You’ve probably heard the term being tossed around a bit loosely, but do you know what gaslighting means. Would you even know if it’s being done to you?
The term comes from the movie Gaslight from the 1930s. The woman is manipulated by her husband and convinced that her experience of the lights dimming in the house is a hallucination and part of her mental illness.
It’s a form of abuse if you think about it when someone is negating your experience to think that your experience isn’t real. It’s quite common in toxic relationships, so how can you spot if it’s happening to you?
Lies upon lies
We all tell little white lies from time to time but without the intent to cause harm. When someone is telling lies and even when caught in their lies, they refuse to admit the truth.
It doesn’t matter how much evidence you have; they will still be lying to you and try to convince you that they’re telling the truth. It’s also pretty difficult to trust someone once you’ve caught them in a blatant lie.
Change how others see you.
Someone who’s Gaslighting you can make you feel like they’re understanding and on your side while at the same time telling others the exact opposite. They can also take it further and make you feel like everyone else thinks less of you.
This is a very effective manipulative technique that can discredit you in the eyes of others and your own! If you don’t believe them, they’ll keep trying until you do.
It starts slowly
When you’re being gaslit it’s hard to understand how it all started because it happens slowly over time. You might even find yourself making excuses or even letting a few things slide, but the situation only gets worse and you’re the one who suffers.
Use positive reinforcement
Gaslighters can make you seek their approval by praising you after they’ve criticized you. This is to try and trick you into thinking that they’re not all bad and overlooking their manipulation.
They try to confuse you and make you feel like you can’t find stability on your own. Being confused weakens you and their goal is to wear you down to the point of making you seek the stability you need in them.
Makes you feel like you’re overreacting
When you’re having a completely normal reaction to their lies or deceit they’ll make you feel like what you’re thinking and feeling is completely wrong. It’s a tactic to make you buy into their lies so that they don’t get caught in their lies.
Place the blame on others
When you’ve come to them with valid concerns and even when you’re equipped with evidence, they might try to push the blame on to those you’re close with. Making you think that your friends or family who have your best interests at heart are against you.
They’ll try to convince you that everyone but themselves are crazy and acting irrationally. So you might even lose trust in your friends or family because you’ve been told that they’re crazy.
If you find yourself in a relationship where someone is Gaslighting you, don’t feel ashamed! It can happen to anyone and it takes a toll on your mental health, find a safe way to get out of the relationship and if you need help, you can always talk to a mental health professional.
Dr Saadiqah Hajat