Mental Health

Understanding Gaslighting: Are You Experiencing or Perpetrating It? by Lisa

Dear ‍Inquisitive Reader,

Recently, the term ‘gaslighting’ has been‍ making rounds. Could you explain what it is, how to identify if I’ve been a ‌victim, and how to counteract it?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where an⁣ individual ‌is​ made to question their own sanity. ‍This is achieved by the manipulator subtly altering the‌ victim’s perception of reality.

Identifying⁣ if you’ve been a victim of ⁤gaslighting can be challenging. It often occurs when you’ve placed someone ⁤in a position of⁣ power over you, such as a boss, a⁤ teacher, or a ‌partner in ⁢a co-dependent relationship. You may​ find yourself idolizing this ⁣person, placing their words and actions on a pedestal. This person⁤ becomes someone you fear‍ losing, which only amplifies the manipulation. Their insistence that their​ reality is the only reality can lead to confusion and self-doubt. If you find ⁣yourself constantly apologizing, questioning your worth, or feeling something is off but can’t pinpoint what, you might be a victim of gaslighting.

If you suspect you’re a ⁣victim of‌ gaslighting, here are​ some strategies to help‌ you navigate this situation:

1. Acknowledgement

Recognizing that ​you’re a victim ‍is the first ​step ​towards liberation. Understand that you’ve allowed yourself to⁤ be manipulated and ⁣decide⁢ to break free from this cycle.

2. Acceptance

It’s crucial to accept that the gaslighter will⁤ never take responsibility for ⁣their actions. They lack empathy and compassion, and will never validate your feelings or perspective. ‌Don’t waste your⁣ energy waiting for them to acknowledge⁤ their wrongdoings.

3. Assertiveness

When the gaslighter tries to alter your perception, remember that it’s ​about their insecurities, ‍not yours. Trust your reality and don’t let anyone change it. Being assertive doesn’t make you difficult, it makes‍ you resilient.

4. Detachment

Detaching from the gaslighter doesn’t necessarily mean leaving ‍them. Once you‌ understand what’s ‌happening, you can start ​to heal. You can manage your mind around it ⁣and still feel calm and ​happy once you truly understand this is not about ⁢you. If you struggle ​with this, consider seeking help from resources like​, which ⁤offers strategies to ⁤handle any situation effortlessly.

For more advice, you can ​reach out to our resident therapist, Jacqueline Hurst,⁣ at or on Twitter at @jhurstcoaching and Instagram‍ at jacqueline_hurst_.

Further Reading:

Recognizing and Surviving Emotional Abuse

Understanding Self-Harm and Its Impact

This Summer, Prioritize Your Mental Health Over Your Beach Body

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After Lockdown, It’s Okay to Have Absolutely No Desire to Date by Lisa

As we gradually transition from the lockdown phase, adjusting to the new normal, it’s undeniable that things ​have evolved. We are not the same people ‌we were before the pandemic, and it might ⁣take a while for us to fully adapt to the post-lockdown world. The concept of “normal”⁢ has become fluid, and our pre-pandemic ‍identities might not⁢ align with the realities of our post-pandemic world.

The ‍lockdown period has been a time of introspection for many, often unintentionally. When the world comes to a standstill and the liberties ⁤we once enjoyed vanish, we are‍ compelled to reassess our lives.⁣ Questions about our role in the world, the need for change,⁣ and our priorities become more prominent. One of the first aspects to be scrutinized during such times is our relationships. A recent study‌ by dating site eharmony, in ‍collaboration with relationship support provider Relate, revealed that half of all couples realized during lockdown ⁤that they wanted to spend their lives with their ⁣partners. This is a significant achievement, considering the challenges of being confined with your partner, dealing with their work calls, and navigating domestic disputes. However, for⁢ some couples, the lockdown has been a ‍catalyst⁣ for ending their relationship, with one in five couples planning to separate once the world reopens.

As these soon-to-be singles prepare to reenter‍ the dating scene, many single individuals are ‌eager to leave it. A fifth of men⁢ are keen to establish a‌ post-lockdown relationship as soon as possible. The pandemic’s fear ⁢and uncertainty have hit single⁣ people the‍ hardest, and social distancing measures⁢ have made it even⁢ more challenging to​ find a partner. ⁢The casual approach of “let’s see how it goes”‌ is becoming increasingly ⁤difficult to maintain.

However, not all singles are desperate to find a partner. Almost a ‌third of singles used the lockdown period to introspect and realized that they didn’t ‌need a partner to feel complete. According to eharmony’s relationships expert Rachael Lloyd, many men deciding to stay single and not constantly seeking‍ a partner can be beneficial for their mental health and the overall dating pool. “Before lockdown, we were in a casual dating world,” she says. “The‌ advent of free dating apps from 2012 onwards led to a culture of turbo dating,‌ where people felt pressured to be dating all the time.” However, the pandemic is likely to slow down this trend. “There’ll be a slower dating culture – less choice, less supply.⁤ It’s time to really think about the kind of person ⁣you’re‍ best suited to,” she⁤ adds.

