean, I don't know. Lot times either of 'em is

[00:12:46] Randi: good.

[00:12:46] Jess: No.

But I've heard people from the woman I've worked with who have said, you know, it was the isolation that he did. I had nowhere to go. Mm-hmm. , it was the control he had. I couldn't do anything.

[00:12:58] Randi: Mm. You feel like you have. And that's also they can use like finances to manipulate you. Like saying like you don't have the education, you don't have the wherewithal to, how are you

[00:13:08] Jess: gonna afford it

[00:13:09] Randi: without me?

Right. F you. I'm gonna find a way.

[00:13:13] Jess: Sidetracked. Squirrel as usual, right? . The accusations your crazy. How many times have you heard somebody go, You're just crazy. Mm-hmm. , you are being crazy. Yeah. And you're like, No, I might be being emotional. Right. But I'm not crazy. Yeah, exactly. This is valid. You know, and this is what I'm seeing.

And they're like, No, that's not

[00:13:33] Randi: it. Yeah. So they're trying to make you paranoid. Mm-hmm. . So they're accusing you of things that aren't really happening. Right. And then constant criticism like All the time. All

[00:13:44] Jess: the time. Mm-hmm. , it's. Just nitpicking and nitpicking

[00:13:47] Randi: and yeah. Like why don't you clean the house this way?

Like, why don't you do the dishes this way? Like, why aren't you raising the kids this way? Why aren't you? And it's like wearing that. Yeah. Like, I don't see you doing that. You know? But it's like you can't criticize them because they're not another thing. Yeah. They're not gonna own it. No,

[00:14:03] Jess: they're not.

That's true. Because you're crazy. Right? Right. It goes back to you. It's all about you being crazy. Yeah. Why if the movie was in 1944, right? Mm-hmm. , why is this a new buzzword? Why is it like all of a sudden, the last couple of years, I hear the kids throwing it around all the time and I'm like, Well, A, they're using it wrong, but B, why is it now popular?

[00:14:23] Randi: Probably because of social media and things like TikTok. I think people pull out certain words. Um, you know, because you're watching 11 second videos and you can only get a certain amount of information from that. So you attach these, you know, Things, it becomes kind of like a trendy word and being gas lit or I'm in a narcissistic relationship without understanding like the whole of what that really means.


[00:14:49] Jess: you think, This is me sidetracking again? Mm-hmm. . Do you think that maybe with the, not current but the previous political party, That a lot of the gas lighting was happening and the narcissistic and that's why, cuz I mean that's a big thing the last couple of years. Yeah. I'd say the last

[00:15:06] Randi: six years.

Years. Well I think, I think generations like, um, like our kids generation and my daughter who's a teenager, they saw that for what it was, Hmm. And they realized like what was happening politically and they're gonna change the landscape because they were like, We're not falling for this. Like, what is this?

Like, why are we, I think because we've raised them to be more socially conscious and um, more aware of mental health, that they were kind of like, What is happening, you know? So

[00:15:39] Jess: that's interesting. I was just thinking, cuz I'm wondering, I just feel like we've had a lot of narcissism and it's been really brought to the surface the last couple of years.

Especially with mental health. Yeah. Is

[00:15:49] Randi: really kind of brought Well, and I think too with the, um, you know, pandemic and stuff like that with, uh, a domestic abuse went through the roof. Yeah. Because people were stuck in situations and had to be quarantined and things like, Safe places, you know, maybe that those people had like work or school or whatever, like weren't available.

So friends houses. Yeah. So people were actually seeing that more and maybe realizing more, you know, when it was like constantly happening on a day in and day out basis. Cuz like sometimes, you know, you leave the situation and then you come back and you're like, oh, wasn't so bad. You know? But if it's like over and over and over again, you know, right there for like, you know, two years you're.

Oh, oh my gosh. You know, and then you're almost having, what is it called when you fall in love with like your captor? I can't, uh, Oh, syndrome.

