8 Warning Signs that You are Experiencing Gaslighting
Let's get to it! We all have become familiar with this famous word: "gaslighting." What exactly does it mean? In a nutshell, gaslighting is a type of manipulation that makes a person doubt their own reality, sanity, memory, or perspective. Often times, victims of gaslighting are given false information that makes them question what they know to be the truth. Specifically, they question the truth about themselves. Gaslighting can happen in both professional and personal relationships.
According to simplypsychology.org, the tactics of the gaslighter may be used to shake the confidence of their victim, lower their self-esteem, and make the victim dependent on the gaslighter. Knowing the warning signs of gaslighting could help one resist this form of manipulation.
This is when the gaslighter tries to convince the victim that particular events or conversations did not happen. The gaslighter will deny this even when the victim provides the gaslighter with proof of the lies. This is when the victim is accused of making things up to appear as though the victim is lying. Example: " I never said anything like that."
2. Minimizing your Thoughts and Feelings:
This occurs when the gaslighter makes the victim feel like they are overreacting or "being too sensitive." A serious situation or accusation is often made light of. Example: "It's not a big deal"
3. Distraction Tactics:
When having a conversation about their behavior, the gaslighter might try to change the subject in effort to distract the victim as a way to avoid the issue at hand. "Let's talk about what we are doing for the next potluck."
4. Ignoring or Avoidance:
The victim's concerns are ignored by the gaslighter. The gaslighter may also refuse to engage in conversation with the victim or pretend to not understand what the victim is saying. Example: "going out of the house for hours."
5. Discrediting and Putting-Down:
The gaslighter may degrade and and insult the victim so that the victim begins to doubt themselves. The goal is to make the victim appear emotionally unstable. Example: "you sound so stupid and crazy when you say stuff like that."
The gaslighter may try to make the victim seem incompetent by undermining them. Example: "hiding the victim's mail so that the victim doesn't pay their bill on time."
The gaslighter often makes accusations about the victim engaging in the very behavior in which they are portraying or demonstrating. Example" I think you are the one not telling the truth here."
The victim may be threatened about a negative outcome for not taking the gaslighter's word or perspective. Example: "we cannot be friends anymore if you don't believe what I am saying."
Reminder: It is not your fault that you are experiencing some of this gaslighting. The person gaslighting you is responsible for their own behavior and is choosing to behave as such.
Gaslighting could affect one's mental health and self-confidence. If you suspect that you are experiencing gaslighting, speaking to a mental health professional could be very helpful. The mental health professional will help you develop appropriate skills to help with boundary setting, increase self-confidence, and practice coping skills.
You may also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.