Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that can occur in relationships, friendships, between family members or colleagues. Gaslighting consists of an abuser convincing the victim that he or she is ‘crazy’ by questioning their perception of reality.
Sadly, gaslighting often works as the abuser manipulates the victim by appearing concerned, friendly, or even loving at least some of the time. It is then increasingly difficult for the victim to recognize that they are being gaslighted as they find it hard to believe that someone who loves them would purposely hurt them in this way. Gaslighting is when this abusive and undermining behavior is committed regularly, forming a pattern.
Examples of Gaslighting
Examples of gaslighting would be to continually undermine the victim, blaming things on them, twisting stories and problems so that the victim ends up questioning themselves. The gaslighter accuses the victim of being too sensitive, typically used alongside other forms of dismissive behavior such as looks of disbelief, eye-rolling, or other facial expressions that imply the victim is irrational or stupid. This, combined with displays of love or affection, can confuse the victim and make it harder for them to spot the gaslighting.
How to Deal With Gaslighting
- Identify the person’s behavior – recognizing gaslighting is incredibly essential, and as soon as you are aware of their undermining behavior pattern, you will immediately feel a sense of control as gaslighting only works when the victim is unaware of what is happening.
- Build a robust support system – once you have recognized the person’s behavior, you need to ensure you have a reliable support system behind you that will enable you to either escape your abusive relationship or eliminate this person from your life.
- Know that it’s not YOU – you may feel embarrassed once you realize you have been gaslighted, but you mustn’t let a gaslighter make you feel responsible for any of their actions. This isn’t anything that you have done. Gaslighters are often insecure and feel the need to be in control, which is why they turn to emotional abuse to gain power.
- Build your self-esteem – following gaslighting, you’re likely to feel like you’ve lost confidence and have trust or self-esteem issues. Seek professional help or speak with a trusted friend. Do whatever you can to help build yourself back up again. Continue to remind yourself that you’re a strong, capable, and loveable person.