Support Group

Thank you for stopping by.  Due to registration issues in WordPress and HostGator, we have moved the commenting to a CLOSED Facebook support group.  To join be sure to answer the questions (why you want membership and you agree to the Group Guidelines [the pinned post]).  To keep the group safe, we do not approve anyone who does not answer the questions OR who JUST joined Facebook. If you don’t want to do FB because you’re NC and FB is a trigger, email me your real name and FB profile and then the NEW FB profile so I can approve it. For more about the group, continue reading.  To go to the group: http://www.Facebook.com/groups/GettingPastYourBreakup

Because Psychology Today proved themselves to be made of a group of cowards,  I am republishing all my Psych Today articles on here!!!  Continue reading

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Social Media Detox

I “left” Facebook several months ago. I still have a page and the GPYB support group, but I rarely post.  When I access FB, I click on the FB Support group immediately when I go on and that’s about it. I don’t post much and I don’t read most other people’s posts.  I think it’s insane the amount of time people spend on there. I think it should be called NoLifeBook.

I know I’ve harped on this before but I have seen social media turn my clients into knots. They can’t seem to use it without witnessing something about the ex or a friend of the ex or a relative of the ex. I’ve seen the havoc it plays with those trying to get over a relationship.
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Replaced by the Ex in a Very Public Way?

Time to #GetOverIt!

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2017 All Right Reserved

This may not be copied or duplicated without the express permission of the author

One of the most common questions I receive every single month since I started writing my blog in 2008 is, “My ex has moved on so fast, what do I do?” Since the advent of social media, it has gotten so much worse.  It seems the “replacing” behavior is now very public. Now it has become, “My ex has replaced me in a very public (social media) way.  What do I do?” 

In the Getting Past Your Breakup book I ask, “Does it hurt when you do?” and if the answer is “Yes.” Then the response is “Don’t do that.”

The other thing I hear, a lot, is “It’s not about (Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, whatever the hell, the ex, the ex’s new partner)…” and when I hear that, I usually say, “Chances are, yes it is.  That is exactly what it is about.”  If you’re being slammed by your ex’s social media posts, it’s time to detox from social media until such a time when you can handle it. It’s time to block the ex and (temporarily) any mutual friends.  If you can’t do that, it’s time to get off social media altogether.

When you are obsessed with what the ex is doing, most of your sentences begin with, “How could he…” “Why is she…”  “When will they…”  It almost never starts with, “Why am I doing what I am doing?”  The focus is almost totally on the ex and the new partner.  Listen to your questions.  Who is the main focus?  If it’s the ex and the ex’s new partner, your focus is in the wrong place.

You become obsessed, fixated and “other oriented.”  You forget your life to focus on two people who couldn’t care less if you fell off the Earth tomorrow.  In fact, one or both might applaud if you did.  Life is short.  They’re busy living their lives and you’re busy watching them live their lives instead of focusing on you and your life and putting it back together after a traumatic breakup.

You have to take responsibility for the fact that you have put the very thoughts you are being plagued with inside your own head.  Does it hurt when you do that?  #DontDoThat.

You need to make the decision to stop.  You need to exercise your self-restraint when you have visions of your ex and the new partner inside your head.  You need to turn your attention to you and stop wallowing in thoughts of them.

They are focusing on getting on with their lives and building a life together and what are YOU doing?  Watching it build brick by miserable brick.  This isn’t good, isn’t healthy and doesn’t help you do what you need to do. Move on. 

You may wonder if it’s a rebound or if your ex is really in love.  It doesn’t matter which it is.  It’s really none of your business.  It doesn’t change who you are and where you are today. 

The feeling of being replaced is like all the other emotions of grief after a breakup.  It’s hard and it hurts.  But everyone is replaced, usually, at some point.  It’s not a good idea to watch your replacement stroll off into the sunset with your old love.  But, there is no good reason to pay admission for the fairy tale.  Go see something or someone else. 

