The most prevalent topic of discussion when it comes to gaslight is romantic relationships. However, as we’ll see shortly, it’s just as widespread in the job.
Victims will be equipped with the tools to break free from gaslighting abuse by exposing their strategies and equipping victims with useful knowledge and resources. Let’s talk about some gaslighting examples and how to deal with them.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a type of manipulation used in abusive relationships. It’s a sneaky, often subtle form of emotional abuse in which the bully or abuser makes the target doubt their own judgments and reality. After a while, the victim of gaslighting begins to doubt their own sanity.
Gaslighting is most common in dating and marital relationships, although it can also happen in dominating friendships or between family members.
This type of emotional abuse is used by toxic people to establish control over others, including friends, family members, and even employees.
How Gaslighting Works
Gaslighting is a deception technique that skews your perception of reality. You often second-guess yourself, your recollections, and your perceptions when someone is gaslighting you.
You’re left disoriented and wondering if there’s something wrong with you after conversing with the individual gaslighting you. These kinds of tactics might perplex you and make you doubt your judgment and mental health.
Where Did “Gaslighting” Get Its Name?
The term gaslighting stems from Patrick Hamiltion’s 1938 play “Angel Street,” which was later adapted into Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Gas Light.”
A manipulative husband tries to make his wife believe she is losing her mind in the thriller film by making small alterations in her environment, such as gradually lowering the flame on a gaslight.
He not only disrupts her environment and convinces her that she is nuts, but he also abuses and controls her, isolating her from her family and friends.
As a result, the wife is continually questioning herself, her thoughts, perceptions, and recollections. She also feels neurotic, hypersensitive, and out-of-control, which is exactly the goal of gaslighting: to make the target feel off-balance and unsure of what is true and what isn’t.
Because this film accurately depicted manipulative people’s controlling and destructive behaviors, psychologists and counselors coined the term “gaslighting” to describe this form of emotionally abusive behavior.
Signs of Gaslighting
Gaslighting can lead to anxiety, sadness, and other mental health issues, including addiction and suicidal thoughts.
As a result, it’s critical to understand when you’re being duped by gaslighting. Consider whether any of the following assertions are correct:
- You question your thoughts and reality, attempting to persuade yourself that the treatment you are receiving isn’t so horrible or that you are overly sensitive.
- You begin to doubt your own judgment and perceptions: You’re hesitant to speak up or express your feelings. You’ve discovered that expressing your viewpoint typically makes you feel worse in the end, so you choose to remain silent.
- You feel exposed and insecure: You frequently feel as if you’re “walking on eggshells” with your partner/friend/family member. You’re also tense and low on self-esteem.
- You feel isolated and powerless, believing that everyone around you thinks you’re “weird,” “crazy,” or “unstable,” as the gaslighter claims. You’ll feel stuck and alone as a result of this.
- You’re unsure if you’re who they claim you are: The comments of the gaslighter make you feel stupid, stupid, inadequate, or mad. You may even find yourself repeating these statements to yourself from time to time.
- You are dissatisfied with yourself and the person you have become: For example, you may feel weak and passive, despite the fact that you used to be stronger and more assertive.
- You’re confused: The gaslighter’s actions perplex you as if they’re Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- You’re concerned that you’re overly sensitive: since the person says things like “I was just joking” or “you need stronger skin” to diminish harsh behaviors or comments.
- When you’re around this individual, you get a sensation of impending doom: you get the feeling that something bad is about to happen. It’s possible that you’ll feel threatened and on edge for no apparent reason.
- You spend a lot of time apologizing: You feel compelled to apologize for everything you do or who you are all of the time.
- You’re self-conscious: You never feel like you’re “good enough.” You make an effort to meet others’ expectations and requests, even if they are unjustified.
- You’re doubtful of yourself: You regularly doubt your ability to recall specific things from the past. For fear of being wrong, you may have given up trying to share what you remember.
- You continuously apologize for what you do or who you are, assuming you have disappointed others or made a mistake.
- You’re unsure what’s wrong with you: you’re unsure if something is essentially wrong with you. In other words, you are concerned that you are mentally ill.
- You have trouble making judgments because you doubt yourself: You’d rather delegate decision-making to your partner, friend, or family member, or avoid making any decisions at all.
How to Deal With Gaslighting
Maintaining a sense of reality might help a person deal with gaslighting. They can do this by keeping track of evidence to prove that they aren’t hallucinating. The following methods can be used:
1. Keeping a journal: Journaling can be used to keep track of gaslighting episodes. They should keep the journal in a secure location where the abusive individual will not be able to find it.
2. Recording voice memos: Someone can quickly jot down what just transpired in a secure location for future reference.
3. Taking photographs: A person can use a cell phone to snap images that confirm their memories are true if it is safe to do so. A hidden disposable camera may be a preferable choice if the abusive individual has access to their phone.
4. Email: A person can send the proof to a trusted friend or family member instead of keeping it on a device at home or on a shared computer.
These suggestions may assist a person in accepting that their impressions are accurate, which can be beneficial to their mental health. This evidence would later be used to help someone file a lawsuit against an abusive partner, family member, or employer.
In addition, a person may gain from:
5. Support groups: Gaslighting can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health. Talking to others who have gone through similar experiences can help you feel less alone. Online support groups and in-person support groups are both available.
6. Therapy: If possible, speaking with a therapist who is trained in the type of abuse a person is suffering may be beneficial. A therapist can provide a safe environment for someone to express themselves honestly.
7. Trusting their instincts: Once a person has learned to trust themselves, they may retrain themselves to listen to their instincts and judgments. This can help a person reclaim their sense of self over time.