[00:16:40] Jess: Yeah. That one totally. Uh, uhhuh, it'll pop in like in 33 more episodes. We'll be like, Oh yeah, that

[00:16:46] Randi: one from like a white, So like, when you're abused by somebody, you can start to feel like, almost like hero worship to them.

Mm-hmm. because you have no other viewpoint of that person and they become. They've purposely become your only source of whatever it is, like food or you know, clothing or whatever. And then you start thinking maybe they're not so bad, Like maybe they kidnapped me for a reason. And it's like, No. And that can happen with being gas lit.

You know, you think like, Oh, like it could be so much more worse.

[00:17:17] Jess: I hate that saying it could be so much toxic,

[00:17:20] Randi: toxic positivity. It could be so much

[00:17:23] Jess: better. Why don't we say that it could be so much better. Right. So, but no, we don't. I will just share. Recently I had family member get upset with me and I had had a long day at work and I, I hung up the phone.

I said, You know what? I'm gonna hang up the phone cuz he was yelling at me and I was like, Yeah, I, I, I don't even know what this is about. Right. And I hung up. It wasn't

[00:17:42] Randi: about you?


[00:17:43] Jess: it wasn't about me. And I was trying to be helpful, but I just didn't have it in me at that moment. Mm-hmm. to even pay attention.

So I said, I, I'm just gonna hang up. I sent off an email and said, Hey, You know, this isn't okay. I'm not gonna be yelled at. And then all of a sudden he's like, You're gaslighting me. I, you know, you're gaslighting me. And I was

[00:17:59] Randi: like, Oh my gosh. Okay. Because you said it's not okay to yell at me. Right. So

[00:18:03] Jess: let's talk about why do people use it wrong?


[00:18:06] Randi: reversing the manipulation of it. Right.

[00:18:09] Jess: And I had to sit there and go, Wait, am I gaslighting him? No. Not gaslighting him

[00:18:14] Randi: Well, and. They're not ready to hear what you have to say. They don't wanna communicate. They're on a, a stream, you know, that's flowing, you know, towards negative town and that's all they see and you're not able to get through to them, you know, emotionally, I feel they just wanna block that communication.

So they're like, No. And in that

[00:18:35] Jess: sense that I was talking. I had no reason to manipulate him. Gas lighting is a form of manipulation. Right? Right.

[00:18:42] Randi: And you're like, I'm not getting anything from this .

[00:18:45] Jess: I have nothing from this. Besides, I was putting up a boundary and hanging up my phone. Right. Because I was like toast.

It also gets confused with abusive criticism, which is different if one partner tells another they're stupid or worthless to gain control. That's not gaslighting, that's just straight up abuse. Mm-hmm. , that's criticism and abuse. Gas lighting a partner. Most gas liters don't say, you know, you're stupid. If you leave me, it's not going to be the smartest thing.

Right. If you leave me, you may not be as successful. Mm-hmm. , that's

[00:19:18] Randi: gas lighting. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Like you said, like abusive criticism and just flat out saying like, you're dumb. You're like, you're horrible, like you're this, And then, but gas lighting has an extra layer to it. It's like, you're dumb because of this, or like, you can't, you're not as smart because you would be like, without me.

Like it always rounds back to them in some way.

[00:19:39] Jess: Right. It's the manipulation piece. Yeah. Versus just being

[00:19:43] Randi: right that they're the ones that like infuse you, you know, and like they're your personality almost. Like you can't survive without. Me without my knowledge, without my power, without my money. And you are worthless like in everything that you

[00:19:59] Jess: do.

It's not gas lighting, unless part of the criticism requires the accused partner to question what they think they know, right? Yeah. It's

[00:20:08] Randi: so gas lighting is questioning your reality, questioning yourself, questioning what you said, questioning how you think about things, questioning your family, questioning your.

[00:20:17] Jess: With the intention of manipulation. Mm-hmm. , right? Right. It is with the intention of manipulation. Right. So that is the difference here, because you know, and just because you're putting up a boundary with somebody doesn't mean you're gaslighting them. You know? If it's saying you are crazy. That's not a boundary.


