Breaking Free: Understanding Gaslighting, Childhood Trauma, and the Power of Mindfulness

Understanding Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a psychological abuse tactic designed to manipulate you into questioning your sanity, make you feel guilty and demoralize you. Overtime, this manipulation and control tactic will erode your self esteem, leaving you feeling lost. They will devalue your thoughts, feelings and opinions, while you abandon yourself, in order to avoid confrontation and keep the peace. Experiencing high levels of stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which affects your ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. This can lead you to stay in unhealthy relationships for long periods without realizing it.

The Frustration of Circular Conversations

Having a conversation with someone that constantly goes around circles, leaving you feeling lost, confused and frustrated is never fun. When I went through this, there was no TikTok, Instagram, or podcasts to tell me what was going on. Years later, I learned that there was actually a term to describe this, which precisely aligns with what I went through and what others go through on a regular basis.

Childhood Influences and Subconscious Beliefs

The experiences we have in childhood shape how we perceive the world as adults because our subconscious mind holds onto beliefs we absorbed during those formative years. Given that around 95% of our lives operate on autopilot, these beliefs essentially dictate our actions and reactions. Many of us grew up with unmet needs or faced silencing and shaming when we expressed our true selves. As a result, we internalize beliefs such as “my needs and feelings don’t matter,” “I am unworthy of love,” “relationships aren’t safe,” and “I don’t deserve respect.” These experiences might lead us to believe that we must earn love through our actions. If this was your childhood experience, you will also be used to feeling emotions like fear, shame and guilt.

Trauma Bonds and Familiar Emotions

That’s why you’re naturally drawn to people who treat you this way. It’s your subconscious mind’s attempt to help you work through past traumas and grow. Moreover, our bodies develop a dependency on the familiar emotions we encountered during childhood. For instance, if fear, shame, and guilt were prevalent emotions for you, your body may crave these feelings as an adult. This explains why some individuals anticipate negative outcomes, feeling relief when their expectations are met, such as when “the other shoe drops.” Just as a drug addict yearns for familiar sensations, our bodies gravitate towards these emotions because they provide a sense of familiarity and identity.

Recognizing Triggers and Practicing Mindfulness

Our triggers are our teachers and can inform us. True self-awareness leads to wisdom and insight. This is gained through mindfulness practices. When you are upset about the reaction of your partner, who may have hurled insults at you earlier, and is shaming you for feeling bad, instead of getting frustrated, take a deep breath and ask yourself why you are frustrated. Get curious about what is happening at the moment. Ask yourself what you need. Perhaps you wished that your partner would understand you, respect you, and treat you better.

Embracing Self-Care and Personal Growth

When I started paying attention to my thoughts and feelings, I saw that I often ignored my own needs to keep others happy. This made me realize I needed to take better care of myself. So, I began focusing on my own well-being and personal growth. I learned that when I treat myself better, others tend to treat me better too, thanks to the law of attraction. I explored my subconscious and changed the beliefs I learned as a child. I trained myself to feel more confident and positive. Plus, I started setting boundaries and distancing myself from disrespectful situations.

Responding Thoughtfully and Regaining Control

It took me a while to learn how to stay calm and respond instead of reacting impulsively. But once I did, everything changed. He sensed my newfound strength and resilience. Even though he still treated me poorly, I didn’t let it affect me like before. I no longer sought his approval for peace; I found it within myself. While I couldn’t control his actions, I could control how I felt and reacted. By consistently choosing to respond thoughtfully, he realized he couldn’t control my emotions anymore. This took his power away and changed things for me, forever!

If you’d like to explore and reprogram your subconscious mind, book your session today!

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