People wonder, “Does my ex miss me?”  What if I told you, no he or she does not.  You don’t like that answer?  Why?  So what if he or she is missing you? 

What good would it do if he or she was missing you?  None at all.  He or she is not acting on it.  He or she is content to let the feeling pass.  He or she isn’t coming back.  It doesn’t matter if he or she is sitting at home pining for you or frolicking on a Caribbean beach with his new sweetheart.  It doesn’t matter. 

Missing you is worth nothing.  The 2-billion-dollar question is: Why don’t you miss you? Where is your life?  Where has it gone?  If you don’t miss you and your life why would someone else?  Forget anyone else missing you…You need to start missing you and what used to be or could be your life.  You’ve become terribly uninteresting.  No one wants that in a mate.  You have to get interested in being interesting.  Focusing on your ex makes you pathetically uninteresting.  Do you like being pathetically uninteresting?  If not, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Stop torturing yourself with the life you think they are building because you don’t know if the pretty photos on Instagram and the updates on their Facebook timelines are real or not.  The only thing you know — really know — is that looking at it, fantasy or not, is making you nuts.  And what else is making you nuts is comparing everyone else’s outsides with your insides.  It’s happy apples v. miserable oranges and the comparison doesn’t work.  

What we wish on most exes (a string of bad luck and misery) is NOT what people post about on Facebook, so, chances are,  you’re never going to see the bad days on social media.  They’re not taking photos of their arguments.  They’re not taking photos of breaking down on the side of the road and blaming each other.  There are photos of laughing, smiling faces on a boat on a gorgeous day.  You die inside because you’re not happy and smiling.  Are you posting photos of your depression?  No.  Not you or anyone else, including the ex.  I’m sure that the ex’s new thing has had days and days of life spent crying into their ice cream or getting sloppy drunk or getting really crazy over a number of things for no reason…Everyone has that…no one puts it on Facebook.

People don’t put their fights, disagreements, pet peeves and the day I threw the iced tea at him and stomped out, on social media.  They don’t post their doubts, their pressure, their issues with their partner and the dramatic details of their recent falling out. They show you the sunny side of the street.

Repeat after me: I will stop comparing my insides to others’ outsides.

Are you ever going to know what is really going on? No you’re not. And do you need to know what is going on? No, you don’t. Why?

Because it doesn’t matter.

Repeat after me: I am a full-time job and becoming and the staying happy, healthy and sane is my responsibility to myself.

You have a responsibility to yourself.  They don’t care about you and when you are engaging in this behavior you don’t care about you.  So that makes three people who don’t care about you.  But you have a responsibility to care and they do not.  And you have a responsibility to not care about them.  All the energy you put into them and what they are doing and when they are doing it and how they are doing it, is energy you could you be using to build your own new life.

What you are doing with this social media obsession is to abdicate your responsibility to yourself. And that’s not ok.

As it says in the GPYB book, do your grief work, do your relationship inventory, do your affirmations and put the focus on you.  Stop caring about whether or not you’ve been replaced and how could he?  Forget about whether or not they’re really in love.

No matter what thoughts are circling around your head, doing your grief work, putting the focus on you and eventually getting to the Relationship Inventory will free you from the prison you have constructed for yourself. Go to Getting Back Out There (it is NOT a dating book!) and go to the Standards and Compatibility Inventory…start LOOKING at what you NEED in a future partner…work at this…put your heart and soul into this…THIS is where your attention should be.  Get Getting Back Out There—get the book NOW and start working on your future YOU. (To know how to work the books TOGETHER go HERE )

Stay off social media.  It’s hard but as one who has done the social media detox, I can tell you it is very freeing.  The more you stay away, the less you care. 

You don’t have to be happy for your ex.  You don’t have to be anything for your ex.  Let him or her worry about him or her.  No one says you have to hate them or feel anger.  But you do need to stop focusing over there.  You need your attention and you’re not getting it.