[00:20:35] Randi: Because it's like some, I think like my teenager will probably say, I was like gaslighting her with like boundaries. I put up with her in some ways, but I'm like, no, these are just hard lessons that you have to learn. Like I yelled at her this morning, This is not a choose your own adventure cuz she just decided to go back to bed and not go to school.

[00:20:53] Jess: I'm gonna use that next week. Yeah,

[00:20:55] Randi: because, Because every morning. She had a migraine and I was like, gave her a medicine, had her eat, gave her water, thought she left and went to school. And then I'm like, Why? Why are you still here? And I'm like, This is not to choose your own adventure. Let's go get dress.

You know, you don't to back and choose. Like you need to be responsible, you know? And so, but I think like that's a thing like, I mean, kids could be like, my parents were so abusive to me if they made me go to school. I know. And it's like, So,

[00:21:24] Jess: So yes, gas lighting is a form of projection. Mm-hmm. right? In no way in that since, No, sorry.


[00:21:30] Randi: use your own, you know, Use your own, use your own. Well, I was thinking I have a migraine every day too, but I gotta get up and go to work. Like, it doesn't, it doesn't stop. Life doesn't stop. So

[00:21:39] Jess: let's talk about childhood gas life. Mm-hmm. . Let's take that and go further. It's when you don't allow your child to have healthy or authentic thoughts, goals, a purpose.

And it's so controlling.

[00:21:49] Randi: This is so hard for me because I know a lot of parents do this to some of their teenagers experience. Other parents that do this to their kids, from what my daughter has told me, You know, and it's hard for me to hear like that a child is being so manipulated and so controlled that they have, Sorry, it makes me wanna cry.

They have no ability to be who they are, and they have to hide who they are. Ugh. You're gonna

[00:22:14] Jess: make me teary. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's the children who, I mean, I hear that they are L G B T. Yes. They're, they're changing pronouns, you know, But you can't say it in front of their parents. No, because their parents don't accept it.

And it is so hard. You're gonna make me cry too. Oh my gosh. Yeah. It is so hard to hear that parents won't accept that stuff.

[00:22:37] Randi: Yeah, and it's like just hearing that like, you know, they're having their personal things taken away or their rooms ransacked or they're not allowed to, like the things that they like and it's like, why do you just want a carbon copy of yourself?

Like, why don't you wanna know like this beautiful, like, Person that you have, you know, and that you helped, like create and you're just trying to like squash who they are. And I don't understand that. Like, you know, like sometimes I can be an a-hole to my daughter, you know, and I totally own that to her.

But hearing like some of the stuff like her friends go through, I'm like, I don't even, like, I would rather like know all of her. Know none of her because I feel the need to control like all of her likes and interests and the air that she breathes. I'm just like, uh, no. And like, who has that much? It's like, it's so much energy to do that to a teenager too.

I'm like, how? You got

[00:23:33] Jess: so much time. I can barely handle just, just some of the stuff that, the whirlwind that comes through the kitchen sometimes. Right. And so it's different when we're saying like you're talking about ransacking, it's different than saying, you know, you can't do drugs. I get you. Like drugs.

You can't do drugs. Right, right. There are some hard and fast

[00:23:50] Randi: rules. Oh yeah. Like it's different when it's for your health safety. Sanity, overall wellbeing. Yes, there's rules, there's the chores, there's things that need to be done to be part of a family system, but like these are like good kids that don't really have those issues, but them being controlled like this will lead to those issues.

[00:24:11] Jess: And one of the things, the very first things that people start saying to their children when they're little is, it didn't hurt. Get up. Mm-hmm. , that doesn't hurt, Don't cry. . It's not worth crying over. Yeah. Diminish. Right. That doesn't hurt. Suck it up. Get up. That is all gas lighting kids. Mm-hmm. , obviously they're crying.

It hurts. Yeah. Whether they're making it big or not, I don't know how bad it hurts. I'm not them. Right. You know, telling 'em to, you know, suck it up. Just move on. Get over it. It doesn't hurt. Yeah. , that drives me crazy because it did hurt. They are upset.