8. Resisting the urge to argue: If you have evidence of gaslighting, you might be tempted to utilize it to prove that you are not “crazy.” However, the abusive person’s behavior is unlikely to change as a result of this. Furthermore, if someone discloses that they have acquired evidence, the abusive individual may react or attempt to destroy it.
After reading about gaslighting on a device shared with an abusive individual, it’s crucial to remember to remove the search and browsing history.
How To Fight Gaslighting
Recognizing the presence of gaslighting is often the first step in protecting yourself from it. You can more easily define your own reality once you realize you’re being misled.
In an ideal world, someone who is being abused would seek assistance and possibly quit the relationship. However, there are situations when obstacles hinder a person from leaving immediately away. It’s possible that the victim relies on their abuser financially, or if there are children involved.
Here are some strategies to help you protect yourself if you’re a victim of gaslighting:
Take no responsibility for the acts of others
It’s possible that the other person will accuse you of inciting the abuse. If you avoid the activities that have previously angered them, the gaslighter will most likely come up with new reasons to abuse you.
Don’t put yourself in trouble to protect their sentiments
You will never entirely satisfy the other person’s demand for control, even if you devote your entire life to making them happy. Gaslighters are frequently seeking to fill a hole in their own lives. They will not, however, mend their broken heart by breaking yours.
Keep in mind what you know
It doesn’t mean the other person is correct just because they sound confident. Your side of the story might never reach the gaslighter. However, their point of view is not the same as reality. It also has no bearing on your personal identity.
Negotiate on your terms, not theirs
You’re unlikely to have a meaningful conversation if the other person is creating facts. Instead of delivering your argument, you may spend all your time disputing what is true. The opposing person may claim victory in an argument by using gaslighting techniques. However, you are not obligated to accept results based on a flawed premise.
Make your safety a top priority
Gaslighting causes victims to distrust their own judgment. However, if you believe you are in danger, you can always leave. Before calling the cops, you don’t have to establish that a gaslighter’s threats of violence are genuine. It’s often safer to take every threat seriously.
Keep in mind that you are not alone
It might be beneficial for you to share your experiences with others. Emotional support and validation can come from friends and family.
Therapy is a safe environment in which you can talk about your feelings and recollections without fear of being judged. A therapist can assist you in distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy behaviors. They can also teach you how to avoid psychological manipulation. A therapist may be able to assist you in developing a safety plan for leaving the relationship in some instances.
Gaslighting and Narcissism
A narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness in which people deceive and deceive others in their lives.
People with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are extremely important and that the world revolves around them. They’re self-absorbed, and they don’t care about others unless it serves a purpose for them. They lack empathy and neither the skill nor the desire to understand how another person feels or experiences life.
Narcissists are demanding and need attention and praise. They have high aspirations for themselves, their lives, and their futures, and they usually use others to help them reach their goals.
A narcissistic personality disordered individual may:
- project an inflated sense of self-importance
- exaggerate their achievements
- respond to criticism with anger
- use others for personal gain
- expect special consideration or special treatment
When To Seek Help
It could be an indication of psychological abuse if a person believes that someone close to them is gaslighting them. Domestic abuse hotlines can provide assistance and help people in relationships understand what they’re going through.
People who have been gaslighted in various situations may benefit from seeing a therapist. A therapist can assist a person deal with the mental health implications of gaslighting and rebuilding trust in themselves by providing an objective perspective on the problem.
How To Get Back On Your Feet After Being Gaslighted
Gaslighting is a sneaky form of abuse that relies on the fear of being found out. A person’s ability to trust everything they hear, feel, and remember might deteriorate over time. Validation is one of the most crucial things a survivor can receive.
Any connections that a survivor withdrew from during the abuse may benefit from reformation. Other people can vouch for one’s shaky memories. Others’ sympathy can help you feel less ashamed. As a person’s social circle is rebuilt, they can re-learn to trust others and themselves.
Those who have been subjected to gaslighting may benefit from counseling. A therapist is an objective third party who can assist in reinforcing one’s perception of reality. A person’s self-esteem and control over their lives can be rebuilt through treatment. A therapist can also help with any mental health issues that have arisen as a result of verbal abuse and mental abuse, such as PTSD. A person can recover from gaslighting with time and help.
What Leads to Gaslighting Behavior?
People who gaslight are generally motivated by a desire to have control over or obtain things without having to work for them or take responsibility for their actions. These people may persuade themselves that what they are doing to you is for your benefit and that you should thank them. Despite their outward appearances, they are frequently anxious about the prospect of losing you.
Gaslighting can be harmful to you if you don’t seek treatment, regardless of whether the abuser recognizes what they’re doing. They don’t want their victims to be able to think for themselves, make decisions, or have their own friends or personal lives.
Even if the spouse is certain they saw an inappropriate text message or overheard a discussion to imply otherwise, this type of gaslighting people who is unfaithful in a toxic relationship may try to persuade their partner that they are insane or dreaming things. When victims confront the person who is doing the abuse, the abuser partner may utilize strategies to make the victim doubt what they saw or heard.
These types of people at work can disturb your work performance as well as harm your emotional and physical wellbeing. If you are subjected to this type of harassment at work, you may lose focus and struggle to complete your tasks. Stress can force you to make blunders you’ve never done before or avoid meetings you don’t want to attend.
Keep in mind that you are not to fault for what you are going through. The individual who is gaslighting you has chosen to act in this manner. They are in charge of their conduct. Nothing you did influenced their decision, and you won’t be able to influence what they do.
You can learn how to make healthy choices and create boundaries with the person who participates in gaslighting through counseling. You could also reach a point when you’re ready to end the relationship.