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The Fake Photo on the Mirror Trick – Break Free from Gaslighting!

Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Ross’s new Human Magnet Syndrome book 

It is time you become aware of the gaslighter’s primary trick of the trade. This one has been used to turn you against yourself, all the while keeping you under their thumb. They knew that if you saw your true and natural inner beauty, the resulting self-esteem and self-love would foil their diabolical plans to gaslight you. Little did you know that early in your relationship they swapped out your psychological mirrors with ones that had “fake photos” glued onto them.

It is a sad truth that the pathetic and unlovable person in the mirror who you have always identified with was never you. These photos that you have mistakenly but understandably believed were your true reflection were doctored to reflect only the narcissist’s implanted narrative. It is time for you to hear the truth: the person you always thought (hoped) you were actually exists. The reflection you see, which you look at with disgust, disappointment, and shame, is not you. In fact, it isn’t even a real reflection.

The gaslighter’s need to be the most beautiful person in their constricted, narcissistic world is insatiable. It contorts your face into ugly proportions or reduces it to a group of hard-to-look-at imperfections. By pasting a fake photo on your mirror, their veneer-thin belief of being the most beautiful could be sustained.

Your narcissist’s perception of you has always been skewed to their liking or, even worse, to their need. If they recognize and verbally affirm your beauty, it is more than likely that will they claim it as another well-deserved and highly coveted trophy. Your “claimed” beauty became their prized compliment- inducing possession that, at best, would make them temporarily happy with themselves.

An important step toward achieving Self-Love Abundance, the primary goal of Self-Love Deficit Disorder™ (codependency) recovery, is to metaphorically throw away that distorted mirror and find the one that accurately reflects your imperfect self.  Without the gaslighter’s distorted “photo” on your “mirror,” you will begin to see yourself for who you really are – completely beautiful despite the imperfections!  Know that it will take some time to unconditionally fall in love with yourself or see perfection in what the mirror reflects back at you.   Take that time—and more.  Anything as good as Self-Love Abundance is worth the difficult healing and recovery work, and the time needed to reach it.

Go to Mirror

I want you to step up to your nearest mirror. Once in front of it, I want you to recite the following statements:

  • The reflection I see is 100% true; it is all me.
  • I will allow myself to see what a true reflection of me is and will withhold any judgment of it.
  • I verify and accept this imperfect-but-beautiful reflection as my true (and accurate) self.
  • If my mirror should reflect a not-good-enough or shameful person, I will reject it, walk away, and shake the narcissist’s gaslit photo out of my head.
  • When I am ready, I will return to my mirror and absorb the reflection—without judgment.
  • I will allow myself to gaze upon unrecognized and unappreciated perfection and, maybe for the first time, see the person I always was but was never allowed to see.
  • I will learn to love myself, as I need it very much.  


The Fake Photo on the Mirror Trick – Break Free from Gaslighting!

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC

Ross Rosenberg is a psychotherapist, international speaker, author, professional trainer, and codependency (renamed to Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), narcissism, trauma and sex addiction expert.  He owns Clinical Care Consultants, a Chicago suburb counseling center and The Self-Love Recovery Institute. His trainings, which feature his original work, have been presented in 30 states and twice in Europe.  

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APA Reference
Rosenberg, R. (2018). The Fake Photo on the Mirror Trick – Break Free from Gaslighting!. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Jan 2018
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