There are many ways of creating problems in relationships, but there are two manipulations that are sometimes harder to see than out and out contempt or defensiveness. They are stonewalling, basically “the silent treatment” and gaslighting, when someone tries to undermine your own perceptions to the point where you distrust your own mind. The first is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or four factors that predict divorce as described by marital researchers Julie and John Gottman. The second is used primarily by those with narcissistic or sociopathic traits in order to gain control. Both are highly toxic but in many ways more difficult to recognize when they’re happening. As always, we’ll talk about “what to do about it” if you’re either participating in such behavior or if you recognize these tendencies in someone you’re trying to love.

Today’s listener email is from someone who’s finding that her anxiety is really masking sadness, and speaks not of having panic attacks, but “panic cries.”

Important links:

A link describing gaslighting in detail.

Julie and John Gottman’s work: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Book Disarming the Narcissist

link describing gaslighting in detail.

Link to Episode 019 — 

You can hear more about manipulation and many other topics by listening to Dr. Margaret’s new podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to this website and receive her weekly blog posts and podcasts!

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My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has arrived and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life.

And there’s a new way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

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