Have you ever used alcohol as a coping mechanism to escape gaslighting, conflict, tension or a dysfunctional relationship?

If you’ve been told that you’re imagining things, too sensitive, dramatic, overreacting, forgetful, paranoid, confused, insecure or misinterpreting things, you might be a victim of gaslighting. 

And if you’re drinking it’s easy for someone to say “you’re drunk, you don’t know what you’re talking about” or “you were drinking, you don’t remember what happened.” Without clear memories you’re more vulnerable to someone undermining your confidence, confusing and invalidating your experiences and emotions, establishing power and manipulating you.  

Gaslighting can make you doubt yourself and your memories.

At its core, gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation designed to make you doubt your perceptions, memories, and sanity. It can leave you feeling insecure and powerless

Gaslighting is a way for individuals to avoid accountability, exert control in a relationship, establish an unhealthy power dynamic, feel superior, influence your thoughts, behaviors, and decisions to align with their own agenda.

It can occur in romantic relationships, families, professional settings and friendships and is, by design, hard to recognize. 

In a relationship you might notice that you’re frequently feeling confusion, doubt, guilt, isolation, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, anger or desperation.

🥂 Alcohol can make it harder to cope with gaslighting in a number of ways 

🍸 Drinking can impact your memory and blur the lines between reality and fiction, making it easier for abusers to gaslight.

🍸 If you blackout or gray out, it gives a gaslighter the ability to lie to you about what you said, did or what happened.

🍸When you’re being gaslit, it’s important to trust your instincts and maintain boundaries and drinking impairs judgment and makes it difficult to recognize manipulative behavior and set boundaries effectively.

🍸Alcohol can make you vulnerable and an easier target for manipulation.

🍸When you’re intoxicated, it’s easier to ignore red flags and overlook manipulative behavior or dismiss it as insignificant.

🍸In some cases, drinking can be isolating leaving you more dependent on your partner for companionship and support. If your partner is gaslighting you, there might not be others around you to validate your experiences and memories.

Gaslighting tactics can be subtle and manipulative.

Here are some ways gaslighters might use to establish control:

🚩 Denying your reality: Gaslighters may flatly deny something they said or did, making you question your memory or perception of events. They might say, “I never said that. You must be imagining things.”
🚩 Minimizing your feelings: Gaslighters often dismiss or trivialize your emotions, making you feel irrational or oversensitive. They might say, “You’re overreacting” or “It’s not that big of a deal.”
🚩 Blaming you: Gaslighters love to shift the blame onto you, making you feel responsible for their behavior. They might say, “You’re always causing problems” or “If you didn’t act this way, I wouldn’t have to react like this.”
🚩 Twisting facts: Gaslighters distort facts or manipulate information to suit their narrative. They might say, “You’re remembering it wrong” or “That’s not what happened.”
🚩 Projecting: Gaslighters project their own behaviors onto you, making you feel like you’re the one at fault. They might accuse you of being controlling or manipulative when they’re the ones doing those things.
🚩 Withholding information: Gaslighters often withhold important information or keep secrets, leading you to doubt their own knowledge or understanding of a situation.
🚩 Undermining your confidence: Gaslighters erode your confidence and self-esteem by constantly criticizing or belittling you. They might say, “You’re too sensitive” or “You’re not smart enough to understand.”
🚩 Isolating you from support: Gaslighters may isolate you from friends and family, making you more dependent on them for validation and support.
🚩 Creating confusion: Gaslighters use tactics to create confusion and uncertainty, making it difficult for you to trust their own judgment. They might make contradictory statements and do different things to keep you off balance.
🚩 Invalidating your experiences: Gaslighters invalidate your experiences and perceptions, to make you doubt your reality. They might say, “That didn’t happen” or “You’re imagining things.” 

🎙️ I asked Louise Bryant, a professionally certified coach, trauma-informed domestic abuse specialist, intuitive eating counselor and survivor to share her work in helping women heal and rebuild after abusive relationships, how to recognize the signs of gaslighting and to provide tips and advice on how to protect yourself.

Listen to learn:

How gaslighting is used as a form of manipulation and control to avoid accountability, establish an unhealthy power dynamic, and influence your thoughts, behaviors, and decisions

✅ Why gaslighting can be difficult to recognize and signs to look for
✅ How alcohol can make you more vulnerable to being gaslit in a toxic relationship
✅ Why gaslighting can make you feel confused, insecure, undermined, anxious, dependent and invalidated
✅ Specific phrases and tactics gaslighters might use to make you doubt yourself
✅ Ways to protect yourself if you feel like you’re being manipulated, gaslit or controlled in a relationship
✅ How to navigate, escape and heal from abuse, and a lot more…

If you feel like you’re being manipulated or gaslit in a relationship,
here are some ways to protect yourself.

➡️ Stop Drinking or Moderate Alcohol Consumption 🛑 : Drinking can make it difficult to trust your memory and judgment.

➡️ Trust Your Instincts : If something feels off in a relationship, trust your instincts. Gaslighters rely on creating doubt, but your intuition is a powerful tool for recognizing manipulation.

➡️ Seek Support 👭 : Build a support network of friends, family, or professionals who can offer perspective and validation outside of the relationship..

➡️ Set Healthy Boundaries 💕: Establish clear boundaries and communicate them assertively. Don’t hesitate to enforce boundaries if they’re being crossed, even if alcohol is involved..

➡️ Educate Yourself 📚: Learn about gaslighting and manipulation tactics to better recognize them in your own relationships. Knowledge is key to empowerment..

4 Ways I Can Support You In Drinking Less + Living More

❤️ Join The Sobriety Starter Kit Program, the only sober coaching course designed specifically for busy women. 

🧰 Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free.

