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How to Tell if You Have ADHD

How to Tell if You Have ADHD

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Adult ADHD: A Blessing and a Burden

Have you ever wondered if you have ADD? Want to take an “Adult ADHD Test?” How about listen to a podcast about ADHD?

Okay here’s the first question: Does the fact that I just mentioned this is going to be a podcast about ADHD rather than a written article make you feel relieved? (Because you can run / clean / drive / keep futzing around with whatever you want to instead of having to sit still for a REALLY LONG TIME (like 8 minutes) and laboriously read through an article and take a quiz?)

Ding ding!

Little things like this are only one of the things we therapists and life coaches keep an eye out for when we’re trying to assess whether someone has Adult ADHD. Yes, there are the official DSM Criteria — but what does it actually look like in practice? How do you know if you may have Adult ADHD, or whether you just need to get more organized?

The truth is that you can struggle with ADHD your whole life and not even know that you have it.

You’d be amazed at how many people show up for Life Coaching (or particularly Career Coaching) frustrated out of their gourds by their inability to achieve at the level they know they are capable of — in their work, their relationships, or in their daily life. Life coaching is successful when we identify the obstacles that have been holding you back, and then make a plan to do something different — and get better results in the process.

Some people are shocked to discover that their “obstacle” getting in their way is actually a diagnosis: Adult ADHD.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder is more common in adults than you might think. A Harvard study found that nearly 5% of the population meets criteria for the disorder to the point that it’s causing significant impairment. There are many more people who are “subclinical” — meaning that they have significant symptoms of ADHD but not to a degree that a formal diagnosis is warranted.

ADHD Brings Strengths… and Struggles

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have ADHD tendencies. People with ADHD tend to have sparkling, active minds and boatloads of new ideas. They often have grand plans, and an energy and enthusiasm for life that’s hard to match. And when people with ADHD lock on to something they are passionate about — look out. They can move mountains.

But having ADHD is also indescribably annoying — for people who have it, and the people who love them. Lost keys, forgotten plans, messy piles, chronic lateness, undone projects and broken commitments make adults with ADHD feel terrible about themselves. They can also create significant problems in a relationship, as you can imagine.

The best news? Adult ADHD is a solvable problem. You can’t make it go away, but you absolutely can learn how to manage it so that it stops getting in your way — and learn how to use the gifts it brings to your advantage.

On today’s episode of The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, we’re talking about how to tell the difference between garden-variety disorganization and real-deal ADHD. I’ll give you an “Adult ADHD Quiz” to help you determine if you might have it, or if someone you love may struggle with it. I’ll also be sharing some strategies you can use to conquer Adult ADHD, and rise to your magnificent potential.

Your partner in growth, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Ps: In this episode I mention a number of books, plus a funny-ish video about the ADHD experience. Here are the links if you’d like to check any of them out. And no, I’ not an Amazon affiliate or anything — these are just resources I’ve found to be helpful that I’d like to share with you.

The ADHD Experience

Here’s the video I mentioned in the podcast. If you want to communicate to someone you love about how annoying and frustrating it is to have ADHD, you might want to show them this video.

 

Good Books About Adult ADHD

Driven to Distraction, by Drs. Hallowell and Ratey

Taking Charge of Adult ADHD, by Dr. Barkley.

 

 

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How to Tell if You Have ADHD

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Take a Break From Stress

Take a Break From Stress As a life coach I hear a lot about stress. Whether I’m sitting with my clients in my office in Denver, or working with people for online life coaching the same themes come up: work, traffic, time, kids, family, money. When you think about stress, what do you usually think about? Same?

Let’s make a quick distinction. These are things that cause you to stress, but they aren’t stress themselves. Stress is what happens inside of you, as a result of these triggers. It’s normal to think of stress as something that is outside of us. The truth is, there are a lot of things in this world that can cause us stress.

 

 

However, when you learn skills and strategies to manage stress on the inside you can live through the same life experiences but feel much differently about them. Believe it or not, it is possible to learn how to manage yourself in such a way that you can maintain your inner zen no matter what is going on around you.

 

 

You Don’t Have to Live in Stress

Here’s some advice from a life coach and therapist with many years of experience in helping people develop more life satisfaction: you don’t have to feel this way. I believe that we are more stressed than ever before. Our lives tend to be overloaded and overstimulated, so much so, that we begin to feel like being stressed out is normal. We are being bombarded with constant stimulus and take very little time to recover and rest. Simply put, being stressed stinks, so making time to relax and relieve our stress every day is more important now than ever!

