Yes, I know, it sounds kind of technical or medical term, but you will be able to relate, or you may know someone who might be affected by it. In this post, I will explain what is gaslighting, its effects and how to come out it.
Have you ever felt guilty/harsh on yourself for something, which you haven’t done? Don’t worry, we do understand, not always, it is your problem, there are high chances that you are experiencing gaslighting. It is a form of powerful emotional abuse in which the perpetrator manipulates and injects the feeling of doubt about self-identity, self-feelings, self-respect and self-worth.
Feel free to read about the complete details and research here. Wikipedia.
The topic became popular after the movie Gaslight, released in 1940. In the movie, there’s a couple, and the husband tries to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights in their house while denying the same to his wife the light changes. He succeeds in confusing and controlling his wife until a cop assures the lady, that he also sees the dimming of the lights.
Sometimes perpetrators are full-time narcissists (I know some real-life examples of these kind of cases – it does happen and it’s not good).
You may watch the movie here in YouTube.
Some of the popular techniques used by the perpetrator:
They tell lies upfront. Gaslighters will tell you lies directly, without even thinking twice with complete confidence. The logic behind this technique is simple, people can’t fool you with the truth. The worst part is, people are so blinded by love and emotions, they lose their judgement and power to decide, what is right and logical, and which one is wrong. We need to be more careful, when a situation arises, that we are questioning our worth and guts.
Confusing the victim more and more. When a person has a clarity in the relationship (personal/professional), they know, where they are going. In this kind of cases, the victims are confused to the maximum possible level. The more confused the victim is, the easier it gets for the Gaslighter. Human beings are prone to be confused when the person we trust tells us something, which is not right.
They try form alliance and get all against you. This is one of the smartest move by the person to corner the victim, so that it becomes easier to control, without any interference. We need to understand the people who really loves us, and care for us. Emotions are good, we all have it, but trusting someone blindly is not at all recommended. Our judgement and gut feelings are our best defense. Don’t ignore it, when it gives negative vibes, or the voices in our head tells that something might be wrong.
They will make you think everyone else is a liar. It is the continuation of the previous style. The only motif of both these technique is to corner you and make you all alone, so that the only option you have is to trust the person: Mr. Gaslighter.
Let’s have a look at some of the typical behaviors of these kind of people:
We are talking someone who is highly manipulative and a perfect liar, so in this case, he must be charming and with a dominant personality. Here comes the worst part of it, in most of the cases, gas lighting is done by someone we love and trust very much.
Say hello to justifications and explanations, including expressions of love and flattery, are put together to work just to confuse and control you. People tend to lose control of their mind and get lost in their own doubts of self-identity. The moment you question them, they are ready with justifications and examples along with evidence sometimes.
Typical effects of Gaslighting
Gaslighting is one of the most powerful methods of psychological manipulation and it can have a very deep impact on the victim. In some of the extreme cases, the victim starts questioning their own gut feeling and starts doubting and questioning everything. This confusion and self-doubt remains for a long time if professional help is not taken in due time.
Painful breakup may also be one of the outcome if the other person understands the pattern of the other partner of gaslighting. It is very important to understand, that this method is more effective when the other person is a loved one. This may happen with child-parent relationship, couples or any other relationship.
We understand that the effect of gaslighting is very powerful, that doesn’t mean that the other person will not be able to overcome after this terrible experience.
Get professional help. Seeking professional help is always recommended, as a professional would be the best one to judge your position and help you accordingly with the next steps. Get help as soon as it is possible and viable.
Develop new relationships. There are people who really loves you, who really cares for you without expecting anything from you. There are new friends waiting for you. Give them a chance to be friends. Not necessarily everyone is a narcissist or gaslighter. Make new friends, and new relationships to overcome this difficult situation.
Stay away from the gaslighter as much as you can. Maintain safe distance from such people who manipulates you just to control you. These people are dangerous, and they affect our lives differently. It is very important for us, to stay away from these people.
Give things time. Once you have identified your situation and the person who is trying or gaslighting you, try to get away as soon as possible, and once you do that, give things time to settle down. Don’t worry, you are strong, and you will be able to overcome it.
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