By Refuge Intern, Julie Burge

Relationships are complex.  Good and healthy relationships are one of the great gifts of this life.  Bad and unhealthy relationships usually suck the energy, joy and life right out of you!  A huge indicator of an unhealthy relationship is the presence of “mind games”.  One particular mind game that is garnering attention right now is “gaslighting”.  The term “gaslighting” describes a narcisstic mind game in which the manipulator slightly changes circumstances and conversations while telling the victim that they are remembering incorrectly or that nothing has changed.  Over time, the actual situation is altered greatly from reality, but because the changes occurred gradually, the victim ends up questioning her grasp on reality instead of challenging the manipulator.   During this relational exchange, the manipulator’s “whole intention of gaslighting is to decrease the other’s self-esteem and self-confidence so they are unable to function in an independent manner. The person being gaslighted will eventually become so insecure that they will fail to trust their own judgment, their intuition and find themselves unable to make decisions”.

Unfortunately, this occurs all too often in relationships today.  It can happen with family and friends or even with co-workers or neighbors.   Warning signs that indicate you are experiencing “gaslighting” include apologizing when you didn’t do anything wrong, confusion and inability to make decisions.  For more information regarding “gaslighting”, go to and search for gaslighting.

If you are in a place of needing to examine the health of your relationships, the counselors at The Refuge Center for Counseling would love to walk beside you in your journey. For more information, please visit us at or call us at 615.591.5262

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