[00:24:47] Randi: is crying. Well, and I think that that leads to, you know, further things too, like getting into abusive relationships or, um, you know, not coming forward when you're hurt, like as a woman.

Mm-hmm. , you know, in different areas of life. And you're just taught to just like suck it up and push it down. And we are taught that from a very young age. Oh,

[00:25:10] Jess: the other one I can't handle jk. Just kidding, jk.

[00:25:15] Randi: Okay. But I really meant it, but I'm just trying to play it off like I'm not being a complete bitch, but I am.

[00:25:20] Jess: Haha. You're so sensitive. I didn't mean it that

[00:25:23] Randi: way. Yeah. And like I got told all the time that I was, uh, highly sensitive and overly sensitive. Well, turned out I was undiagnosed adhd. So that's why. And that

[00:25:34] Jess: runs with highly sensitive and ADHD is very, very common. You're talking about being told you're overly sensitive.

Yeah. You're too sensitive.

[00:25:41] Randi: Mm-hmm. like, why are you so emotional all the time? Like blah, blah, blah. Like it's, that's annoying. Cuz then you start questioning like, who you are and it's like, that's just the way I am. So

[00:25:52] Jess: when your kids cry, it's okay to question it and say, Okay, we have to move forward, past.

[00:25:56] Randi: Well, yeah. And you know, their behavior too. Like if it is a child that is attention seeking and things like that, like you have to understand like, usually, like with my son, like he can be very dramatic , um, but he's, you know, also ADHD and on the spectrum. So I have to be like, try to communicate with me like, where does it hurt?

Is it really hurting? Can you explain? Cuz like sometimes he'll be like, It's this and then all of a sudden it transfer. You know, And I'm like, Oh, it's a moving alley. And I'm like, Yeah. So we know that this isn't like a real concern. And then other times I'm like, Okay, like this is a real concern. But then other times, like he can also get stuck in a cycle.

Yeah. Right. Of like, Oh my gosh, like this is so painful. This is, you know, And he starts getting like anxiety and I have to be like, Let's shake it off. You know, It's not coming from like a place of like, don't, but it's like coming from a place of, because he can cycle because of. Disorders and stuff. And he also has sensory issues too.

So it's like I have to be like, let's try to like move our bodies and like, you know, shake it off and like, you know, move on from this cuz he can get stuck in that perpetual cycle. So it really depends like on your kid and stuff too, and like where you're coming from with it. We were at

[00:27:08] Jess: a. Like a birthday party.

This is years ago. And this little girl fell. It was her birthday, she fell. She had like blood gushing from her knee . Right. And she was obviously hurt. Yeah. And these parents said, You're fine. Suck it up, you're fine. And I was thinking, Oh my God, She's bleeding like me. Is gushing, Does she need

[00:27:30] Randi: stitches?

Well, there's also helicopter parents too, so there's like a gray area out there. Right. But yeah, and no,

[00:27:36] Jess: these were totally detached and they were just like, You're fine. Just don't worry about it. And the look on her face. And she was a special little girl, let me tell you. She was, She had lots of trauma.

Yeah. Lots of trauma from being ignored. But that's

[00:27:51] Randi: gas lighting. Yeah. And I've seen. Opposite two, where a child has grown up and in a very, very controlled, uh, manipulative like gas lighting situation, and then them as a parent and adult now they let their kids do whatever they want. Because they've been so controlled

And then they're just like free, you know, free form or whatever, like they think, But then the kids are like constantly looking for boundaries. Yes. And they're not finding any. And then it's like all over the place and it's like chaos. And so it's like there is. Kind of having to learn to reparent yourself too, like as an adult like at times and like what looks healthy and what's different and like how do I find like a healthy medium for myself and how I, you know, was raised and like my children and stuff.


[00:28:41] Jess: Cuz negative attention is still attention. Mm-hmm . And sometimes it's easier to get the negative

[00:28:47] Randi: attention. And that's what I always say and like too, cuz my sister. Um, you know, three under five. I'm always trying to give her my worldly knowledge of being a parent for 17 years and she's like, Shut up.