📝 Save your seat in my FREE MASTERCLASS, 5 Secrets To Successfully Take a Break From Drinking

💥 Connect with me on Instagram.

Or you can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and TikTok @hellosomedaysober.

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“I’ve listened to so many sober podcasts and The Hello Someday Podcast is by far THE BEST Sobriety Podcast out there for women. This podcast was key to me quitting alcohol. Casey’s practical tips and tricks are invaluable, with advice I haven’t heard anywhere else. If I could give this podcast 27 stars I would!!”

Connect with Lousie Bryant

Louise Bryant, is a professionally certified coach, intuitive eating counselor, trauma-informed domestic abuse specialist, and survivor. She hosts the podcast “Secrets in the Powder Room,” committed to sharing stories and professional advice surrounding the secrets women keep out of fear and shame. Louise’s mission is to empower busy women, aiding them in reclaiming control and rebuilding their lives after the trauma of domestic abuse.


Learn more about Louise and how she can help you at www.louisebryant.coach

Follow Louise on Instagram @louisebryantcoach

Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson

To find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to www.hellosomedaycoaching.com

Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.


Are you looking for the best sobriety podcast for women? The Hello Someday Podcast was created specifically for sober curious women and gray area drinkers ready to stop drinking, drink less and change their relationship with alcohol.

Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life and sobriety coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking and The Sobriety Starter Kit Sober Coaching Course, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol-free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this is the best sobriety podcast for you.

A Top 100 Mental Health Podcast, ranked in the top 0.5% of podcasts globally with over 1 million downloads, The Hello Someday Podcast is the best sobriety podcast for women.

In each episode, Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.

Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol-free life. 

Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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Gaslighting, Alcohol & Manipulation With Louise Bryant



drinking, gaslighting, blackout, domestic abuse, women, minimizing, abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, feel, person, tactics, manipulation, perpetrator, situation, abusive relationship, narcissist, alcohol, support, relationship, toxic relationship, life, coach, remember, boundaries, coping mechanism, safety, self-care, inner work, podcast


SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Louise Bryant


Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a buzz, how to sit with your emotions when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.


Hey there, today we are talking about


Gaslighting, Alcohol and Manipulation.


And my guest is named Louise Bryant. She is a professionally certified coach, an intuitive eating counselor, a trauma informed domestic abuse specialist and a survivor. She hosts the podcast Secrets in the powder room. Committed to sharing stories and professional advice surrounding the secrets women keep out of fear and shame.


Louise’s mission is to empower busy women, aiding them in reclaiming control and rebuilding their lives after the trauma of domestic abuse.


So, Louise, thank you so much for being here.


Louise Bryant  02:05

Thank you for having me, Casey. It’s wonderful to be here.


Casey McGuire Davidson  02:09

Yeah, and this is a really sensitive topic, obviously. And it’s also one that I know a lot of women experience in different ways. One of which is,


they drink because they might be in a toxic relationship because they want to numb out, and then, also, I was a blackout drinker. I had a lot of sort of gray areas in my life.


If you can’t remember things, it’s very easy for an abusive relationship a toxic relationship for that person to use that against you and gaslight you or shift manipulate you based on your drinking.


Louise Bryant  02:48

Absolutely, absolutely. And it’s so common because yeah, it’s an easy target easy pickings, isn’t it for an abusive person to then just manipulate and extend. I mean gaslighting isn’t the only tactic that these guys all say, guy – sorry, these perpetrators will use.


There’s lots of other tactics, but this is just one that obviously, that we’re talking about today that we’re focusing on today. But there is many other tactics, and it normally does, they normally don’t come just with gaslighting. Normally abuse will come with the added abusive tax as well.


Casey McGuire Davidson  03:24

well, I want to talk about all of that. But to start Can you sort of tell us what gaslighting is.


Louise Bryant  03:32


GASLIGHTING originally came from a play called gaslight, I think in the 1930s. And then it was made into a film in about 1944. And it was about a guy who was manipulating his wife by turning up and down the gas and lights in their home, and also using other behaviors just to cause her to doubt her perceptions and our own sanity.


But gaslighting and domestic abuse of relationships is normally a tactic that perpetrators use to manipulate it’s a psychological tactic that they use to manipulate and undermine their victims sense of reality, memories, and sanity. And this can involve maybe denying and minimizing their abusive behavior, blaming the victim, maybe making them imagine making them think that they’ve imagined the problems, creating confusion and data doubts in the victims mind.

And obviously, it’s used to gain everything that every abusive behavior that someone does is just to gain control and power over their victim. And then making the victim distrust them their own perceptions, leaving them feeling sort of helpless, really, and often quite dependent on the abuser.


Casey McGuire Davidson  04:39

Yeah, and also sort of making them think that it’s their fault, right, that they did something wrong so that they then need to apologize or make up for things or whatever, right. They don’t have the right to be angry or upset or anything.


Louise Bryant  04:57

Yeah, yeah. And it’s kind of like minimize In what they’ve done, denying what they’ve done, and then you know, switching the blame on to the victim, you know, switching the roles so that it’s no longer therefore, or minimizing what they’re doing.


I mean, there’s other things as well, not just making the victim feel like they have done wrong, but just when the perpetrator knows that they’ve done wrong making the victim, minimizing what they’ve done so well, I don’t remember it, so it didn’t happen. Or you’re creating that in your mind because you’ve been drinking.


Casey McGuire Davidson  05:27

Yeah, you’re not remembering it correctly. Or the other thing that I’ve seen, and I hear about a lot is, you know, again, you drink because you want to check out often of what’s going on. I know a lot of people who drink are very sensitive to the emotions around them. And if there is sort of a negative vibe in your house, if there is you feel like you’re walking around on eggshells, it, you know, drinking can be the easy button to like, numb out from that.