What is stress? Stress can be experienced physically, mentally and emotionally. Physical stress can be experienced as tight muscles, trouble sleeping, racing heart or fatigue. Emotional stress can be experienced as overwhelmed, irritation or frustrated. And mental stress can be experienced as having difficulty concentrating, forgetting things or an inability to quiet your mind at night.

 

 

Stress Management Tips

1) Develop Self-Awareness

Learning how to take a break from stress can improve your life satisfaction. The first is to develop self-awareness around your stress patterns and learn ways to relax your mind and body each day by using mindfulness skills.

 

 

This is a challenge for many people because our minds are used to being overloaded and busy, therefore, it can take some time for our mind to get used to a more relaxed way of being. You might feel like you have a hard time sitting still and just relaxing, especially if you and your mind are used to being on overdrive all the time. In this case, you might feel more stress come up as you pause and take a break. This is because you’re becoming more aware of your stress in these moments. Also note that when you have a lot of stress built up inside, it can take some time to unwind.

 

 

2) Notice How Stress Shows Up

Stress can mean something different for each person and if affects everyone in different ways. By noticing how stress shows up for you, you’re developing self-awareness. Without this self-awareness, chronic stress can just become our way of life.

 

 

Some people notice that their stress pattern is mostly physical. They can’t sleep, they have headaches, back pain or fatigue. Other people notice that their stress pattern is mostly emotional. They are anxious, short-tempered or may even feel numb. While others notice that their stress is mostly mental. They can’t focus, they procrastinate or they make careless mistakes. (Learn more about how to manage your Body, Mind, and Emotions in our Happiness Class, Love Your Life: The Happiness Class.)

 

 

Whether stress shows up for you physically, emotionally, mentally or all three, the first step to relieving stress and managing it, is to have self-awareness around your stress patterns. No matter how it shows up for you, I want to encourage that you take a break from your daily life and slow down and relax the mind and body.

 

 

Mindfully and intentionally start to notice how stress shows up for you over the next several days. Simply having an awareness of these things is the first step to feeling less stressed. Notice how your body feels in stressful moments. What emotions come up for you? What thoughts distract you from what you’re doing?

 

 

Sometimes stress can be a general feeling that you want things to be different than they are right now. We can get caught up in negative thoughts and feelings associated with stress and often times we don’t even notice that we are stuck in that pattern. This is just one reason why I encourage my Denver therapy clients and online life coaching clients to learn mindfulness skills.

 

 

 

Mindfulness and regular meditation practice can be so helpful in reducing stress. You may already be aware of how stress shows up for you and what triggers you. If this is the case, continue to observe and be aware of when it happens. Developing the skill of catching it when it starts to happen is very important.

 

 

3) Get Back To a State of Calm

Being in a calm and relaxed state is the opposite of being in a highly stressed state. When we are highly stressed we’re in fight or flight. As a result, the mind races and cortisol and adrenaline pump throughout our body. We might shut down, get angry, or feel dull or helpless.

 

 

When we are calm and relaxed our mind feels quieter and we feel good, safe, and content. It’s important to know that we’re not creating a new feeling within us, we’re simply reminding ourselves what it feels like to be calm and relaxed. This is a natural human state that we can always return to when we want to. Sometimes it takes longer to find our calm state and sometimes we forget that we can even be in this state at all, especially when stress takes over and becomes the norm.

 

 

So whether you’ve been aware of your stress patterns for a while or you’re just starting to notice what they are now – you can begin to observe when they start to come up sooner. You might start to feel a headache coming on or feel parts of your body tensing up or feel irritable or sad, or find yourself worrying more or obsessing over things that are outside of your control.

 

 

The good news is that you can begin to catch these stress patterns before they spiral into a full-blown stress response and become overwhelming. You can learn to bring yourself back to this state of calm sooner and with more ease. Take a moment right now to check in with how you feel. By checking in on a regular basis, you can start to notice what state you’re in and catch stress creeping up on you and shift yourself into a state of calm. By increasing your self-awareness around stress you can begin to relieve your stress much earlier so that it doesn’t grow to be overwhelming.

