Gaslighting is real

Gaslighting is a thing.

We’ve all probably heard of it, but do we really understand it? Do we recognize it when it happens to us? Do we understand the impact? Do we know what to do?

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1944 movie “Gaslight” and is a type of psychological manipulation that undermines the victim’s confidence in their own judgment and ability to distinguish truth and reality from lies and deception. The gaslighter typically seeks to gain power or control by distorting reality, sowing self-doubt and confusion in the other person’s mind. It’s abuse, and the experience can be devastating to self-esteem, sometimes even traumatic – especially if the gaslighter knows and leverages the victim’s history and triggers.

The gaslighter isn’t always aware that they’re doing it, and it isn’t always intentional. Sure, they may be a narcissist, but they also could have mental health issues or trauma of their own and no conscious intent to cause harm. Gaslighting is most common in interpersonal and romantic relationships, but it can also show up at work. Oh, and it’s not always the boss who is doing the gaslighting – it can be a colleague, a teammate, or even a direct report!

So how can you tell if gaslighting is happening? Here are just a few signs that the potential victim might experience:

  • feeling uncertain of their perceptions
  • frequently questioning if they are remembering things correctly
  • believing they are irrational or “crazy”
  • feeling incompetent, unconfident, or worthless
  • constantly apologizing to the abusive person
  • defending the abusive person’s behavior to others
  • becoming withdrawn or isolated from others
  • Doubt your ability to be successful in life or career

What do you do? It depends on the situation. But it is very unlikely that you can get the other person to change, so you need to take care of yourself. That can be hard to do if you’re already doubting yourself, so you need to enlist someone you trust.

If it’s in the workplace, you should gather evidence, keep track of what’s happening, write it down, talk to someone trustworthy, and have someone fact-check. Take a break, step away, and shift your perspective if you can. Listen to what you’re saying to yourself and change your inner dialogue.

If it’s at home or in a relationship, you really should get help, because it can escalate.

Here’s the thing – it might not be happening to you, but it might be happening to someone you know and love. What do you do then? Again, it’s hard to make someone else change, especially if they aren’t ready. The best thing you can do is be there for them, offer support and validation. Believe them. Reassure them that they aren’t going crazy. Build trust. Help them recognize what is and isn’t normal. Spend time with them so that they can get space away from the situation. Be prepared with a phone number, such as the National Domestic Abuse Hotline or local support groups, in case they ask.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the pages,

Maggie

*****

https://www.thehotline.org/resources/what-is-gaslighting/

National Domestic Abuse Hotline 800-799-7233

0
(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *