When parents divorce, the hope is that they can work together as co-parents as they raise their kids as a team. Sadly, if parents have a lot of animosity towards one another post-divorce, this type of cooperation is not always possible. Some parents even go as far as gaslighting their kids to undermine their kids’ opinions of their ex.
What constitutes gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a type of manipulation that makes you question what is real and what is not. Lecturing your kids about how awful your ex is can make your kids question whether their other parent is loving and will care for them. Your kids may even feel like something is wrong with them to make their other parent reportedly have negative feelings towards them.
How can you tell if your child is subjected to gaslighting?
Parents can look out for some signs that their ex is gaslighting their child against them. For example, the child may question their memories or doubt that they understand their relationship with you. They may minimize how they feel, saying things are okay when they are feeling bad. Your ex may try to compete with you to look like the better parent. Your ex may compare themselves to you, making them look good and you look bad. Your ex may project their problems onto you or even isolate your child from you.
Gaslighting is a form of abuse
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and can have a very negative effect on your child. You can help your child by listening and validating their feelings, encouraging your child when they try something new or meet a new milestone, celebrating what is special about your child, keeping promises and allowing you and your child to feel uncomfortable at times. Gaslighting can be a tough situation, but it is possible to help your child overcome it.