But , right? She's

[00:28:59] Jess: like, Do you have three under five? Right? She's, Well, you have three,

[00:29:02] Randi: five when you come back. You know, Same thing. Like, oh, like she's, she's finding negative attention with that, cuz. The middle one. You know, she's like the middle child. So I'm like, you have to like reinforce her like, you know, with more positive things cuz she's learning to be naughty so that she gets more attention cuz she's feeling that middle child syndrome.

Another important thing to talk about is medical gas sliding. Oh, that's

[00:29:24] Jess: our favorite. Totally our

[00:29:25] Randi: favorite. It happens. All the time

[00:29:28] Jess: as women with ADHD who were obese. Yes. This is my

[00:29:32] Randi: favorite. Oh gosh. Uh, yeah. I don't even know like how probably most of my life I was probably gas lit over medical conditions because I was heavier and never once told that I had

[00:29:46] Jess: adhd.

Or anything else, so, Right. So medical, gas, lighting is when your doctors and healthcare providers dismiss your complaints or concerns. And I have patients who are, like, my doctor's not listening to me. Mm-hmm. , I keep telling them, they say, I just need mental health. And I'm like, Well, it sounds like there's some more testing that should happen.

Right. Sounds like there might actually be something, but

[00:30:09] Randi: they don't wanna research, They don't wanna put in the effort. They don't, Let's face it. MDs are just looking at their bottom line and paying off their loans. Unfortunately, that's been my experience and you know, as a medically fragile child too, they could never figure out after years and years and years and years and years of testing and seeing specialists, like what the root cause of, you know, my medical issues were with having seizures and it was.

How, how are there no answers for this? Like if one test that needs to be done is overlooked, it can skew your whole health history. And if they tell you, No, you don't need this. No, you don't need this. No, you don't need this. And it turned out. That would've given you the answer all along. It's like, I don't understand why we don't cast like a wider net for people and I Money.

Yeah, it's money and insurance. Like the way that they,

[00:31:04] Jess: And bias, I mean, we don't talk about how much bias there is and judgment that people have because sometimes the physician doesn't even recognize it

[00:31:14] Randi: themselves. Or they have their own issues with it and they're suppressing it and projecting that on you or how the medical industry has been mostly male driven.

Mm-hmm. for, you know, most of the last bazillion years or whatever. So it still is. Yes. And so it's like they don't understand women's health concerns or medical issues or hormones or things that come along with that. And

[00:31:38] Jess: I kind of feel like if you don't have a vagina, How can you know how it works? Like how do you know what it is like?

I really truly, I'm, I'm, I'm just gonna

[00:31:46] Randi: throw that out. I mean, I'm just saying because it's like a lot of things I have not understood until I've been on the ground floor with it. Um, as a therapist, like I can talk, you know, you can talk out of your ass all you want mm-hmm. , but unless you have experience with it, hands on experience with that demographic or that person in that situation, you are never gonna truly know.

[00:32:07] Jess: Oh, like when I first started out and I was working with kids, Oh my gosh. I mean, right there, you don't get it until you have kids and you're like, Oh yeah,

[00:32:17] Randi: I was the best parent before I was a parent. Yes.

[00:32:20] Jess: I, I was like, I, I'll never

[00:32:22] Randi: do that. Oh God, I can't stand with, Ugh. Ugh. And then I was like, Oh yeah. I'm a hundred percent doing that now.

I know why that parent was doing that. It's like you, I see

[00:32:31] Jess: why there's a leash on that kid. Yeah. And I'm not judging you

[00:32:34] Randi: now. No, but I was judging you before and then you're like, Man, I was an a-hole. Because it's like, that's the thing. You can't, you can't know.

[00:32:42] Jess: That's the bias. That is the bias of it, right?

Mm-hmm. . And so more gas lighting is seen with women, minorities, especially African-American and Hispanics. Mm-hmm. , L B, GT Q. Yeah. And obese. Mm-hmm. . And that is why we're always told. That like if you lose weight, your elbow will stop hurting because really your elbow is because you're obese, right? And these can this, all of these biases and are overlooked and it leads to women having bigger issues misdiagnosed.