But then, a lot of times, feelings come out, emotions come out. And then when you are genuinely upset, someone will say you’re drunk. I’m not going to talk to you when you’re drunk. Oh, you’re drinking again? Oh, it’s because like dismissing your concerns it was just it’s vicious cycle.


Louise Bryant  06:18

Absolutely yeah, it’s nominee outlets that I hear that so often. And I used to do it in my abusive relationship, it’s just you know, drinking because of all the stress that you’re going through just nominate that emotion, but then it can have a knock on effect because like you say, then your emotions are then in you know, enhanced and your ease, you react a lot. You know, you react quicker to the abuse, and you can put it can be very dangerous as well.


I mean, we always use the terminology now domestic abuse, because not all abuse is violent. But if there is violence there as well, when you’re drinking and then your heightened emotions are there and you’re not your perceptions aren’t as clear, then that can be very dangerous as well. Yeah.


Casey McGuire Davidson  07:01

And the abuse can be physical but can also be verbal, it can also be emotional, right?


Louise Bryant  07:08

What are the different kinds, so you’ve got a there’s many kinds of abuse.


So, you can have physical abuse, obviously like punching, kicking, kicking, pushing, shoving, you’ve got sexual abuse, and a lot of people find that one hard to get their head around when someone can actually rape you when you’re married to them. That’s still if it’s not consented, then there’s still rape involved.


There’s obviously the emotional abuse and the gaslighting and financial abuse, you can be isolated quote, unquote, you know, with, especially with alcohol, and we’ve gaslighting isolation is a massive contributor to the gaslighting tactics.


And then there’s stalking following you around. And obviously digital abuse people have had videos and been threatened with showing certain videos and psychological manipulation.


So yeah, there’s lots of different tactics there that can layer up.


Casey McGuire Davidson  08:04

Yeah, well, well, you tell us a little bit about your story, how you came to this work, your history and sort of, you know, whatever you want to share.


Louise Bryant  08:14

Okay, yeah. So Well, I was in an abusive relationship for what on and off, including been involved with him when we had a child together for about 15 years. And I did a program that was a free program in the UK, about 12, 13 years ago.


And I just thought to myself, one day, I’m going to be teaching a program like this, and I was a hairdresser. And then I injured my hand, and then I became a Coach. And then, it was only through lockdown that I received a message to do some training in a in a course that we now offer through the UK. And it was through that course that now I’ve started working with, you know, hundreds of women through domestic abuse, and we help to take them through the building their lives back up after domestic abuse. And then I work my private Coaching, it’s more one to one to help him women through domestic abuse, and then building up the layers because it’s so there’s not a lot of support out there. There’s lots of things in the UK, I’m not quite sure what there is in the states now. But if you’re in an abusive relationship, and it’s violent, there’s lots there.


There is support there to help women get into refuge. And there’s charities that will help through that, but it’s the after effect that’s left when you’ve been for an abusive relationship as we know how trauma works women and then just left like you get a lot of people say to you, well, you’re out of the relationship.


Now, you should be fine. Like, what’s your problem? You’re safe, like he’s not in your life anymore. Or sometimes people have got children together. So, they are still having to deal with this person. But it’s that you’d left you left broken and there’s just not enough support to help people build their life.


If backup after domestic abuse and all of them different layers that come with that, and you know coping mechanisms like alcohol abuse.


I also do intuitive eating. So, a lot of people who use food for emotions and you just stuck with these habits, then aren’t you these coping mechanisms to deal with that.


And then when something else happens that triggers you, you’re then going back to the alcohol or the food or wherever, whatever it was that you use to cope in the past, it sticks with you.


Casey McGuire Davidson  10:26

What are the biggest things that say you’re currently in an abusive relationship for whatever reason? And you’re drinking to cope with it? And yet, you know, obviously, it’s, it’s sort of a dangerous cocktail for whatever reason, meaning it, it’s exacerbating the situation, but it’s also a coping mechanism. How do you help people sort of recover from that or take care of themselves or move forward?


Louise Bryant  10:55

Well, I think the understanding has to be there to start with. Doesn’t it needs to be recognizing what happened to you. It’s like having, recognizing it as something abnormal. Your body is responding in a normal situation to an abnormal situation.

We’re not meant to be dealing with a saber toothed tiger in our life today, you know, so our body’s going into them fight or flight responses.


So, having that understanding of what’s happened to that person, and validating what has happened, because quite often we, you know, when we’re talking about the gaslighting, and then minimizing what had happened, we then begin to minimize the behavior that someone else has done around us.


So, it’s about with, with our groups of women, we talk about what’s happened, we validate we talk about the traumatic attachment that’s happened and why, why do we keep going back what’s happening in our body and our adrenaline and cortisol, that’s making us feel like that person is a safe person, you know, it’s our human nature, it’s, it’s our traumatic attachment to that person that will make us keep going back.


So, there’s a lot of stuff to unpack. And there’s quite a lot of nuance to it. And it’s quite a process but having support from other people or other women, in our case, that have been through domestic abuse and understand what you’ve been through. And we, you know, it’s like with any kind of communities like the alcohol, alcohol community, when you’ve given up alcohol, we just get it like, if you stop drinking, you just get it, it’s good to have that community, the same domestic abuse, if you’ve been for domestic abuse, we just get it. And it’s good to have that in communities of people that understand you.


Casey McGuire Davidson  12:31

So, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that talking to other people who have been in your situation, and understand what you’re going through, who don’t, you know, I always say like my husband, he, he drinks, but he’s a normal drinker. He never understood why I didn’t have an off switch. He never understood the debating. And the hours I spent, in my mind, trying to stop drinking, deciding to drink worrying about my drinking, right, I needed a Coach and a community of people who completely got what I was going through and understood and could show me the way out, and I think everybody needs that understanding. What do you feel like, say you’re in a situation and you’re like, I feel like this isn’t a really unhealthy relationship, but at the same time, I don’t know what’s real. You know, like, I’m being told this is my own fault, or I’m too sensitive, or I’m too possessive or forgetful or whatever. It is, like, what, what are the first steps of finding people recognizing that this, isn’t you? Right? Because there’s this culture of dependency as well.


