Being gaslighted is a traumatic experience. However, most times, the person does not know they are being gaslit.
If someone you know repeatedly tells you statements that question your memory or perception, that person might be gaslighting you. With this, it is especially helpful to see the warning signs of gaslighting.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a psychological term coined from Gas Light, a 1938 stage play. Gaslighting, according to The Hotline, is a form of emotional abuse. It is when the victim questions their knowledge, including their feelings and memories. Moreover, abusers have a lot of power over their victims.
Most times, gaslighting leads the victim to question their own sanity.
Gaslighting can be intentional or not. It is a form of manipulation that can be seen in many relationships and even within the family. However, according to Healthline, the most detrimental form of gaslighting happens between a couple.
The Effects of Gaslighting
Since gaslighting is a traumatic experience, it might lead the victim to do things out of their own will. Some victims even seek constant validation.
Aside from questioning their own thoughts and perception, victims of gaslighting also experience these painful signs.
- You question yourself.
- You ask yourself if you are overly-sensitive.
- You feel confused and out of your mind.
- You constantly apologize to the person.
- You constantly cover up the person’s bad side.
- You feel indecisive about a lot of things.
- You think you are always wrong.
- You keep secrets from friends and family to avoid confrontation about the person.
- You feel like you are always at fault.
- You isolate yourself from friends and family.
- You often feel hopeless.
- You find little to no happiness from the things you used to enjoy.
- You think of cutting ties with friends and family.
- You feel like you are not good enough.
If you experience any of these, the person is probably gaslighting you.
Gaslighting Warning Signs
People who gaslight have so much power over their victims. They know how and when to push your buttons. Moreover, abusers who gaslight know how to use what they know about you against you.
Here are some of the things you have to look out for if you think someone is gaslighting you.
- The person trivializes your feelings. “You are way too sensitive.”
- The person makes you think other people backstab you. “They talk about you. They think you are crazy.”
- The person takes back what they said before and denies saying it. “I did not say I would go to the bank. What are you talking about?”
- The person hides things from you and denies their knowledge about it. “You cannot find your keys again? That is alarming.”
- The person makes you think you were or were not someplace even when it is not true. “You did not go with me to see that movie. You are crazy.”
- The person makes you believe they do not understand what you are saying.
- The person does not listen to you. “I do not want to hear about this again.”
- The person makes you question your knowledge about things that happened, even when you remember them accurately. “You said that! I heard you say it!”
- The person makes you believe they have forgotten what happened. “No, that did not happen. What are you saying?”
People who use gaslighting use your “mistakes” against you to pose themselves as the victim. They may claim things like you are out of control and may accuse you of being the gaslighter.
How to Fight Gaslighting
If you have spotted the warning signs given above, you might be a victim of gaslighting. It is essential to know that the first step to fight your abuser is to recognize that gaslighting exists.
Moreover, it will be easier to seek help and leave. If you are a victim of gaslighting, here are some things you can do to protect yourself.
- Do not hold yourself responsible for the person’s doings.
- Do not sacrifice yourself to protect their feelings.
- Do not forget your truth.
- Ensure that your safety is prioritized.
- Remember that you are not alone.
Gaslighting is a traumatic event that can scar someone for the rest of their life. However, know that it is not impossible to break free from your abuser. If you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, immediately seek help.
Gaslighting. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/gaslighting
Morris, S. (2017, April 01). Gaslighting: Signs and Tips for Seeking Help. Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/gaslighting
What is Gaslighting? (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://www.thehotline.org/resources/what-is-gaslighting/