Delayed diagnosis. Hello. ADHD. In my

[00:33:17] Randi: forties. Yeah. And I've had, uh, you know, people tell me that doctors have told them or other things like, it's your mental health, you're not really sick. Like, and it's like, no, it's actually stemming from a physical mm-hmm. , you know, place that is causing my mental health to deteriorate.

Like, you need to kind of say like, which came first? Like the chicken or the egg?

[00:33:37] Jess: I've said that like four times this last week. Yeah. Is it a chicken or egg situation?

[00:33:41] Randi: Right. And it's like, that's the hard thing. Like, and we as clinicians and mental health, Always, or me, as a diagnosing clinician, I always wanna make sure I'm getting at the root cause.

Mm-hmm. , like, what is this like, I had a client many, many years ago that people kept saying like he had schizophrenia. And I was like, No, he has a traumatic brain injury. That one right there. No, nobody had ever done, I went back through his health history. Health history. This was a traumatic brain injury situation, and nobody had recognized that he had had a scan like 15 years ago.

[00:34:16] Jess: I, I think with like traumatic brain injuries, right. You know, Oh, they had a concussion. People don't realize post-concussion syndrome is a thing. Mm-hmm. . And until like, I've actually worked with several clients where, you know, their life was put on hold for a year or two because of this. Right. And I've had to say to other, It could be this.

Go talk to your doctor, push it with your doctor. Mm-hmm. , it could be this, and then whoa. Turns out it is. And so, you know, they had an opportunity to educate their doctor about this is what this is. Yeah. And I'm not an, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a neuro person. I don't even, we

[00:34:52] Randi: talked about it, right? Yeah. But I think that, that's why it's important if you feel like you're not getting the answers you need, and this can happen a lot of times, like in smaller towns or rural areas.

Mm. Go outside of your city if you can, you know, or try to talk to a doctor online or something. Or you know, a therapist that can help you, like redirect you and find you, you know, like a specialist that you need and can connect with and see if you can get more answers if you can. It's hard, It's like we have all these medical advances, but I still feel like sometimes we're in the dark ages with, it's hard to get in to see some specialists and things like that.

There's just not enough support for our population.

[00:35:30] Jess: Oh, especially mental health. That's another soap box, right? Yeah. But so some of the medical, um, gas lighting is being told, which I said my pet peeve is that if you lose weight, your symptoms will go away. Mm-hmm. , all of this is due to being overweight.

Right. Or this is happening cuz you're anxious or depressed. Mm-hmm. , you should go see mental health. It's not a real concern. You're just worrying too much. Oh my gosh. Yeah. You're worrying. Don't worry about it would let you know if there's an issue.

[00:35:58] Randi: Yeah. Or like your joint pain is just because you're getting older or like, you know, and it's like, well what if I have, you know, rheumatoid arthritis like this runs in my family.

Like why are we not, That's like what has just happened to me recently too. Like my feet were going numb and, um, parts of my leg. They were just like, Well, it might be from like having covid. And I was like, No. I was like, you know, heart issues like running my family. They're like, Okay, like let's do some tests.

And it turns out like I am having artery blow issues, but they're still just like, whatever. Don't cross your legs. Which I

[00:36:31] Jess: doing right now. Right now? Well,

[00:36:33] Randi: right now, both of us, um, I know that I have a higher chance of a stroke in a heart attack, but they're just like, Well, it'll be six months before you can get in to see a specialist.

I'm like,

[00:36:43] Jess: Okay, great. Put me on the list. Right? Put me on the list. Nobody wants to be told that, Oh, well, you know, you're now 65 or 70, so we don't even check for that anymore because you know it's all downhill from

[00:36:54] Randi: here. Right. Or you're too young to be having this issue. Yes. So this happened with my daughter.

