Gaslighting is the term for manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity. It’s awful and totally disorienting to experience, and it’s hard to feel sane again when it’s over. However, there are ways to recover so that you can move on to a healthier state of mind.
Cut all communication with the gaslighter permanently. Block their number and all of their social media accounts. Don’t continue the communication after you two have finally ended things. The best way to heal is to go totally cold turkey so that you can restore your life back to its normal state. If they try to reach out in some way, it may be tempting to oblige, but do your best not to give in.
Don’t creep on their social media. Chances are you two were really entangled if you were the victim of gaslighting. Despite the harm this person caused you, feelings can remain in your heart. Don’t let these feelings give you wandering fingers. It’s so easy to creep on someone—it just takes a few clicks—but the consequences on your emotional state can be devastating.
Get quiet. Meditation offers so many benefits. You can do it formally or just get quiet with yourself, maybe by doing an activity like painting. This helps restore you back to a level of feeling sane and comfortable in your body and mind. It also helps you battle the inevitable anxiety that you’re having. It’s healing in many ways.
Rebuild trust with yourself. It’s really easy to beat yourself up after being gaslighted, thinking that you should have known better, but this is crap. There’s nothing you could have done differently and the past is the past. Now it’s important to take the time to rebuild trust with yourself because there’s a good chance you’ll feel unsettled. Do this by spending time with yourself, being kind, and building on your strengths.
Keep a record. This may seem like it’s silly or unnecessary but remember how easy it was for the gaslighter to get inside of your head. Having a record of the ways that they’ve wronged you or messed with your head is a way to have something solid to hold onto. It’s tangible—if they reach out and you feel compelled to respond, you can take a peek at all of the messed up things they did. It may squelch the urge.
Don’t try to figure things out. Being gaslighted is a damn complex situation. There are so many factors and so much to it but there’s no logical explanation for what happened to you. It’s understandable as a curious human to want to figure it all out, but do your best to refrain from this. It will only hold you back from healing. Instead, keep your mind in the present moment as much as possible.
Have friends remind you of the truth. If nothing else is working, give a friend a call. Have them remind you how scared, miserable, and vulnerable you were just recently. Maybe you’ve forgotten but your friends certainly remember. They’ll have no trouble reminding you and also telling you how loved you are.
Use healthy coping mechanisms. When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to reach for harmful coping mechanisms like drinking or self-harm. Instead of this, try reaching for healthier alternatives. Maybe for you, this looks like going for a run or taking a nap. No matter what it is, do something that makes you feel whole after you’re done. You have enough already making you feel broken.
See a professional. There’s no shame in getting a little bit of extra help. A therapist can help you make sense of things on your end and to develop healthy coping mechanisms. They can also help you with negative self-talk. In other words, a professional can have a serious hand in helping you heal from all that you went through.
Forgive yourself. Perhaps most importantly, you need to forgive yourself. It’s so easy to self-blame when you’ve been wronged in such a horrible way. It’s easy to feel like there are things you should have done better or that you should have known. This is all crap, though. What you need is to let all of those ideas go and know that you’re always doing the best that you can.
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