Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse that makes you question your beliefs and perception of reality. It can happen to anyone, especially in romantic relationships.
Typically, gaslighters are seeking to gain power and control over the other person, by making them question their own judgment and intuition.
Gaslighters don’t always act with malicious intent. Actually, they may not even realize that they are gaslighting another person.
Also, gaslighting is not always severe. Many times it comes in milder forms.
At the end of the day though, we should not bother with what the gaslighter’s intent is. What really matters is, that over time this type of manipulation can wear down someone’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
Examples of gaslighting are often found in situations where there are emotional ties attached.
Gaslighting behaviours are thus often found in interactions such as between friends or colleagues, a boss to an employee, or more commonly between romantic partners.
Signs of gaslighting include:
- Insist you said or did things you know you didn’t do
- Deny your recollection of events
- Express doubts to others about your feelings, behavior, and state of mind
- Insist they’re right and refuse to consider facts or your perspective
- Change the subject or refuse to listen when confronted about a gaslighting behavior
- Tell you that if you acted differently, they wouldn’t treat you like this, so it’s really your fault
- Attempt to smooth things over with loving words that don’t match their actions
- Trivializing their hurtful behaviurs or words by telling you that you are overreacting and saying something like, “It was just a joke” or “You’re way too sensitive” Recognizing that you or someone you care about is being gaslighted is not always as straightforward as it might seem
Some key reactions to gaslighting are:
- Often apologizing without proper reason
- Frequently being nervous, anxious or worried
- Low self esteem
- Often wondering if you’re too sensitive
- Believing you’re to blame when things go wrong
- Feeling frustrated or having a sense of giving up ness
- Nothing you do is good enough
Being gaslighted can also show up as changes in one’s behaviour such as:
- Always trying to please the gaslighter
- Frequently questioning whether you said the right thing or made the right choice
- Making excuses for the person gaslighting you to family and friends
- Being anxious to get everything done “correctly”
- Giving up on things you used to enjoy
And finally, what do you do if you do recognize that someone is gaslighting you?
- In order begin getting yourself “back”, you may need to cut the gaslighter off.
- You can start by putting boundaries to you! Yes you! Stop trying to please the gaslighter even if it means that person not having such a high opinion of you. or even losing them.
- Don’t engage in an argument that’s clearly a power struggle.
- Discuss with a friend or family member this article and ask them if they recognize in it the person gaslighting you.
- Love yourself. Be kind to you and don’t allow anybody to give you less than you deserve. Even if the gaslighter is super nice to you sometimes, try to focus on how often what you experience is actually too toxic.