What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that toxic people use to maintain their control over others. It is a nasty and occasionally covert type of emotional abuse that the toxic person uses to make the target (victim) question their judgments and reality. When used enough, the victim starts to question their own sanity.
This form of emotional abuse is a way for toxic people to exert their power over others to manipulate a person into believing what they want them too. Gaslighting hinges on self-doubt, something a toxic person can recognize in others immediately. It is not enough for a gaslighter to have something go their way, either. They need to have the victim actually turn around and agree with them wholeheartedly – so the gaslighting continues until it reaches that point. Making it a very harmful form of abuse.
Gaslighting is a technique that undermines your entire perception of reality leaving you second-guessing yourself, your memories, and your perceptions. Once you have been gaslit, you will feel dazed and wonder if that really just happened or if something is wrong with you.
If you feel confused and are questioning your own judgment, keep reading, this post is for you!
How Gaslighting Works
Gaslighting can be found in almost any type of relationship – parent or caregiver/child; marriage; dating relationship; with co-workers; at school with teachers and classmates; within friendships – anywhere there is potentially one person with more power over the other… gaslighting is a possible tool being used.
Here are 8 ways Gaslighting can happen
- Lying to you. This is the first thing to look for, people who engage in gaslighting ae habitual and pathological liars. They have no problem lying to your face and will never back down or change their stories – even if you have proof. They say things like “You are making that up; That never happened; It was just a scam; You are crazy; No one believes you”. The scary thing is, lying is the cornerstone of their destructive behavior, because even when you know they are lying, you start to second guess and question yourself…
- Distracting you. A deceptive technique used to throw you off the scent. They will counteract your questioning them by accusing or questioning you or repeatedly completely changing the subject instead of responding to the question at hand. When you question them on something they will say things like “What about when you did…(and start in on you); What time is dinner or what is for dinner; You are so ridiculous to even ask that, what about (insert something they can be mad at you for)”. It is very confusing to a person.
- Spread rumors about you. When they feel cornered, they will speak to anyone who will listen to them bash you and put you down. Often, they will say that you are doing the things they are doing to you and paint you in such a negative light. Sadly they are very convincing and many people do wind up siding with the abuser, making it that much more painful. But the truth does always come out in the wash… no matter how long it takes!
- Minimize your feelings. Trying to minimize your feelings allows them to exert control over you. They say things like “Calm down; You are over reacting; It is no big deal, why are you so sensitive”, making the victim feel foolish and doubt themselves even more.
- Shifting blame. Gaslighters will always say it wasn’t my fault. Ever heard “You made me do this; You drove me to it; I thought you wouldn’t talk to me anymore”? Even when you try to just discuss how YOU feel, they shift it so you wind up feeling like it is all your fault and you made them do it.
- Rewriting history. When gaslighting, the gaslighter will constantly retell stories in their favor making you eventually believe it. Repetition…
- Lovebombing. Another term for a toxic person who is showering their victim with love to keep them locked in a position under their control.
- Denial. This starts the lying and the whole gaslighting process. The gaslighter is in complete denial of any and all wrongdoing and will not stop until you agree and believe that.
Gaslighting is terrible form of abuse that takes time to heal from. Recognizing the signs is the first step to healing.
Did any of this sound familiar to you? Are you ready to take the next step together? Contact me here.
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