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Steps to Alleviate News Anxiety Following a Day of Doomscrolling by Lisa

As individuals navigating through⁤ life, we often downplay significant issues while overthinking minor ones. The digital age has blurred the lines of emotional response, often leading us to compare our reactions to others. Questions like, “Am I overreacting?” or “Should I be more upset?” often plague our minds. The reality is, we are all just small entities in the grand scheme of life, and it’s okay to give ourselves a break. However, this can be challenging when we​ are constantly bombarded with news that seems to⁤ be straight out of a shocking history book.

Traditional media has always brought us face-to-face with distressing events, ‌but the ‌immediacy of digital broadcasting and social media​ commentary seems to amplify these events. This constant exposure can be emotionally draining, yet we⁢ find it hard to look away. From⁣ political scandals to war and social injustices, we are drawn to these stories. According to Shelley Treacher, a psychotherapist and member of the Counselling Directory, this‌ fascination may stem from a primal instinct to stay alert⁣ to potential threats. By staying informed, ​we⁢ feel proactive. We‌ often feel guilty for having personal reactions to global tragedies or for viewing events through our personal lens. ​However, it’s important to remember that these events do impact us.

Shelley Treacher explains, “Some of us are drawn to the pain because it mirrors ⁢our own. Doomscrolling can be a way to⁤ avoid confronting our personal⁢ suffering.” Our hidden traumas can be triggered by events that may not seem​ directly related. “Every trauma can trigger our own experiences or fears of difficulty, loss, trauma, abuse, ⁢or being overpowered. Recognizing and accepting ⁢your response is the first ⁣step towards healing.” It’s completely normal to relate global events ​to your personal feelings. After all, ⁢your ⁢life is a unique‍ journey experienced by you alone. It’s okay to prioritize ‍your well-being.

So, how can we manage this? Be mindful of⁣ your emotional state while ‌consuming news. Notice⁢ if your heart‍ rate increases or if your breathing quickens. Take a moment to⁤ calm⁤ your breathing. Ask ​yourself: why‌ am I looking at this, and what do ⁤I hope to gain? This ⁢can help ground you in reality. If you choose to consume news,​ set a schedule and limit your exposure. Avoid starting or ending your day with ‌news. “The key is to refocus on the details ‌of your ⁢real⁤ life, ‌rather than allowing the news to dominate your waking or resting moments,” advises Shelley Treacher.

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Has the pandemic increased our cynicism and decreased our empathy towards others? by Lisa

Have ‍you sensed the growing tension in ‍the atmosphere? ⁣The increased impatience in queues, the aggressive behaviour of commuters, the impatient ‍honking of drivers, and⁣ the abruptness of emails? It seems ⁤like the ⁣pandemic has triggered a wave of bad behaviour. From unruly ⁤passengers on flights to disrespectful notes on parked cars and ill-treatment of waiting staff, the signs are everywhere.​ Even as restrictions lift, the⁢ anticipated joy and camaraderie seem to be replaced by a general sense of irritation. So, what’s causing​ this widespread annoyance and how ⁤can we prevent it from affecting us?

During the pandemic, we quickly adapted​ to a‍ life of rules and restrictions to curb the spread of the⁤ virus. This adaptation, while necessary, may have led to compassion fatigue and a heightened sense of self-preservation due to⁣ isolation. A⁣ report by the University of Arizona College of‌ Medicine ‌suggests that anger ⁢and aggression are common outcomes ‍of thwarted individual ‍goals, according to ‍the frustration-aggression hypothesis. After being unable to live freely for ‍two years, it seems we’re now trying to⁣ make up for lost time. This behaviour is often rooted in fear, leading to feelings of helplessness, ⁢annoyance over trivial matters, and ⁣outward ‍hostility. The revelation of government officials flouting ⁤rules and partying has only added ⁤fuel to the ​fire.

The constant barrage of news, the inability to control ongoing⁤ catastrophes, and the blurring of real-life and ‌online interactions have made us more ⁤cynical​ and ⁤impatient. Technology has made it easier to‌ push boundaries, whether it’s cancelling meetings at the last minute or sending⁤ dismissive replies ⁣to well-thought-out emails. While‍ we may feel absolved by informing someone⁣ of our inability to attend​ a meeting ⁢just ten minutes⁢ prior, it’s likely to ⁢leave the other person‍ fuming.

Rudeness, it seems, is as contagious as the⁤ virus itself. If someone treats⁤ you poorly, you’re more likely ⁤to pass on the negativity. Each interaction ⁢we have‍ is ‌influenced by the behaviour of the person we interacted with previously, creating a vicious cycle ‍of rudeness,⁤ aggression, and⁢ entitlement. So, how do we navigate ​this? The ⁢key ‌is ​to‌ remain calm, positive, and professional.‌ Imagine someone you respect ​is observing you and act ‌accordingly. If someone takes your‌ parking space, let it go.‍ Reacting negatively only provides ⁤temporary ‌relief and can‍ lead to ⁣regret or escalation. Responding‍ politely to rudeness can defuse ⁢the situation and‌ make the⁤ other person realise their behaviour is unjustified. Practise self-control and avoid retaliation. Accepting responsibility for your actions rather than blaming others is the ⁢quickest way to resolution. Stand up ​against bad behaviour, but aim to be a calming influence rather than adding to the⁤ drama.⁣ Engage in physical exercise, try journaling, or play a video game to release pent-up frustration.

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