Louise Bryant  13:49

Yeah, I think it’s about speaking to people. It’s definitely, I mean, you can reach out to communities online. But I think if you had a trusted friend, I would always say talk someone that you really trust. And that can be quite hard. Because sometimes we can talk to someone we think we trust, but actually, they’re not the right person to talk to. But I think having that person, if you’ve got a feeling in your gut as well, that something just isn’t right. Like, I don’t think that happened.


I know for me, what I used to do is, I started to call myself. I’d use my mobile phone, and I’d phone my number and leave myself a voice message and tell myself the story of what was happening. Because the next day, I probably wouldn’t remember all of that. And I would be told something completely different. And it would be down to me to be my fault. But I think if you’ve got a gut feeling that something isn’t right, I think you’ve just got to reach out for some help. And get someone maybe if you are not ice and again, a tactic that they will use is isolating you so that you don’t have any validation for what you’re doing. But if there is anybody that can validate the experience for you and sort of let you know that it didn’t happen like that, you’re not going crazy, then trying to get that and I know this is always quite difficult.


As I say when you’re in interviews, A relationship and they’re isolating you. There’s a reason why they’re isolating you because they don’t want you to be able to validate what’s going on.



Casey McGuire Davidson 

Hi there. If you’re listening to this episode, and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit.


The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step by step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one on one coaching. And the sobriety starter kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it. And when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time.

This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step by step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking, from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better. You’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach, you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course 


Casey McGuire Davidson  15:08

But just that idea of calling your voicemail that’s, that’s a really practical tip that I think is very useful. What else do you do is helpful in that situation you said, you know, leave yourself a voicemail so that you can remember more accurately what’s happening. Find someone you trust what, anything else?


Louise Bryant  15:28

Yeah, I think there’s also if it’s safe to do so again, I’d always say, safety is the key there. If there’s any chance that you, that the person could find these notes and use them against you, and is violent towards you, don’t leave anything lying around. But it might be that you just take notes stuff, keep a record, keep a diary, keep a journal, keep something even if it’s a voicemail on your phone. Or it’s sending a message to a trusted friend or writing an email. I had an old an email address as well that I just made up. And I sent emails to that email address and then delete them off my phone. So that there’s, I could log into a different email address. Again, this was just to validate my story. I know everyone has a version of the story, but it’s a validating my version of the story.


And I think that having a record of what’s happening, because we can easily forget as well, like, when you’re in love with somebody, when it’s a romantic relationship, you kind of want to see the good in that person and you want it to be okay. And you want to be imagining it, you don’t want to. You don’t want to think that they’re actually doing something horrible to you. So, you can even almost gaslight yourself in a way.


So, if you’re keeping a record, it’s quite useful, then to go back to that and go, ah, but you did that. And that. And that’s what I say he just because I work with women intimacy, because I know this happens for men as well. But it’s, it’s a record for yourself to be able to do that. But making sure it’s safe to do so. I’d always emphasize the fact of safety.


Obviously, being someone, I know, in the UK, we have services like women’s aid, and you’ve got the National Domestic Violence helpline, I think you’ve also got one. And if there’s, if you need to leave and you need support, leaving maybe these organizations, there might be some sort of support that can help someone to leave in the safest possible way. Because again, if you trust somebody, if you think you trust somebody, and that person turns against you, and that can also be dangerous for you. So, safety is always the top priority for you.


And if you’ve got children, these things are often going on as well. When someone leaves an abusive relationship, that can be when the violence starts or gets worse. That person is doing everything they can to pull that person and keep control. So, it’s quite can be very dangerous to leave. In some cases. So, if you’re planning to leave, and there is a history of domestic violence, I would definitely yes seeks support to get a plan. A safety planning in place so that you can leave safely.


Casey McGuire Davidson  18:02

Yeah, yeah. What, what’s sort of the profile of someone who would? Who would do this? Who would be the perpetrator? What is are there things that because I know that a lot of people they play, let’s just use the example of a guy like Mr. Nice Guy, right? Like, they’re very manipulative in the in a way that other people might not see.


Louise Bryant  18:27

Yeah, yeah. And this, that, that is one of the one of the tactics of, of the domestic abuser, and it’s the nice guy, and that’s the most confusing one. And that’s the one that will always get that. I’m sorry, love bombing would be the star sort of thing. And that’s similar to the nice guy when they’ve done something wrong, or they’re trying to get you back. Especially when they know you, they’ll pull in all their all the tactics that they knew they know to, to get you. You know, yikes. We like to have fun and we take you out for dinner by you nice presents take you on holiday. But it’s also if you’re getting into a new relationship, and somebody’s already taking the oxen to take you on holiday, buying your new phone would definitely be a big red flag and taking you on holiday, buy new clothes that aren’t maybe the kind of style that you like, but just, you know, bombarding you with gifts and, and then at a really early stage, you know, and you’d sort of get them to try and get them to back off and they’re not, that would be a kind of warning sign at the beginning. I don’t know if I answered your question.


Casey McGuire Davidson  19:30

No, that’s interesting. I actually did an episode on narcissists. Like, being in a relationship with narcissist. And I because a lot of my clients have sort of a narcissist in their life, whether it’s a parent or a current romantic partner or an ex or whatever. And I was surprised by the different types of narcissism that I didn’t realize there were four types out there. Is that something that typically plays into someone who becomes a domestic abuser or gaslight or anything like that, yeah.