#FocusOnU

The ex moving on so fast might seem cruel but it’s not being done to hurt you.  It’s just being done.  Stop taking it so personally.  Some people cannot stand being alone.  Give yourself credit that you are learning how to be alone and how to create a happy, healthy life on your own.  Because that is what healthy people are attracted to…not dependency and heartache.  Acting like the victim of the year is not going to get you another great relationship.  It’s going to get you more of the same.  And you don’t want that.

Starting today, you have to take the focus less on them and more on you.  You have to stop worrying about answers to questions you’re never going to get.  You have to stay off social media and stop talking to mutual friends about the ex.  You need to go your own way and make your own path.

You will be much happier and healthier than they are in the end.  You will find a good and true relationship if you do your work and concentrate on you and your future.  To be obsessed with them is to be unfocused and dysfunctional and to continue to hurt long after you need to.

Some of our Facebook group members ONLY come onto Facebook to be a part of our group. They ignore the (false) hap hap happy photos of others and avoid Instagram and Twitter and every other social media site…and you can too!!!

Start being good to you.  Start by putting the focus back on you.

#UCanDoThis

 



Copyright 2017 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
I Teach What I Know. I Have The Degrees, but I Have The EXPERIENCE and I don’t ask anyone to do anything I have not done.”

All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author

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Order Getting Past Your Breakup and Getting Back Out There HERE

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*When The Person You Love Doesn’t Love You VIDEO

*When The Person You Love Doesn’t Love You POST

My YouTube video Part One of “My Story” from abuse victim to finding the most loving husband in the world  HERE

GPYB Pinterest Board is HERE

If a post has a tag PT Article it means that it was once on Psychology Today and I am recreating and re-publishing for the blog…it takes a while. I recognize, by the amount of email I received and the traffic and comments my articles had, that my articles were VERY POPULAR. But I had over 100 articles on Psychology Today that helped everyone. I’m trying to recreate them as fast as I can. They’re ALL coming – eventually….but I did my outline for the articles on my local machine, uploaded to PT and edited them there so I have to recreate the process…it takes a while..but I’m writing as fast as I can!!! Read about the HORRIBLE PT breakup HERE

*Included here because it’s the most popular GPYB post/video over the history of the blog/book etc.

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Switching gears….or not

The Space You Need Is The Space To Learn What You Need

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2017 – All Rights Reserved.


When I was convinced that my cheating husband had used a snowstorm to stay 45 miles away at his girlfriend’s house, I was on the phone with him.  I had made dinner, a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, even though it was only Wednesday.  I was wearing a skirt and a silk blouse – yes I managed to make that dinner and get all the boys 8, 5 and 4 into their baths and into dress pants and shirts all by 6:00 when their father was supposed to be home. The house was sparkling clean.

Not just neat and put away but I had cleaned glass and brass and waxed furniture of the formal living room where we wouldn’t even be in that night…but we would be in the formal dining room, also primped and cleaned and our best china shining brightly on the table, which looked INTO the formal living room…so on the off chance he glanced into the other room which was ALWAYS clean, I cleaned it AGAIN anyway….polishing the brass…washing the enormous mirror over the fireplace.  We had 10 foot high beamed ceilings and the mirror went from the mantle on the fireplace to the ceiling…and all 5 feet 1 of me climbed up on the HIGHEST ladder to clean the tippity top of the mirror on the off chance he sat somewhere in the dining room where he could see the top of the mirror which might have an errant piece of dust even though I washed the damned mirror every damn Saturday even though he accused me of not doing much of anything. Yes, the brass polished itself…the kids took themselves to the park…the house was immaculately clean because elves came over whilst I ate bon bons on the couch and watched soap operas….

