What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. This happens when they try to convince you that you are going crazy. The name originated from the film “Gas Light”, which in translation from English sounds like “Gas Light”. It was filmed in 1944, where the husband manipulates his wife to the point that she thinks she is losing her mind. There was a gas lamp in the attic of their house, he made the light dimmer. When the heroine of the film told him about this, he convinced her that it seemed to her. He tries to doubt the adequacy of the perception of this world in order to gain more power, makes the victim doubt reality. Thus, a person ceases to trust his perception.
In fact, it works much better than we can imagine. Anyone is subject to gaslighting, and this is a common abuse technique. This is done slowly, so the victim is unaware of how much brainwashed she is.
Who are gazlayers?
Psychologists say they are most often dictators, narcissists and people with personality disorders. They do this in order to make a person invulnerable so that the victim becomes insecure. They rarely feel guilty.
We may encounter gaslighting in our daily life: in friendships, in a marriage, or at work. But such a person is difficult at first glance to identify, given his insidious nature. It usually starts very subtly when the other person “corrects” your thinking, refutes your statements, or devalues or rejects your emotions. This continues until you gradually begin to doubt your thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and even your memory.
Constant gaslighting can also lead to a person’s vulnerability to various mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, codependency, and others.
Signs of gaslighting in relationship
Here are some tips to help you determine if you have gaslighting in your relationship:
- Constantly feel confused or as if going crazy.
- You often have doubts about yourself (for example, “Am I too emotional?”, “Did this really happen?”).
- You have a hard time trusting yourself and other people.
- Constantly assuming that you did something wrong (feeling that it is always your fault).
- Feeling the need to apologize (leading to over-apologizing).
- Making excuses for other people’s actions (or explaining why they did something that hurt you).
- Feeling like you need to prove everything.
- You regularly feel misunderstood and alone.
Do you notice anything in common with you in the above statements? Many gaslighting statements begin with the word “you.” This is because the gaslighter is an expert at identifying perceived flaws in the other person and almost never admits or takes personal responsibility for influencing his own statements or behavior.
Awareness of this type of psychological abuse is an important element in healing and moving forward. The ability to discern or recognize that someone is doing this to you is an important first step.
If you feel like you’ve been gassed, the answer is confirmation. Talk to a trusted person to give you feedback on what you’ve been through. It’s helpful to be honest about your experiences and get someone’s point of view.
However, if you’ve been gaslighting for a long time, it’s understandable if you’re having a hard time figuring out who is really trustworthy. In this case, it is recommended to contact a psychotherapist who will help you navigate what you are going through. Through treatment or support groups, you can increase self-awareness, restore confidence in yourself and your intuition, and gain practical tools to feel empowered in your relationships.
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