Louise Bryant  20:05

And when what we were always kind of taught to do is you can’t, I would say to women on my calls, I have never met your partner, I’m not a psychotherapist, I cannot diagnose your partner with narcissism. However, they often have narcissistic behavior, which, you know, again, we know that if someone with narcissism can potentially change, but they’ve got to want to change and they’ve got to recognize they actually have an issue. And then, they’ve got to then go and get the support. And there’s no magic pill that’s going to take this tablet, and a lot of the perpetrators will play that card to the victim after they’ve been abusive. As I know, I’ve got a problem, I’ll go and get some help. I’ll go and get some therapy. And then, they’ll go 1 or 2 sessions, a bit of relationship counseling. And I know for my ex, it was, let’s do some relationship counseling, and then sort of go and Relationship Counseling Walshaw to take you out for dinner instead, because that’s a bit of a waste of time.


And, yeah, I’ve spoken to counselors as well, who said that when they’ve worked with perpetrators, they’ve said something to them. And I remember one lady said to me, it was almost like he went, Oh, I’ll put that in my pocket for later. And it’s like you’re coercing. Some Counseling Counselors can feel like they’re coercing with the perpetrator. Because counseling isn’t helpful for someone who is abusive, because it’s all about them and how they feel. Whereas someone who’s abusive needs to understand how the other person feels, and what they’ve done and how that’s impacted them.


So, it can be quite dangerous for them to go and have counseling, because then it could be Oh, it’s because of my childhood. It’s because my dad did this is because of my ADHD, it’s because of it’s because of and then it’s just making excuses for that. And again, that brings me on to the alcohol, like alcohol can make abusive behavior worse, but it doesn’t create abusive behavior. I’ve heard a lot of people say, Oh, he was only only abusive when he’s drunk. But it that’s not an excuse, because not everyone who drinks is abusive. And normally, it doesn’t.


Yeah, alcohol doesn’t make someone abusive, it just makes abuse worse.


Casey McGuire Davidson  22:08

So yeah, yeah, no, that that’s really interesting. So how did you end up getting out of your relationship? Like what support to do you need?


Louise Bryant  22:21

Well, personally, it wasn’t an easy thing to get out of the relationship. For me, my, the What happened at the end was, he had come home, we went out to a bar together to a club together, and I left the bar because he was being abusive. I came home, then he came home later, and he punched me in the stomach to wake me up. And my mom had been babysitting our son. And it all kind of kicked off, he ended up throwing my mom on the floor, because she called the police, and the police took him away. And it was actually the police that said, we are putting an injunction in now. Until and this will last for a certain amount of time. So, you can actually go and get an injunction longer term. And I think if the police hadn’t insisted on that, you know, there’s always that thing of Oh, he’ll come back, he’ll come back, he’ll but come back.


So, I think I was in a very lucky position that the police were adamant that he can’t come back and having a child as well with, in the UK, quite often whenever the police are called to a domestic, the social services are told as well. And I know a lot of women that then the Social Services get involved. And there’s, they say, Well, what are you doing to keep your child safe. And if you take that person back, we’re going to put your children into care. So, that can be a blessing. I know a lot of women have had seen that as a problem. And you know what most, but it is, that was a blessing for me, because I would do anything to protect my child and myself. But if the police hadn’t done that, and Police hadn’t been called, and I say I’m lucky because it got violent.


The problem with gaslighting and emotional abuse is, there’s no high point of what’s happening. It hasn’t kicked off to that degree of where the police are called, they remove the person from the situation, and you have that opportunity to do that. It makes it so much harder to leave when there’s no violence, in my opinion. Yeah.


Casey McGuire Davidson  24:12

Yeah. Because there’s nothing to point to as a clear, you know, and, and everything I’ve read is that, when someone is gaslighting you or abusing you, and I think they go hand in hand, and I apologize if I say the wrong things, because I’m definitely not an expert in this. But you just sort of feel this constant doubt or second guessing yourself or feeling on edge. Or feel like, your feelings are, you know, trivialized. I’ve heard people saying, You’re too sensitive, you’re overreacting. You know, it’s hard to know what that line is, right?


Louise Bryant  24:58

Yeah, and it just chips away chips away. Chipped away. And it can start so subtly as well. Just little things like, Oh, you’re going to wear that top, are you and you go out? Oh, oh, well, what’s wrong with this top? Does it not look nice? Oh, no, no, no, it’s fine. It’s fine, you know, but just that little thing. And if you said that to your friend, Jimmy said to me as I was walking out the door, you can wear that top and it sounds like you’re, What are you worried for? That’s nothing like but it’s, it’s, you know, in your head, you just he’s planted that. I say, he again, sorry. They planted that seed in you to then feel like you don’t look nice when you go out. And it kind of can start on these little things that just chip away and as they know that they can get away with more and more stuff or you kind of stopped up start to brush that off. It just gets worse. You know? Like, why but look, you’re looking at you. Everyone’s looking at you. You look drunk, you’re behaving drunk. You’re You look like a slag. You’re You look like you’re a slob. You know why you dress like that? Why are you talking to that guy like that? It escalates and gets worse.


Casey McGuire Davidson  25:55

So, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And the one thing I would say is, from everything, I’ve seen that.


I really believe that by stopping drinking, it is a step to take your power back, whether you’re in a tough situation with a partner, whether in abusive relationship, whether you are in a difficult situation at work, or you feel like you have no options in life, it is a step to take your power back.


And if you are drinking, and you are in a situation, you know, alcohol just muddies the water, it blurs the reality. So, you already are being put in a situation where you’re questioning your memories, questioning your realities, alcohol, the way it works, is to shut off parts of your brain. So, you literally cannot remember clearly, or at all things that happened. It’s also sort of makes it easier for you to be a scapegoat, right? Just the idea of like, Oh, you are drunk. Oh, you were drinking. I’ll talk to you when you’re sober. And it makes it very easy for your partner or whoever the gaslighter is to blame you.


