Gaslighting: Understanding, Recovery, and Therapy

Written By: Elizabeth Abbruzza MA, LMHC, CCPS-C

Understanding Gaslighting


Gaslighting is a prevalent issue that is often misunderstood. In this post, we will explore the concept of gaslighting, its impact on mental health, and how therapy can facilitate healing and recovery. 

According to our colleague and gaslighting expert Sarah Morales, gaslighting is when one person (or a group of people), through covert behaviors, convince another person that what they perceive, believe, think, or feel is inaccurate or invalid. Gaslighting takes its name from the 1944 movie ‘Gaslight,’ where a husband manipulates his wife’s environment and sense of reality to convince her that she’s losing her sanity. 

Gaslighting may manifest in several ways:

  • Denying or undermining the value of your experiences
  • Downplaying your emotions or responses to situations
  • Shifting blame for their actions onto you
  • Distorting facts or manipulating your perception of reality
  • Projecting their negative traits onto you

The Impact of Gaslighting 

Gaslighting can have profound and enduring effects on mental and emotional well-being, including:

  • Self-doubt: Questioning and criticizing yourself
  • Difficulting making decisions
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety 
  • The constant worry that you are, too.. (needy, demanding, sensitive..)
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Disconnection from your feelings
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Self-blame or apologizing for everything 

How Therapy Can Help

Therapy is a safe and nurturing environment for healing from the effects of gaslighting. Here is how therapy can make a difference:

  • Validation: Therapists can offer validation and affirmation, restoring confidence in your feelings and experiences.
  • Self-Awareness: Recognizing manipulation patterns from gaslighting, gain awareness, and break free from them.
  • Rebuild self-esteem: In therapy, you work to rebuild your self-worth and self-esteem impacted by your gaslighting experience. Your strengths and value are emphasized.
  • Coping strategies: You learn tools and strategies to cope with emotional distress post-gaslighting. 
  • Reconnecting with reality: In therapy, you will regain your authentic self and clear sense of reality. 

Gaslighting is a harmful form of manipulation, but recovery is possible. Seeking therapy is a courageous step toward healing and self-discovery. You are not alone, and support is available. If you’ve experienced gaslighting and are ready for therapy to facilitate your journey to healing and self-reclamation, reach out today! Your well-being and peace of mind are invaluable. 

For additional support and resources about gaslighting, please check out Sarah Morales Coaching at


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