 

 

4) Change Your Focus

Take it from a therapist: The best way to manage your stress in the moment and shift away from stress and towards relaxation and calm is to change what you’re focusing on. We can quickly get caught up in stressful thoughts and feelings. When this happens, instead of dwelling on these thoughts or feelings simply take a moment to do this simple exercise.

 

 

Here’s a quick mini-meditation practice you can do anytime and anywhere: Pause. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, letting your focus rest on the sensation of the breath slowly moving in and filling up the lungs, then slowly and gently moving all the way out. If your mind keeps jumping back to the stressful thought or feeling, just be aware that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to the breath each time, breathing deeply, for 30-60 seconds. You can do this multiple times a day. The more you practice the easier it will become to shift back into your natural state of peace and calm. Once you’re in a more relaxed state you can better deal with whatever caused you to stress in the first place, instead of just being stuck in it.

 

 

As you develop this awareness, remember not to judge yourself in any way and just observe. The truth is, stress is not likely to go away completely, but as you increase your self-awareness and practice shifting from a state of stress into a state of calm you’re helping yourself shift into a more empowered state of well-being.

 

 

Sometimes in life, there are moments where something triggers us into a highly stressed state. Although the state of calm and relaxation is a natural state that is always available to us – in a moment of high-stress nothing can seem further from the truth. The best way to shift out of a stressed state is to first simply observe that you are stressed then to change what you are focusing on. It’s very easy to stay engaged with stressful thoughts and feelings. When we stay stuck in that pattern, it continues to get worse. Take a moment to pause, Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and take 30-60 seconds to breathe and tune into the sensations of the breath.

 

 

5) Get Comfortable Slowing Down

I want to encourage you to get comfortable with slowing down and relaxing a bit more so that you can take a break from stress. Once you have the awareness that you have become stressed you can catch it sooner and then practice shifting your focus away from stress and towards your breath and body. As you do this, your state shifts and you see the external factors differently and can more easily deal with them or accept them. As we grow and improve our life’s problems will never go away, they will simply become higher quality problems. The good news is that we can change how we perceive these problems so that they don’t cause so much stress inside of us. See if you can find once or twice today where you can do 30-60 seconds of conscious breathing, especially if you have a particularly stressed moment. Then after notice if you see the problem differently.

 

 

Much of our stress is caused by problems that are out of our control or inconvenience us. Problems will never go away no matter how much we improve ourselves or our lives. We have this idea that if we just fixed each problem that everything would be okay, but when we fix one problem it doesn’t take long until another appears.

 

 

When we learn to focus on what’s happening inside of us, how to pause and shift our state away from stress and into a state of relaxation it becomes a powerful tool to manage how life affects us and how we affect life. Look for opportunities to remind yourself of this so you can experience a natural state of relaxation on a regular daily basis.

 

 

6) Have a Plan and a Practice

These are just a few of the stress management tips and ways of coping with stress that I teach my private therapy and life coaching clients. While trying out a few of the ideas I suggested is a great start, remember that managing stress is a lifelong practice. I encourage you to have a plan and a practice in place to relax and relieve your stress so that you can get comfortable with taking a break from stress to improve your overall life satisfaction.

 

 

If you would like some support and encouragement to help you manage your stress and improve your life satisfaction, I’m here to help. I specialize in stress resiliency and life satisfaction. You can always meet with me for a free consultation session to talk about how we can work together to help you conquer stress and create the inner peace you deserve. 

 

 

Warmly, Teena Evert, M.A., LMFT, LAC, PC

 

 

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How To Increase Self-Confidence, Part 2

How To Increase Self-Confidence, Part 2

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

How Do You Nourish Yourself Emotionally?

 

In my previous post on how to increase self-confidence, I discussed two ways to help you increase your feelings of self-confidence — choosing confident thoughts, and challenging yourself. Today let’s explore a few more habits that will help you feel more consistently and authentically self confident.

Last time, I gave you an assignment: to write down a thought that, if you were to believe it, would help you feel more confident.

Let’s discuss: How was that for you? Did you do the assignment? If so, how did you feel as you wrote down the words? For some people, finding and reminding themselves of self-affirming beliefs feels relatively easy, and good.

However, some people struggle to do this. They feel like positive, self-affirming thoughts are a lie. Thinking supportive things about themselves feels awkward, and untrue. This is especially common for people who are going through a bad breakup or divorce, or who have been in relationships (romantic, parents, others) who have been critical and unsupportive.