But anyway…here I was on the millionth time of spritzing Windex all over the mirror that was SQUEAKY CLEAN to begin with …just in case….just in case…just in case…if I fell backwards from the top step of the ladder trying to get the top of a mirror that ended at a 10 foot ceiling…clean…I would surely die on the parquet floors that were sparkly clean – and that would be my fault…for getting my blood all over those nice, clean floors…just like the night I was in labor and he came in from his girlfriend’s … that was girlfriend number 1 – four years prior – and my blood splotches were all over the kitchen tiles only because after 7 hours of bleeding and in labor trying to calm a 16 month old and a 5 year old who were sure to watch their mother die in childbirth…I was TIRED of cleaning up the blood that went everywhere I walked…and he said, and I quote WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???

Oh yes…silly me…I had bled all over the kitchen floors while in labor when my husband was coo-cooing with his girlfriend after a long Thanksgiving weekend away from her…poor him…he had to be accosted by my blood all over the damn floor…poor poor him..

….but anyway…here we were 4 years and 2 girlfriends later…and I was convinced that should I topple and splat all over the floor…it would – again – be – poor poor him.

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Breakups and Our Unresolved Losses

It’s important to recognize and honor all our losses and heal through grief.

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. Copyright @2008-2017

When I was younger, I would break up with someone and be okay for the first day. Then suddenly, I would completely fall apart. I would mistake this falling apart for wanting to still be with this person. I would mistake this feeling for having made a mistake in the breakup.

I would feel overwhelmed and crushed by the onslaught of feelings; I would try to put the relationship back together to avoid the avalanche of turmoil. There were so many times in my life when I would plead with my ex to put the relationship back together. The exact same relationship that I knew didn’t work and didn’t want any part of a few days earlier. 

It didn’t matter if this person was a complete jerk and I needed to get rid of him, I would feel myself falling apart and wanting to go back. Even when I knew it wasn’t good for me, I needed everything to go back to the way it was before I felt this crushing sense of loss and emotional pain. Continue reading

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Getting Honest with Yourself 101

The Way to a Healthy Life is Suppressing the Almighty Self

Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

I once wrote a post here called Being Your Own Therapist and it puts forth the proposition that you need others to check you at the door before you do stupid things like contact your ex looking for answers/closure, but you also need to know how to stop yourself.

As I said in that post, I am a fervent believer in support systems made up of friends, support groups, 12 step programs, individual therapy, group therapy, conferences, retreats, seminars and on and on and on.
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Was Your Relationship Good for You?

10 Questions to Answer Before You Begin Again

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2006-2017 All Rights Reserved

Before you even think about dating or moving onto another relationship, you have to take inventory about your last relationship and figure out what worked, what didn’t and what you need to change in the future.  Ten questions to ask to figure out if your relationship was good for you and what you need to do to change it:

  1. Safety: Were you physically, mentally, emotionally or verbally harmed? Were there times you were afraid of what your partner would do or say? Were there times you just dreaded seeing this person?
  2. Continue reading

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The Pathological Narcissist

A person void of empathy, love or enjoyment is not someone to love

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2008-2018


Kernberg and Kohut are known as the “fathers” of narcissism.  As I am hard at work on my new book based on this post, I have been re-reading Dr. Kernberg and Dr. Kohut. Many of my clients have been involved with pathological narcissists and it is difficult to treat them until they understand, truly understand, what pathological narcissism is. The bottom line is that a narcissist is completely incapable of love and void of empathy. This person will never ever ever love you. Any overtures they have made that appear to be love have simply been to get you to admire them.  Yet, because they suffer from feelings of inadequacy, they actually disdain those who admire them. There is NO winning with the narcissist. 

Continue reading

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Divorcing and Co-parenting with the Sociopath

5 ways to protect yourself when divorcing a sociopath

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. Copyright 2008-2017


As I write about in my 3-part series on Co-Parenting with the Personality Disordered, going through a divorce and/or child custody/support/visitation with a personality disordered person is a nightmare. As an attorney who spent years as a psychiatric clinician, I have watched – in horror sometimes—how the legal system can thrust someone trying to escape a sociopath right back into the sociopath’s lap.