She, um, like three years ago, she got really, really sick. All of a sudden she was like cheerleading and she like passed out and then like for the week she just started getting like sicker and sicker, like in so much pain, what is going on? And I was like, I'm taking her to the er. And, um, They kept telling me, I was like, She's having what I think are kidney stones and they run in my family and they were like, She's too young to have kidney stones.

And I was like, They run in my family. This is like. Very much like what happens to her dad and like what used to happen to my mom. And I was like, Please do like the contrast scan. And they were like, She's too young. We're not gonna do it. They're just like putting her on morphine. I'm like, No, do the scan.

So I fought with them for four hours. They finally did the scan and they had to rush us to the emergency surgery at the children's hospital because her kidney was so impacted and swelling up and she could have died. Ugh. All because they kept telling me she's too young to have this issue. Fight

[00:38:01] Jess: ladies.

Follow your mama gut. Yeah. If your mama gut is saying something is wrong, listen to your gut push. Even if they have more education, I. I know Randi's like, they all suck. I hate all the doctors. I hate all the therapists. They all suck. Okay. No,

[00:38:16] Randi: they're all, There's good ones out there. There

[00:38:18] Jess: are good ones out there

[00:38:19] Randi: too.

That's why it was my mission to be a good one

[00:38:22] Jess: right there. There are good ones out there too. And just push, because sometimes you'll find them. You'll find them, and you really have to really advocate for your child. I mean, I

[00:38:33] Randi: had. Well, and you will find that needle in the haystack. I mean, I just, Yeah, I did too for myself when I was trying to advocate why I was so tired and having issues all the time, and it turned out I had P C O S, well, I probably went to like 15 different doctors and then one finally did the right test and said You have P C O S and named it for me and got me on the right medication, you know?

But it wasn't until then, and I felt so tired and exhausted, like at that point. But I knew. Something was going on.

[00:39:00] Jess: Yeah. And mama guts, I'm, you know, you Yeah. A hundred percent your child. And so with my daughter, you know, I kept saying, There's something wrong. Something wrong. Right. We had a doctor miss her tongue tie.

Mm-hmm. . Right. So she ended up having to get that sniped it too. Yeah. We had a doctor, we had an eye doctor miss her astigmatism. Mm-hmm. , she. The entire kinder year of learning to read because she had such a bad astigmatism. Yeah. That was never caught. And I went to an eye doctor and So you think like didn't I?

Pushing and pushing and pushing and I had a psychologist. Mm-hmm. tell me she was an adhd. And so I pushed and pushed and I'm not pushing to find an answer. Not like

[00:39:43] Randi: doctor hop thing. Yeah. Or not, but like you're, there's

[00:39:46] Jess: something, Something was still off. Right. And so this little girl has done speech therapy because of a doctor missing something easy.

Mm-hmm. , she's done eye therapy because of a doctor missing something that was easy. Mm-hmm. , she's had to do extra tutoring because a doctor missed something that was easy. Mm-hmm. , you know, and.

[00:40:06] Randi: And because we just don't do whole healthcare either we're treating a symptom that you come in for. Yeah. Instead of, And when you're saying like these other things are happening, they're like, they're trying to just look at this one thing and not assess you like as a whole.


[00:40:20] Jess: I really sit there and go, If I wasn't a therapist, Right. If I wasn't her mama. Mm-hmm. . She wouldn't have gotten the

[00:40:26] Randi: help. Oh no. Like if I hadn't learned how to advocate for other people. And even like, well, in my master's program, we learned to advocate like on a political level too, for change. Like I probably would not be like as aggressive as I am now.

Like as a parent, what my kids need and like. There are so many laws and things out there that can like help you, but I mean, most people aren't aware of them. It's a lot of work to find that stuff and get resources.

[00:40:54] Jess: I think it goes back to our society says because somebody has a MD or a CD or whatever, they have even an L mft, right?

Yeah. They have this degree that we have to take what they say. Perfect.

[00:41:09] Randi: No, no exact. And that's why it is important for us to have this podcast too. Like we're real people. Mm-hmm. like we fail, you know? And I'm not, I'm saying like that, like doctors can fail you too. And you need to understand like they might be having a bad day.