If you felt an inward “squirm” as you tried to find better feeling thoughts about yourself (or if you rejected the idea of practicing this skill entirely) you may need more support to shift your inner dialogue. Please consider enrolling in my Happiness Class (where I spend like, five hours of instruction teaching you how to spot and vanquish your inner bully), or getting involved in positive, affirming counseling or life coaching. 

Why? Because self-defeating thoughts can be extremely powerful, and very entrenched. You may need an ally, a partner, to help you even see them — much less talk back to them. An even longer journey may be to discover that the voice in your head that’s tearing you down may not even be true at all, and never was.

But that’s a journey that few can make alone. If you want a partner to help you do this work, we’re always here. You do not need to continue suffering through this by yourself.

However: For others of you, finding the thought that would help you feel more confident was perhaps new, but still do-able. And when you did the assignment it likely gave your self-confidence a boost. If so you’ve experienced a universal truth of self confidence: You are what you believe. Let’s use this success to continue moving you forward.

What’s next? Your follow up assignment is to very deliberately and intentionally remind yourself of that new idea every day. You might even go-getcha some friends for that new thought. Before you know it, you’ll have an empowering, supportive chorus of voices inside of you: cheering you on, celebrating your successes, and motivating you upward and onward. 

But wait, there’s more! Here are a few more tips to help yourself continue feeding the healthy, emotionally supportive part of you.

Effective Ways To Build Your Self Confidence

1) Make a list of things that have gone well. It’s so easy to focus on your perceived character flaws, possible catastrophic outcomes, or times when things didn’t work out the way you hoped. Something about them is just more compelling than positive memories, or thinking about your strengths. Focusing on failures, real or imagined, is a sure fire way to create gnawing self doubt and insecurity.

Try this: literally, sit down with a pen, and write out a comprehensive list of things that you accomplished, things that went well, and things that you know you can do. The act of writing it will give you appreciation for your strengths and your abilities. By willfully connecting with positive memories you will feel more confident to handle new things too. [More: How to Own Your Awesome]

2) Learn the skill of optimism. Yes, optimism is a skill. Unconfident people generally imagine that things will go badly for them, and anticipation of the pain, or consequences of their failures becomes the paralyzing force that prevents them from trying things. (Or, when in the grip of great fear triggered by negative expectations, unconfident people can sabotage their own success).

In contrast, confident people simply expect that things will go well for them, or if things don’t go well they will be able to handle the situation competently. This might sound like a tall order at first, but optimism is a skill that can be learned.

To develop your ability to think in this way, try this: Write out the best-case scenario. Your mind may be crowded  by images of catastrophes, but for this exercise gently push them aside for the moment, and write out the story of what exactly would be happening if you were living out the best-case scenario. To build on this, you may write out possible problems you could encounter, but then immediately write out how you would handle them competently were they to occur. Developing this confident vision will help soothe your anxiety, and feel more competent — and more confident.

3) Populate your life with people who believe in you. If you are spending time with people who generally expect bad things to happen, and who doubt that you (or anyone) can create better outcomes, it may be affecting your confidence.

We humans learn from others, and we internalize the voices of the people we are close to. You’ve probably internalized the voices of your parents as a child, and as an adult the beliefs of those around us get absorbed into our brains too. When you spend time with people who are confident in themselves, they will be more likely to view you as competent too— and they’ll communicate that belief in a variety of ways.

Being exposed to positive expectations of your competence, your worth, and your power to improve your circumstances will make you more likely to feel confident. And, when you feel more confident you will try things that may feel challenging. When you successfully face challenges, your confidence builds.

4) Stay in the present. Things that actually do happen are rarely as scary, catastrophic and overwhelming as we think they are going to be. Our negative anticipations of failure or bad outcomes can be positively visceral, and they make us basically experience the worst possible scenario before it’s even happened. The feelings of dread, terror, and shame we have when living out the possible horrible future in our mind’s eye will paralyze us, and sustain the belief in our incompetence that prevents us from feeling confident.