Divorce is hard enough without feeling re-victimized by the system you’re depending on to protect you from someone who has harmed you.  Living with a sociopath is traumatic and, too often, the parties present in court as equally sane, or the non-personality disordered spouse actually looks like the crazy person.

In graduate school I worked at a long-term alcohol and drug treatment facility. Many times the families would come for a visit and the partner of the alcoholic/drug addict would look aged and haggard compared to the addict. They also seemed much more unhinged than the addict/alcoholic. As often is the case, living with someone who is mentally ill or has an addiction takes a toll –many times much worse than being an active addict or having an untreated mental illness.

But what is a sociopath?  Too often pop culture latches onto a label and indiscriminately tosses it around. Currently, this is the case where sociopaths and narcissists are concerned. My article on the Pathological Narcissist is HERE and attempts to explain the difference between normal narcissism (that everyone has) and narcissism that is pathological.  So, too, is the case with a sociopath. Sometimes we all fail at empathy or personal insight, but it’s not chronic as it is with sociopaths. So be careful in using this label.

It’s a very damming and somewhat unusual for someone to have a DSM Axis 2 Cluster B diagnosis (Cluster B is called the dramatic, emotional, and erratic cluster.) Personality disorders are not very treatable and people who are antisocial personality disordered or narcissistic personality disordered typically don’t show up in the mental health milieu.
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Leaving the Abusive Relationship

Part 2 of 4: I had no self-esteem

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2017

When enormous grief hit me a week or so after I threw out my abusive husband, the only thing I wanted was to put the relationship back together and stop the onslaught of deep grief. I had no idea that the level of anguish had to do with all the unresolved losses of my life.

I crumpled in the chair of my new therapist’s office. I was sobbing and recounting how wrong I was to throw out a man who had assaulted me and terrorized my children and my dog. I was shaking and crying. She let me go on and on and on.  When I finished my hysterical spiel, she looked at me and said, calmly, “What’s wrong with your face?”

MY FACE???  WHAT?

I had horrific cystic acne. I had not had a professional haircut in years and my hair fell, stringy and unkempt, into my face. My eyes were sunken from nights of crying and not sleeping. I had lost weight rapidly since he left and my second-hand coat was a few sizes too big for me.

I wanted to put my marriage back together and she was worried about my face.  WHO CARED ABOUT MY FACE? Not. Me.

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Splitting: The Mental Habit That Keeps You from Getting over a Breakup

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2008-2017


Five things to know about splitting and how to stop it.

Splitting makes it much harder to get over a breakup, so it’s important to understand what it is. Here are 5 things you need to know to get on with the healing: 

1. What Is Splitting?

Splitting is mentally and emotionally separating the good traits and behaviors of your ex from the bad. It’s compartmentalizing your ex and concentrating on only one compartment. Splitting is very harmful to your recovery from this breakup. 

In one of my YouTube videos, I answer a post from someone waiting to reconcile with an ex who once came back after a breakup. She was so focused on the fact that he broke up with her once before and came back, she forgot that he also left again after announcing that coming back had been a mistake.

Another woman said her ex had mentioned reconciliation a few conversations ago. She was focused like a laser on that, while forgetting he was still gone, and that she had no idea what he had been thinking in the weeks since he said it. 

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Leaving The Abusive Relationship

Leaving the Abusive Relationship

Part 1 of 4: I Didn’t Know That I Didn’t Know


By Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2008-2017 All rights reserved


Abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, verbal and sexual. It can be but doesn’t have to be all 5. Just because someone isn’t hitting you doesn’t mean they are not abusive. Name calling is abusive, cheating is abusive. Feeling as if you’re walking on eggshells is abusive. Being put in no-win situations is abusive.

If you know someone in an abusive situation, it is imperative that you get them to understand all the things they might not know. I lost friends as a DV victim. I had people who truly cared but then were so put off when I went back.