Like that might be a one off for them. You don't know, you know? I mean, you can still file a complaint, like if you want, you know, and maybe it's something that's been going on for a long time, but it's like, or you can just talk to them and see like, but if you're getting that over and over again, move on to somebody that can help you.

[00:41:38] Jess: And for my daughter, her tongue tie was missed. It turns out her pediatrician had missed it. She came back after I got my reports and she says, Oh, wow. You are so right. Mm-hmm. , turns out she was going through breast cancer, right? Mm. Yes. And

[00:41:53] Randi: she probably was so overwhelmed, right? Yeah. Something little like also having like empathy for them, like as a person, but like not if they're like gaslighting you.

Right? So

[00:42:03] Jess: let's talk about what people say or how to respond to people who have gas. One of the favorite things I tell people is my feelings and reality are valid. Mm-hmm. . Right? I don't appreciate you telling me I'm being too sensitive. Yeah. Or that I'm not thinking

[00:42:18] Randi: clearly. Yeah. Same thing. Like if they're questioning like your mental health about this, be like this.

Has nothing to do with my anxiety or my depression. If you do or don't have it, or if they're imposing that you do like, this is what I'm here to talk about. Can we redirect to this symptom and this issue? If you're talking to like a doctor, for example, like that,

[00:42:40] Jess: don't tell me how I feel. Mm-hmm. , that's a big one.

Straight there. That's like, No, right. Don't tell me how I feel. This is how I feel.

[00:42:48] Randi: Yes. This is how I feel. Listen to me. This is valid. I'm allowed to explore this topic or whatever you're talking about and have this conversation with you. I'm allowed to speak. I'm allowed to communicate. Please do not tell me I'm being crazy.

Please do not tell me I am being dramatic. Again, that follows into, these are my feelings. This is

[00:43:08] Jess: valid. I know what I saw. Mm-hmm. , I know what I heard. I know what I did. Those are all big. I was present. I saw, I heard. I know. I am here. I'm here. I saw it. You can't tell me this.

[00:43:23] Randi: Right. And then I will not continue this conversation if you are going to continue.

Whatever it is, manipulating, minimizing, diminishing me or what I'm feeling or what I'm saying until, and that goes along with like a boundary. Like when you are ready to hear me and speak about this, we can continue this conversation.

[00:43:47] Jess: And stop moving the damn furniture around . Right. Pull it back. Stop moving the furniture

[00:43:53] Randi: and get rid of 'em.

If they're not ready to hear you, they won't hear you and they're still manipulating you.

[00:44:00] Jess: Gas lighting is abusive. I know. We laugh, We joke, but gas lighting is a form of abuse. Mm-hmm. , you are worthy, your feelings are valid. And I just, I wish everybody out there would get, They are worth. Because of who they are.

Mm-hmm. not because of what they've done or what they will do, they are worthy and they are of everything just for being them. Mm-hmm. .

[00:44:25] Randi: And think about that too. Like if you saw this relationship like in your own, you know, childhood and while growing up and that's like what you have to reference and you didn't like how it made you feel or you saw how it affected your parents or their partners.

And then you realize you're in the same situation. It's probably a big red flag there that some things need to change, but it's good if you're realizing it, that you're in that situation and that's what you've known and like, How can I move on from this? Cuz you're worth it. You

[00:44:58] Jess: are worth it. And speak up for yourself.

Speak up for your needs. Mm-hmm. , they are

[00:45:02] Randi: valid. Yeah. Speak up for your kids and for other women. Fight. Yeah. For those vulnerable populations, we have to stand up where others won't. Yeah. Thanks you guys for listening. All right.

[00:45:13] Jess: Catch you next time. Bye.

[00:45:14] Randi: 1, 2, 3, 4. Thanks for listening and normalizing mental health with us.

[00:45:20] Jess: Don't forget to check out our free resources and favorites on our website, unapologetically, Randi and,

[00:45:26] Randi: like and share this episode, and tune in next week.

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Gaslighting S1 Episode 13

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