Try this: Practice unhooking your mind from catastrophe by simply noticing what is happening around you right now. [More on mindfulness, here]. You may be sitting in a chair, laying in bed, or walking. Notice how your body feels, notice the colors and shapes that you see, and notice what you are hearing. That’s all that’s happening now. That is actually all that is ever happening. When you stay here, and mindfully allow the present moment to unfold, you are more likely to feel confident and certain in your ability to cope. [More on managing catastrophic thoughts here, if you’re interestested].

The world needs you. We need you to be your amazing, best self and to do all the wonderful things you’re capable of. [Read: Why The World Is A Better Place Because You’re In It] Strengthening yourself, nourishing yourself, and investing in your confidence gives you the chance to do everything you’re meant to do — for yourself, and others.

Yay for being you!

xo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

How to Increase Self Confidence (Part 1)

How to Increase Self Confidence (Part 1)

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

How do you feel about YOU?

How to increase self-confidence: Self-confidence means having a belief in your own competence to handle things, a belief in your ability to shape your reality and a belief that you are worthy of love and respect.

The feeling-state of self-confidence is elusive for many people. As a therapist and life coach, I often talk to people about how they feel about themselves. Believe it or not, even people that seem like they have it all — intelligence, attractiveness, success, and great relationships — may still also struggle with feeling self-confident. They doubt themselves, and always feel like they need to do more or be better in order to feel “worthy.”

It’s exhausting. It’s also unnecessary.

What I have discovered over the years through my work as a therapist and life coach is that people step in and out of feeling confident. Sometimes we feel more confident than others. I often explore with my clients the times that they feel better about themselves and their lives to see what common elements there are.

This has been an interesting experiment, as I’ve gained insight into specific skills and practices that can help us all feel more consistently confident. Here is one of the core skills I’ve learned over the years about how to cultivate self-confidence and keep self-confidence with you more of the time.

Choose Confidence-Inspiring Thoughts, Intentionally:

When you are feeling the opposite of self-confident (insecure, anxious, incompetent, powerless) it’s likely that you have some core beliefs that are supporting those feelings. For example, you may believe on some deep level that you can’t handle a situation, you’re going to fail, or that you’re not good enough. These beliefs may be so old and automatic that you are not even aware that you are having them. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you decide to take your power back by choosing confidence-inspiring thoughts. Here are some of my favorites:

– “I am strong and resourceful, and competent to handle whatever life throws my way.”

– “My actions in the present moment create my future outcomes. Today I can make choices that lead me to success.”

– “I am a good person. I am worthy of love and respect.”

I know that this may feel goofy, like some seventies-style “positive affirmation” practice, but this is based on decades of research showing that practicing the thoughts that support your desired mood state is a really effective way of helping you achieve it.

As I teach in my Happiness Class, our brains are plastic. The thinking patterns we indulge literally create neural pathways in our brains.

If you are feeling fearful and insecure, it’s likely that there are neural pathways of automatic thoughts carrying you into that bad feeling place. Deciding on, and practicing, new thoughts feel hard at first, but the practice re-organizes your mind. It establishes new automatic beliefs in your competence, power, and worth that will lead you to better feeling moods.

Even more importantly, when you decide to take control of your inner narrative, you become more empowered. 

Now I have an assignment for you: Write down a thought that, if you were to believe it, would make you feel stronger, more powerful, and more confident. You don’t have to “feel like it’s true. Bonus points for making a public declaration in the comments section. I’ll be reading your answers!

I’ll be back in touch next week with step two of this process. Do your homework and meet me back here next Tuesday, and we’ll move forward together.

 

xo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

How to Stop Gaslighting in a Relationship

How to Stop Gaslighting in a Relationship

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Who Do You Trust?

“Gaslighting” is a term that originated from an old movie, where a woman lived with a man in a home with old-fashioned gas lights. The man was trying to drive the woman crazy.

He would consistently turn the lights dimmer and dimmer in their home but denied that it was dimmer and pretended that the light was normal — and the woman began to doubt her own senses. Over time, she went insane.

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting, in modern parlance, refers to being made to doubt your own feelings, thoughts, intuition, and judgment when they are, in fact, reliable sources of information that you should trust.

The classic example is in the case of infidelity. One partner will start to become suspicious of their spouse’s late nights working, unavailability during work trips, or odd calls to their phone.

However, when they confront the straying spouse, they’re told things like, “You’re insecure,” or “You’re crazy,” or “Just because your father cheated on your mother you think all men are dogs.”

