Gaslighting and how to identify it,

Gaslighting

Gaslighting and how to identify it,

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Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation used in abusive relationships that can often make you question your own sanity.

Gaslighting comes from the 1944 film, Gaslight, where a husband convinces his loving wife that she has a mental illness, every time he dims their gas-fuelled lights, he claims she is hallucinating. Making her think she can no longer trust her own perception of reality. Gaslighting is more common than most would believe. You can see it happen all around you if you pay close enough attention.

Gaslighting is often used in intimate relationships to undermine partners, and it eventually makes it easier to control the other partner. Continuously telling a partner their version of events didn’t take place or that something didn’t happen at all when it did, makes them question their own sanity and memory.

There are several ways that gaslighting can be used in relationships, work, or just in general.

  • Countering – Where you question a person. i.e., Did that happen? Are you sure that’s what happened? They might even tell you, you have a bad memory or are forgetful.
  • Withholding – Where they make it seem as if you are confusing them. They will claim that they don’t understand what you are talking about.
  • Stereotyping – This is generally used with gender or race. i.e., If a woman claims that something happened, usually the “perpetrator” will claim that she is a woman that is irrational or crazy because “all” women are irrational and crazy.

Many people gaslight others without realizing they are doing it, and it can become a bad habit quickly. It is often picked up from parents or previous partners, and it can be challenging to break this bad habit. You have to want to change and actively pay attention to how you interact with others.

You could be in a gaslighting relationship if any items below resonate with you,

  • Questioning whether you are too sensitive several times a day
  • You are always apologizing to your partner
  • You make excuses up for your partner’s behavior
  • You feel that something is wrong, but you aren’t sure what it is
  • You question whether you are good enough, you feel hopeless, worthless, or incompetent
  • You will become withdrawn and antisocial over time
  • You struggle to make simple choices or decisions

Gaslighting can cause anxiety and depression, and it may even lead to suicidal thoughts if you no longer feel confident in who you are or feel you are unable to trust yourself.

If you feel that you might be in a gaslighting relationship, reach out to family and friends and discuss it with them. You will need a support system to help you get past the gaslighting damage. They will also be able to assist when or if you end your relationship. 

It is always helpful to have a shoulder to cry on or someone to confirm things happened the way you recall it. You can also keep a journal; this will also help you stop the gaslighting effect and help you rebuild your confidence and trust in yourself.

Gaslighting is often used in intimate relationships to undermine partners, and it eventually makes it easier to control the other partner. Continuously telling a partner their version of events didn’t take place or that something didn’t happen at all when it did, makes them question their own sanity and memory.

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