So, by stopping drinking, even though it’s really difficult, for all the reasons it’s addictive, and it’s a coping mechanism. And it’s a habit and whatever, by stopping drinking, it is the first step to getting clarity like you were saying, putting your memories on a voicemail sending it to an email, not having that excuse for your gaslighter to use that to minimize your opinions, your thoughts, your needs.


Louise Bryant  27:40

Yeah. And you know what, you reminded me of something when, when we assumed some training, and we were talking about how women are seen when police turn up to a domestic, it’s almost like or even not just the police, but just families. It’s like, he was drunk. It’s okay for him to do what he’s done out. He’s drunk kind of minimizing his behavior. Or oh, she’s drunk, oh, she’s drunk, she deserved it. And that kind of is a real thing. And that I have witnessed as well as, as when we would get into arguments when we’ve had a drink. It’s like they’re as bad as one another. Because they’re drinking. He’s also at ease. Just yeah, he’s just reacting to her cuz she’s drunk. And it’s minimizing again, the effects but yeah, for me not being in an abusive relationship. But just being in a, in a confused state from drinking too much given up drinking is the first step to kind of going right now I’m taking control. No one can tell me that I did anything. If I get into these situations, again, I am completely of sound mind. And yeah, it can be a pain in the bum. Sometimes can’t deal but at least I know what I’m doing. And I remember and you can’t do that or you’re drunk, you’re, you know that it passes the blame to you because you’re drinking. Yeah.


Casey McGuire Davidson  28:52

And I know, it can happen in lots of areas. One of my clients worked in a very male dominated workplace within an engineering field. And she felt like she was constantly being gassed, but by her boss and her colleagues, like just minimizing her work, but also sort of reframing things that happened or say, Oh, I never said that. Or you’re too sensitive or all of those. All of those situations. It doesn’t just always happen within a personal relationship as well.


Louise Bryant  29:29

Yeah, absolutely. And this Yeah, like you say, can you happen to have from a boss it can happen from a sibling, it can happen from a teacher to it to a student, you know, the isn’t limited to, to just domestic abuse, obviously, it’s more pronounced.


Casey McGuire Davidson  29:43

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.


Louise Bryant  29:46

Coaching and Coaching in Career Coaching. There’s lots of it goes on in the workplace. And um, yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s, and it’s hard, isn’t it? Because obviously, we’ve a relationship. It’s hard sometimes to get out of a domestic abusive relationship and similar to a job, if you are limited to what your career, what you can do, where you work, to then be able to even you might be I know, I’ve coached people who are in a job that they absolutely love. But they’ve had to change their career path because their manager is a narcissist, or you know, and it’s, it’s, it’s all fair, then I’m helping them to get their head around the fact that they’re doing the right thing. Because you can’t change your boss like you. If he was in an abusive relationship, you would do your best to get out of that.


And sometimes people have abusive parents, even older parents, and adults. And with children brings with one lady I was coaching, and she was. When she was drinking, she would. She knew she was doing it, but she would have conversations with their children and their children would say, but you said this, you said there’s you know, can I do this? Yes, she can. And she just wouldn’t remember the next day. So, she wasn’t necessarily intentionally gaslighting them, but she can’t remember so because it was uncomfortable. She would just minimize it and kind of make the child feel like they were not hearing. Things were crazy. They were.


Casey McGuire Davidson  31:05

Yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s hard too and I can absolutely see how that happens. I mentioned to you a movie that you hadn’t seen. But it was a novel. And the reason I mentioned it is because it is one of the most sort of heart wrenching books and movies I’ve seen about drinking and blackouts. It’s called Girl on it, Girl on the Train. And it was, you know, in the movie, Emily Blunt stars in it as the main character. But the idea is, it’s actually about the relationship of three women with three men, and the ways in which the men, gaslight and manipulate the women through questioning invalidating the person’s sanity. And Rachel was the main character. And the issue was that, that she drank, and had frequent blackouts. And she was unable to remember her actions, which, you know, is something that I experienced, luckily, my, my husband was kinder than maybe he should have been. But the idea is that her husband was taking advantage of those opportunities to physically and psychologically abused her but convincing her the next day that she was the one who became violent, loud, etc. when he was harming her. And it’s just so you know, when you watch the movie, or read the book, you know, maybe too close to home for people right at the beginning, but it is, if you look at the relationship between alcohol and manipulation and gaslighting, and how drinking can be turned against you and weaponized, it is one of the most compelling instances I’ve seen of like you’re watching it play out in real time and going, Oh, my God, you know?


Louise Bryant  33:01

Yeah. yeah. And I think like what you said there being a trigger, I know for me, quite often with movies like that I’ve avoided in the past, because they can be a trigger for me, and it brings back stuff that’s uncomfortable, but I’m getting better.


Casey McGuire Davidson  33:15

I mean, I think that I suggest to anyone, like be very careful of what media you consume. And if something is hitting you really, really hard to close to home or not bringing up thoughts and feelings that not drinking is something positive you’re doing for yourself step away to later when I was in very early sobriety, I started reading a book that I think was called, you know, drunk mom or something. And I just started reading it and I was like, No, I can this is not going to help me right now. And I had to put it away and walk away and read something else you know?


Louise Bryant  33:53

Yeah, yeah. And the same was I work with a lot of women who’ve been pre domestic abuse so sometimes my time to watch a bit up it’s just something that’s no but my God I did I do the same thing.


Casey McGuire Davidson  34:03

Yeah. And people are like, what sobriety podcasts Do you listen to? I’m like, just the ones where I’m interviewing there was good. I spend all my time talking about drinking and not drinking.