What they didn’t know was what to tell me. These are all the things I needed to be told. Some are quite rudimentary and you would think a smart person like me would know them, but I didn’t. And chances are, if you are or know someone who is a DV victim, they don’t know them either.

I am a pretty smart person. Fairly high IQ, well-educated and born and raised in New York City. Street smart and book smart, yet I didn’t know that being a DV victim was not my fault or that it didn’t have to be that way. Not knowing is not stupidity. It’s just not knowing. Here are things to tell someone you love who might be in an abusive relationship. Abuse of any kind – physical, mental, verbal etc.

Continue reading

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Getting Out of the Abusive Relationship

Getting Out of the Abusive Relationship

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.   @susanjae

It IS possible to be happy, healthy and find a loving partner after abuse


NOTE:  This entry covers all kinds of abusive relationships but before reading this for yourself or someone else, the most important thing to know when leaving a physically abusive relationship is that the most lethal time for an abused person is when she is trying to leave the abuser (most physical violence victims are female in heterosexual relationships, therefore this article uses the feminine when speaking of DV physical abuse victims, but see some of the non-physical types of abuse below for equal opportunity blame). Have a plan and get back up!  When in a domestically abusive situation, use precaution and assume anyone has the propensity for deadly violence.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline has a safety leaving plan. CALL 1-800-799-SAFE for a safety plan and other help. They have a website, but be sure that your internet use is not being tracked by your partner before you go there. Delete your browser history.  Have a plan.  If your internet is not being tracked the website is http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-7233.

Domestic Violence and Abusive Relationships
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Personality Disordered Co-Parents and “The System” Part 1

Personality Disordered Co-Parents and “The System”, Part 1
Ways professionals can assist those who must co-parent with a sick person
by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Copyright 2006-2017

This is Part One of a Three Part Series
As an attorney, a self-help author, a breakup counselor and a former psychiatric clinician, I can clearly see, in my clients and readers, the frustration and despair that comes from trying to deal and co-parent with a personality disordered (PD) ex, most usually sociopath, psychopath or narcissist. The disorder can also include some borderline personalities, abusers and some “Axis I” diagnoses such as Bipolar when it is complicated even further with features such as psychosis.

In most instances, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder and is not representative of the behaviors indicated in this article.  For the record, in very rare instances, mood disorders can have complications such as psychotic features where the person is in an altered state. Sometimes their psychosis seriously curtails their ability to control their mood disorder and they can become manipulative or extremely self-centered and irrational. This article is not, in any way, talking about people with mood disorders such as depression, bipolar, etc.

This is those who are not just defined only by the DSM Axis II diagnosis.  Instead, for this article, they are defined as extremely unhealthy, toxic, self-centered, manipulative individuals whose life goal seems to revolve around making other people miserable. Their ruse is one of long-suffering victim and caring parent, when nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

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Is It Narcissism? Or Why Some People Can’t Love

8 Traits That Almost All Narcissists Have

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Every few years there seems to be a diagnosis that everyone is pinning on someone else.  The past few years it’s been narcissism. Since the main focus of my practice is, and almost always has been, relationship breakups, I hear about this a lot.

As someone who was a psychiatric clinician for years I am always hesitant to write about psychiatric disorders because I believe that diagnosis is a very difficult thing and even well-trained and well-qualified people can and do get it wrong.
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10 Ways To Tell If You’re Being Gaslighted

10 Ways to Tell if You’re Being Gaslighted

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Gaslighting is psychological abuse and does not belong in a relationship.

The term “gaslighting” comes from a film (photo to the left is from the second film) in which a husband attempts to convince his wife she is going insane. If you’ve never seen the film (there are two actually), it’s an excellent idea to see it. It not only explains gaslighting well but is a remarkable piece of film making and film making history.

Gaslighting is now recognized as psychological abuse whereby a perpetrator manipulates a victim into doubting his or her own sanity or reality.
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