• Are You Stuck In An Abusive Relationship?

    If there is absolutely any glimmer of hope that comes from the horrors of Gabby Petito’s murder, it’s that there is the potential to have a serious national discussion about how rampant gaslighting and domestic violence have become. When people are being abused, especially psychologically abused in the form of gaslighting, the victimized person appears emotionally unstable. Gaslighting is a phrase more people are talking about publicly. Gaslighting is the act of manipulating someone emotionally in an abusive relationship. Often, the manipulation is so hidden and well-crafted by the abuser that the victimized person begins to question their reality. This happens because the victimized have been so primed and groomed to believe that they are “nuts”, that the victim often cannot find the words to express what they are feeling. 

    Outside of the mental health world, everyone in helping or customer service professions could benefit from being trained on the warning signs of this sort of abuse. The warning signs of gaslighting often overlap into the world of human trafficking, too. I believe teachers, police officers, community volunteers, flight crews, and those in the cosmetology world due to how connected hairdressers and nail technicians often become with their clients, could become key players in protecting people stuck in coercive and abusive relationships. 

    If we start teaching our kids now to internally validate themselves at a young age, we might be able to prevent continued narcissistic abuse from perpetuating itself in future generations. When kids understand that their feelings are valid, important, and that they are not “going nuts”, they learn to be resilient and emotionally intelligent. With the ability to self-validate emotions, one may catch on to seeing the warning signs of manipulation and narcissistic abuse sooner. The quicker the victimized gain the insight to see what’s happening, the better chance the victimized have in getting away from the perpetrator. I wish we lived in a world where what happened to Gabby Petito was not commonplace, but unfortunately, domestic violence, narcissism abuse, and human trafficking happen every single day across the globe. 

    In Gabby’s memory, let us all become aware of the inherit worth, dignity, and wholeness we were born with as individuals. Let us all feel confident in saying something when we see something that feels off about a relationship. May we all be reminded that love should never hurt. Remind yourself that relationships compliment individuals, relationships never complete individuals. If you or someone you care about is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).