Louise Bryant  34:15

Yeah, we have to protect ourselves, don’t we? When we’re not you know, when you work in this space and you know working with people with this you have to have that time that boundary and that’s another thing you know, we’ve working with, you know, securing yourself not or, you know, surviving yourself from domestic abuse of boundaries and if you can limit the amount of time spent with the person who’s gaslighting you and protecting your space and doing the work doing you know, the self-care, getting the help gets talking to somebody, you know, maybe reaching out to a therapist or a coach or a you know, support group so that you can talk about what you think you’re thinking so you don’t feel like you’re going crazy. Just to voice it, if you don’t have someone around you that is safe to speak to.


Casey McGuire Davidson  35:05

Definitely. I love that you said boundaries, because I think that is one of the first things that that people can do in almost any space. So can you talk to me a little bit about what are some of the boundaries that people can set either internal or external, if they’re in that situation?


Louise Bryant  35:24

Yeah, I think it’s, it’s harder when you’re still in the relationship with somebody. And I think that having a set of clear boundaries, you I think it starts with yourself, I think you’ve got to have boundaries for yourself and what you how you expect people to treat you, if you’re drinking, and you feel like this person is always doing, saying these things to you, when you’re drinking, maybe consider stopping drinking might be one of the definite first points so that you can then validate that feeling.


But if you’ve got somebody who you’re not with anymore, but you have a child with, again, setting time boundaries, maybe having a response time to when you reply to a message, again, keeping yourself very, very safe, you might want to, again, until I work a lot of women who out of an abusive relationship, so that still having to deal with that person through child contacts, or they go through court cases of divorce and stuff. But you know, minimizing your contact with that person, maybe you could give someone what I did is, I got a spare phone. And I would give that to somebody else. And I said, you know, you answered their messages, it was a very basic phone, didn’t have all like your smart kind of emails, and Facebook and all of that on it, it was literally text messages, you can now don’t let download apps that the messages can’t be deleted, so that if they say stuff that’s abusive to you, there’s always a record of it. And just giving yourself time. You don’t have to respond to somebody straightaway.


I always use the analogy of like a tennis ball, if you’re playing a game of tennis with someone, if they pass you the ball, and you throw it back to them, they got to pass you the ball again. So, just hold on to that ball, you don’t have to play it back, they might throw a few balls at you, but they’ll soon run out and then they’ll stop responding. So, if, again, if it’s safe to do so. And there’s no need to have that kind of tennis match with them, of just conversations that don’t need to be had or will just, you know, creating that boundary, they reckon that a year of no contact with somebody is a way to kind of get them completely out of your, your thoughts and sis and then you know, having that response, that trigger response, that kind of traumatic attachment.


But yeah, setting boundaries for yourself, I think if you have expectations, they say you only allow people to treat you is different. This is different in a domestically abusive relationship. But in general, you out there, you wait. We only allow people to treat us a little bit better than we treat ourselves.


So, being really kind to yourself, speaking nicely to yourself, doing the self-care, meditating, journaling, and just doing nice things for yourself. If someone’s automatizing you constantly and doing all these things, they can’t change your thoughts, and you can work on the inner stuff. And then once you start doing the inner work, the outer stuff, or then you’ll start to hopefully manifest what you want from the outside.


Casey McGuire Davidson  38:14

And that is hopefully something that’s very good. In a positive way about the internet, I know that in you know, my member community and in other online groups of women who are stopping drinking, it can be a place to find that support and validation and being built up that you may not have in your personal life or in your relationship. I just wanted to mention mentioned something that I see.


So, I do core energy coaching with women, I usually do it when they hit 100 days. And there is this cycle that women typically get in when they’re drinking that is I think would play into to a greater extent if you were in a situation of being gas lit, so it’s these various energies but typically when you’re gearing up to drink, you’re at level two which is known as the fighter, but it’s a level where you feel irritation, resentment, diff defensiveness, blame, you want to control things right. Those are all the emotions a lot of people feel when they want to drink. They, you know, I deserve to drink. This is my one reward. My boss’s a nightmare. I can’t handle my kids. My partner doesn’t support me. Whatever it is those emotions. Then you wake up the next morning and you feel a very level one which is very, like you are a victim meaning you have no power over your life. So, you tend to beat yourself up. Why did I do it again? Why can’t I get it together? I’m a terrible person. I should be a better mother. All these things when you wake up after drinking.


But then, most of us kick into level three, which is overcompensating. Over you know, being over really kind of doing all the things so that no one can kind of see that we were drinking too much. Like, nothing to see here. And what I see women do is like, it’s almost like you drink because you’re more comfortable or it’s safer to beat yourself up and to be legitimately angry or resentful at the world around you. It’s like this form of I’m uncomfortable or scared to be angry at someone so I’m going to self-sabotage and then blame myself for it. Is that does any of that resonate in this situation or not?


Louise Bryant  40:32

Yeah, yeah. I think the that that self-sabotaging and what was coming up again, I think like having speaking assertively to people and just being assertive and knowing what you want and what, how you want to come across, again, keeping yourself very, very safe, in a sense of if we could become quite passive. And I think being assertive and just saying what you want.


Casey McGuire Davidson  40:56

So, will you summarize for us? I know, we’ve touched on a lot of different aspects of gaslighting, domestic abuse, how to take your power back signs, will you just summarize the key things that we need to know about this topic?


Louise Bryant  41:11

Yeah, of course, of course.


So, I just think that gaslighting is definitely a tactic that’s used to gain control and power, like any form of domestic abuse, the whole point of their abuse is to gain power and control over their victims.


So, if you can just remember that and if you could just think about that, if you’re in an abusive relationship, that every behavior that they do is to gain power and control over you, it’s not anything else, but that so that would definitely be something that I would think about. And they’re always wanting you to.


