Gaslighting: What Does This Look Like?

Now your just somebody that I used to know.

Gotye (A song about a narcissistic partner)

Many times in my office I hear this from women “My boyfriend/husband is/was gaslighting me.” I will respond by saying “So, he was trying to make you believe something that didn’t really happen?” Often times they will say “Well, no.” Sometimes they have looked this up and are very clear what it means. The term Gaslighting originated from the 1944 film “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In this film, the husband (who would actually be diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder) is trying to make his wife believe she is going insane. For purposes of the title, he “goes out” for the day/evening, though he is actually going into the attic and he dims the light switches in his wife’s bedroom, so that only she sees this and not the housekeepers. He also moves pictures on the wall, hides a watch that he gives to his wife, many, many other things. This is Gaslighting. Making someone believe something happened that did not. It could be the statement of a pathological liar, in which case this is a reality they believe, or it could be like Charles Boyer’s character where he is purposely setting up the stage to torment his victim.

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On Trial With a Narcissist: No One Wins

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:7-9

If Amber Heard imagined or expected that the #METOO movement would be there to back her, or feminists, or women in general, she was sadly mistaken in this tragic turn of events. Unfortunately, the narcissist always wins, or, at least, he is empowered to continue being who he is. Her path to redemption now, will only take place if she seeks solace through healing: with psychotherapy, meditation, supportive friends and taking time to herself.

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Corridor of Mirrors: Portrait of a Covert Narcissist

Last night, I watched a 1948 British classic, “Corridor of Mirrors.” I started by looking on Kanopy, at various films and kept seeing “psychological” thriller or mental health issues and I said to myself “not in the mood for psychology tonight.” Then I see this film and it says it is about a man who thinks this woman is his reincarnated lover from 400 years ago. Sounded intriguing to me and I set about to watch it. The sound was horrible and I had to re-start it three times and finally, put on closed captioning so I knew what they were saying. I was a little confused with the storyline in the beginning too, but kept at it. Then, we get to the character Veronica, who “is allowed” to live in the basement of the mansion. It is where the main male lead, Paul, lives in. Veronica spells out his personality, almost like she is giving the description of a covert narcissist. I thought to myself, “Oh, well now, I have to sit up straight and pay more attention to this storyline.” I just can’t get away from my specialization at the office. And, I knew this was going to be a film I would be talking up to my clients. And, it is an amazing film. It is different from Gaslight, which is focused on the title. This film, bares a lot more explanation to the average person. So, here we go.

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Patterns in the Narcissists Behaviors

Personally and professionally, I have dealt with narcissistic men in relationships, as family members, as clients, and in business. I like to study patterns that I see that continue to appear over and over again, as a psychotherapist and began to reflect on this when it came to the narcissist specifically; for this post. This is not research, just an observation that I have seen, heard, learned of. I do not work with the narcissist (except when they are part of one of my couples), so I often hear it from the partner. If I am working with a couple, I am able to listen to them when I do a family history and glean more from them with the questions I ask. You have read many articles on line, most likely, about the narcissistic relationship to the wife/girlfriend. This article is going in a different direction.

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Two Therapists at the Movies: Gaslight

Talking about the 1944 movie Gaslight and its relation to Narcissism.

Elizabeth Miller, LISW, LLC https://elizabethmcounseling.com/

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com

Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years of working with the population we discuss. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful in your recovery process.

An Impossible Love: Un Amour Impossible

I will not put this movie (French 2018), in “The Arts” section because it is a psychological drama that hits on the topic of sexual abuse, narcissism and women being left alone for several generations; much like Antonia’s Line (Netherlands, 1995). The film starts out in the 1950’s post WWII France. If you are a great film lover, as I am, you will know when you see the cover and the title, it just hits you – I must watch this film. What really piqued my interest was the title “An Impossible Love,” which hit home for me. I saw other things in the description that I ignored at first until it came up on the screen. I love the way Catherine Corsini handles abuse of a child in this film. Extremely subtle. The topic does not even come up until much later in the film. The child’s older lover tells the mother, not to let her daughter visit the father anymore. The shock on the mother’s face, to realize a man she has loved for 16 years, but who has rejected her all the same, is now sexually abusing their daughter. The shock to finally take in the missing pieces of this puzzle “Rachel” has created, her fantasy that he was a great lover, that they had something special together, suddenly unravels before her eyes. Virginie Efira (with the help of the cameraman), gives a somatic demonstration of soul searching, confusion, awareness and reality in just a few seconds of this film.

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Two Therapists Discuss Intimate Relationships with a Narcissist

Episode Two: Intimate Relationships with a Narcissist

Elizabeth Miller, LISW, LLC

https://elizabethmcounseling.com/

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC

https://jkvegh.com

Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years of working with the population we discuss. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful in your recovery process.

Two Therapists Discuss Narcissism

Episode One: Introduction to Narcissism
Elizabeth Miller, LISW, LLC
https://elizabethmcounseling.com/
Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC
https://jkvegh.com
Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy
https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years of working with the population we discuss. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful in your recovery process.

Surviving the Narcissist

My premier course is now available at Udemy.com and I hope you will take the time to sign up and take the class! I think you will find it will enrich your life by learning more about what the Narcissist is, how it has effected your life and much more. Thank you!

The Loss of Self with the Narcissist

How does one lose their sense of self? This is a loaded question. With a child, it begins when you are more focused on your parent than yourself. You realize that their needs are more important than your own. You make decisions that they will like rather than what you want. You compromise your likes and wants and needs to make sure they are happy. It can come from not having boundaries growing up so that there is no space that is your own. One example is not allowing doors to be locked, even in the bathroom. Therefore, when a child is going through puberty any moment a person can walk through the door. This is frightening to hear but yet this has become a life they are accustomed to. You don’t know any different.  Another example is a child who does not even have a room to sleep in and so there is no place to go and read or talk to your friends on the phone. Losing your sense of self can make a person feel like a robot; they are just there doing what they are told. As one person stated, it made them feel invisible from those around them.

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