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How to Recognize Abuse and Gaslighting

with

Allison Fallon

Heart of Dating welcome the incredibly Allison Fallon to the show this week. Ally writes books, helps people write books and believes a regular practice of writing can change your life. She is the author of 12 books (and counting) sought-after public speaker and coach to hundreds of authors from New York Times Bestsellers to total beginners. She has spent the last decade coaching hundreds of people to gain confidence, overcome writer’s block and get their stories on paper. Even if you say, “I’m not a writer” she can show you how a daily practice of writing can improve your sleep, your focus, your creativity, your productivity, and even your relationships.  

Also, Allison recently launched a BRAND NEW website called,  findyourvoice.com. This brand new site has tons of resources to help people get started in a practice of writing for the first time—something you can use for self-discovery, spirituality, self-therapy or a way to process something that’s happened to them that they don’t understand (even a break-up!). We highly encourage you to check it out!

This week Allison and Kait talk about abuse, both emotional and physical aspects. What are the signs? Why do people stay in relationships? How do you know that you should get out of a relationship? They also discuss the term gaslighting, and how that plays out in relationships.

Recent Stats from the National Domestic Violence Hotline reveal that around 10 million people suffer from physical abuse every year, which averages out to 20 people per minute. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Should you or someone you know be in an abusive situation, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233

Ally could you tell us a little bit about your story?

  • Ally says that before she had a personal experience with abuse, she had many misconceptions about it and the people involved. Now, she has a brand new perspective on the situation.
  • Ally talked about how when she got married to her now ex husband, she was in a very vulnerable emotional space. She felt pressured to get married because of the church community she was in, so she got married very young.
  • She learned she has to be very cautious of who she’s trusting.
  • She got married only after being with her ex for 4 months and recommended the 90 day challenge from the book How to Not Fall in Love with a Jerk.
  • There are bonding chemicals even when you simply hold hands that affect how one determines character.
  • Time is a gift to getting to know someone else’s character.
  • Ally had hesitations going into her marriage and a few days after getting married, she realized she made a mistake ignoring the red flags and experiencing abuse. 
  • Ally mentioned that a manipulative tactic and red flag of abuse is the abuser becoming the “rescuer” after an incident.
  • She mentioned that living in a relationship like that, she internalized the feelings of guilt and feeling it was her own fault. She also mentioned it was like constantly walking on eggshells.
  • She stayed in that relationship for 4 years.
  • If you are leaving an abusive relationship, be cautious and vigilant for signs and if you’re fearful of leaving, call the domestic violence hotline.
  • Ally also talks about PTSD after a domestically abusive relationship and encourages those who face feeling guilt, fear, or insecurity to seek out professional help.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse?

  • If you’re in a position for physical abuse and are worried about talking about it
  • If you know someone going through abuse, don’t push the conversation but instead just ask the other person to simply just talk more about what they’re going through. 
  • Isolation from friends and family members is a red flag for emotional abuse.
  • A lack of privacy is another sign of emotional abuse, “Without privacy there is no intimacy”.
  • When you feel perpetually confused when you’re around the person is another red flag.
  • Gaslighting, when someone is constantly discounting your reality is a big sign of emotional abuse.
  •  “No one gets to decide what your experience or your feelings are to a certain situation”
  • Constantly changing stories is a symptom of emotional abuse.
  • Look for inconsistencies of character, stories, and other day to day experiences.

How do you move forward from an abusive relationship?

  • Ask yourself “How do I feel about myself when I am around this person?”
  • When you enter into a new relationship, me honest and open about your past experiences and look for someone who is going to show grace and be patient as you continue to heal and move forward.
  • Remember you’re quitting a drug. Sometimes you have to go cold turkey with the person who was abusing you. 

How do you recognize that you can’t “fix” the other person?

  • “There’s only one person whose life you can live and that’s your own”
  • You may think you’re sacrificing yourself for the other person, but Ally tells us to “watch our egos” because you may think that's a selfless act, but it’s not because you’re avoiding your own problem that you need to work on. 
  • You have to stay in your lane in a lot of ways and if someone is constantly dragging you down and into their drama then you have to get out of being put in the position.
  • They have to change because THEY want to change.
  • Be cautious, you can NOT change someone. It may sound biblical to always give grace, but you have to take care of your health as well.

What is your final nugget of dating advice?

  • Again, always ask “How do I feel about myself when I am around this person?”

Other Resources:

Find Allison on Instagram HERE

Find Allison’s writing Instagram HERE

Visit Allison's new writing website HERE

Visit Allison’s website HERE

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