With gaslighting, they’re always want you to second guess yourself, and damage your confidence. And quite often, that comes alongside keeping you isolated from friends and family so that your feelings are not validated. And some of the common signs of gaslighting if you’re, you know, again, if you want to fight, think about what your how you can help yourself if you’ve been gaslit one of the things to recognize the signs. And if you’re getting any of the signs like that your partner or your boss, or your parent knows we spoke about before is making you, is denying the reality or twisting the truth of what you’re saying maybe they’re minimizing your concerns. They might be blaming you like switching the blame onto you from what they’ve done. They undermine your confidence. And as I said before, they can isolate you. And they just leave you feeling really confused. I would.


Yeah. So, I’ve noticed for them, then signs to start with, and then recognizing that they often come along with other tactics of abuse. So, as we spoke about before that, you know, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse, digital abuse, and manipulation.


So, if you’re having any of them other signs, speak to somebody who’s safe to do so. And, yeah, I’d always say trust your instinct as well. If you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. And if you can seek some support, as I say, I know in the UK, we’ve got domestic abuse helpline or domestic violence helpline, I think they still call it and you’ve got women’s aid, refuge, solace. Again, I’m not 100% sure what they have in states for support. If you’re in immediate danger, I always say call the police always call the police if you’re in immediate danger. And document in your experiences, just making sure that you can leave yourself a voice now or send it. Like I said, set up a fake email, send an email, delete the original that you’re sending, setting your boundaries, and focusing on your self-care if you’re drinking, maybe consider giving up drinking or cutting down your drinking, especially when you’re around the abusive person and educating yourself around domestic abuse and the tactics. So yeah, I think that would be everything does that sound like that?


Casey McGuire Davidson  44:20

That that is incredibly helpful. That’s super helpful. And the one that I wanted to ask about further that you had mentioned was about counseling and therapy and help, you know, sometimes go into couples counseling can be a, a tactic they use but then you also said sometimes it’s not that helpful, because it becomes about all the reasons that they’re, you know, acting in this way. So, what do you recommend for, let’s say, a woman in this situation, which would it be better for her to try to go to therapy on her own or the couples counseling or how, you know, you’ve worked with women so what have you seen as options?


Louise Bryant  44:59

Yeah, I mean, no I also do Couples Counseling. And if a couple coming to me where there’s any kind of domestic abuse, I would just say, I can’t. I can’t work with you. I can work with you separately. Again, I wouldn’t work with a perpetrator as such in Counseling, because again, they’re just going to. Counseling is about the person. I mean, you’re a Coach as well, I know for my coaching is you’re focused on your client, it’s all about what is it, how they’re affected by stuff. So, counseling can be quite dangerous for perpetrator, if you, if they say, they’re going to go and have some counseling, because they’re just going to give, it’s going to give them reasons why they behave the way they do.


And I would definitely say, as a victim, I would get some counseling yourself to have someone that you can talk to have someone who can validate your feelings, and you can just speak in it because it’s completely confidential, it’s 100% safe, the person has no motive who you’re talking to. It’s just about you, them an outsider, they’re not going to have any kind of emotions or feelings attached to it, like talking to their mom or your mom. I know from my experience, trying to talk to my perpetrators mum, who I thought understood, because she witnessed a lot of stuff. They don’t want it to not be okay, because in my experience, if we broke up, that meant he’d be going back to her house. So, she’d want to keep the peace between us. Oh, come on, come on, let’s help you sort it out. So, you know, it’s again, thinking if someone might have an ulterior motive to keeping you in that relationship, or, or, you know, I’ve also got a podcast as well on how to support someone who’s going through domestic abuse.


Casey McGuire Davidson  46:38

So, that’s always a good one. That’s a good one to kind of listen to, if you know someone, because people can, will use. Send me that link. I’d love to include it in the show notes. That sounds very helpful.


Louise Bryant  46:42

Yeah, yeah, we’ve got a few there’s the girl that I helped run a run an organization within in the UK, we’ve done quite a few podcasts around different parts of domestic abuse. So, it’s definitely I’ll share them with you.


Casey McGuire Davidson  46:55

But yeah, I’ll put them in the show notes. If someone’s listening to this and wants to dive further.


Louise Bryant  47:00

Yeah, cause it could just be it’s really hard to when you haven’t been through domestic abuse, it’s hard to understand why someone keeps going back, or they keep where they’ve left somebody.


So, why are they still going on about it? Why are they still traumatized, because they’re safe. And it’s just having that understanding, sometimes from someone who’s going through an abusive relationship. It’s really, really hard to leave. And having standing and being that supportive person. But again, protecting your own boundaries. I always say to someone who’s supporting someone who’s going through domestic abuse, you need to have boundaries, too. And yeah, we cover that in the podcast. But yeah, I could cut off on a tangent.


Casey McGuire Davidson  47:37

That was super helpful. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. This is a really important topic. And it’s definitely deeply intertwined with alcohol, drinking, remembering the other person drinking all those things.


So, thank you for giving us some tips, things to look for understanding about what’s out there to support women who might be listening to this and dealing with some spectrum of this situation.


Louise Bryant  48:06

Yes, thank you for having me.


Casey McGuire Davidson  48:09

And yeah, how can people find you if they want to learn more about your work?


Louise Bryant  48:13

Well, I’m on Instagram @louisebryantcoach, and also my podcast has its own Instagram page and secrets in the powder room. And www.louisebryant.coach is my website.


Casey McGuire Davidson  48:24

So, yeah, great. Awesome. Well, thank you so much.


Louise Bryant  48:28

Thank you for having me.


Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday podcast.

If you’re interested in learning more about me, the work I do, and access free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol. Please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it. And join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 


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