Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Toxic? Gaslighting? Littleton Psychologists Discuss Terms!

A couple gaslighting, couples therapist

More and more psychologists in Littleton are getting calls from clients who want help with their “narcissist,” “toxic,” or “gaslighting” partner. These are just a sample of the terms that are being tossed around in-office and online, and not all of them are very accurate. Keep reading to see how today’s online discourse makes these words commonplace and why they can be hurtful!

Only Psychologists Should Diagnose Personality Disorders

Many people throw around descriptive names for behaviors that sound an awful lot like personality disorders. Narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder are all serious, lifelong mental health conditions that should be left to the best psychiatrists and psychologists in Littleton. That’s why your couple’s therapist may ask “Who diagnosed this?” Remember, just because someone you love shows negative patterns of behavior, or even symptoms of mental health disorders, they may not fully meet criteria. Making these technical terms mainstream does a disservice to those living with these conditions.

Real Therapists in Highlands Ranch Don’t Name-Call

Everything that someone doesn’t like these days is “toxic.” Unless you’re talking about asbestos or rat poison, you should try to use more helpful and descriptive language, especially while talking to or about your partner. Is your partner “toxic” because she didn’t pick up the dry cleaning? Try a more accurate word, like “forgetful,” or express your feelings clearly by stating “I feel really disappointed when you don’t help out with household chores.” Is your partner really “crazy,” or would a more accurate statement be “I don’t understand why you made that choice.” When you use diluted, negative words instead of expressing your real feelings, you’re just calling names. Marriage counseling in Highlands Ranch can help you express yourself more accurately.

Couples Counselors in CO Know That Disagreement Isn’t Gaslighting

Everyone on the internet is gaslighting or being gaslit today—or are they? When couples visit their therapist in Colorado, many instances of “gaslighting” are really better explained as “disagreements” or “pure stubbornness!” If you’ve ever seen the movie Gaslight (which is where the term came from—know your memes!), you’ll know that the gaslighter in the film didn’t just disagree with the other person’s account, or have a different experience—they were purposely engaging in “crazymaking” and trying to convince the other person that their thoughts and reality were inaccurate. Denial can be strong, so keep in mind that your partner may actually be clueless, aloof, checked out, avoidant, or disengaged before assuming gaslighting.

Today’s digital culture makes it very easy to hashtag a hot term and use it without knowing exactly what it means. Leave that sort of communication for celebrity gossip and put more effort into your marriage communication. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a couples counselor in Littleton.