Or my favorite, the righteously indignant, “How dare you suggest something so horrible, I’m trying to earn a living for our family and working my tail off, and now you come at me with this?!?” 

The net result is that when someone is actually being victimized by their partner, they are made to feel not just that they’re being ridiculous, but wrong. This leads people who are being gaslit not just to doubt themselves, but to feel ashamed of how “crazy” they are. (When, in fact, their own judgment is actually a more reliable source of trustworthy information than their partner is.)

Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship

1. Feeling like you’re always wrong. The ringer for gaslighting is when you attempt to check something out, (i.e., “Were you drinking tonight?” or “You’re home three hours late, where were you?”) or express your concerns about something, and your partner gets very angry with you and turns things back on you so that you feel ashamed and inappropriate for having asked.

2. The sudden onset of really bad feelings. If you begin feeling uncharacteristically anxious, depressed, ashamed, or stupid after starting a new-ish relationship it’s a big red flag that emotional abuse is happening.

Feeling increasingly bad about yourself, or more doubtful of your own judgment is a sign that you’re in a toxic relationship where gaslighting is happening. Many times, people in these situations feel increasingly anxious, and even become depressed.

They begin to believe that it’s their own mental health issues that are the source of the relationship problems, as opposed to the toxic relationship that they are having bad feelings about. (Pointing out your oh-so-many-and-very-serious “mental health issues” is a go-to weapon of many gaslighters). 

However, once these “mentally unstable” people  they leave these manipulative relationships they often discover that they’re just fine. It was the relationship that was making them feel anxious and terrible about themselves.

3. You’re defending your partner, a lot.  Another important sign that you’re being gaslighted by your partner is when you tell your friends or family about something that you’ve been made to feel is “abnormal” for being concerned about, but they react in the same way that you did originally before you were led to believe your feelings were wrong or disordered in some way. (That your partner is actually in the wrong).

If this is happening and you find yourself frequently defending your partner from family and friends and explaining to them that no, really, you were the one in the wrong (again)… you may be the victim of gaslighting.

 

Gaslighting is a Form of Emotional Abuse

Gaslighting is not a quirk; it’s abusive behavior that cannot continue if the goal is a healthy, sustainable relationship. For example, to the great frustration of domestic violence counselors, victims of domestic violence have a very hard time leaving their abusers. Many times, they go back.

The reason for this is that, as a rule, the victims blame themselves for the abuse they are experiencing because their abuser has made them believe they are at fault.  Their own feelings and judgment about their worth, what love should look like, and how they should be treated has been gaslighted out of existence by their abuser.

Furthermore, the hallmark of abusive relationships is isolation. The reason abusers must isolate their victims is that effective gaslighting requires that the person being made to doubt themselves is looking to their abuser for “the truth.” If independent third parties start weighing in to support the perspective of the gaslight-ee, the abuser loses power and control over their victim.

Gaslighting often commonly happens in situations where one partner is actively abusing a substance or has a behavioral addiction. In addition to hiding and lying about their attachment to unhealthy substances or behaviors, addicts will often counter-attack when confronted. They blame their questioning partner for being out of line to question them or their “lifestyle choices.” This leads their partners to doubt their own judgment and start believing they are “too controlling” or “too uptight,” etc, which allows the addict more freedom.

Stop Gaslighting From Happening in Your Relationship

If you’re in a relationship where you’re being gaslighted it’s critical that you get the support of other people. A great therapist, a supportive friend, or even better, a good support group can help you get the outside perspective you need to reinforce your own good judgment.

The experience of gaslighting is being made to doubt yourself (when you’re actually spot on). The antidote is to have other people around you who can look, with you, at the situation and say, “No, you’re right, it is actually dark in here.” With that outside perspective you can begin to trust yourself again, and also view your partner’s manipulations for what they are: Efforts to mislead and control you, by making you mistrust your own judgment.

The answer is not couples counseling. The path forward is not changing your partner; it’s strengthening yourself.

Trust yourself, and do not make excuses for other people’s bad behavior. Your love and patience will not heal anyone — only they can do that. If you’re in a relationship and feeling bad about what’s happening but being made to feel that you’re wrong for feeling that way, run the situation past some friends or your therapist to get outside perspective.

Remember that you deserve to be treated with love and respect and to surround yourself with people who make you feel better about yourself — not worse.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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