What is Gaslighting?
Many people have heard the term gaslighting without fully knowing what it really means. The expression actually originates from a film made back in 1944 called Gaslight, which was about a husband who manipulates his wife into thinking she has a mental illness. It can relate to anyone who employs emotional manipulation and control over another.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation where your words, thoughts and emotions are twisted and used against you so that you doubt your own belief and memory, and in some cases your sanity.
Whilst gaslighting is not a sign that someone has a mental health condition, some people with personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder, can exhibit this behaviour. Gaslighting can be a learned behaviour from watching other people, and people often use this as a way to control other people to enable them to get what they want.
Tactics Of Someone Who Is Gaslighting
People who employ gaslighting as a form of control can exhibit several signs of manipulation and control including:
- Diverting, where they will change the focus of the conversation by questioning your credibility
- Denial, where they refuse to take responsibility for their actions by blaming others, denying it happened or saying they have forgot
- Countering, where they will question your memory of something by undermining you
- Stereotyping, where they may use negative stereotypes to undermine your confidence
- Trivialising, where they belittle how you feel or say you’re being over sensitive or overreacting
- Withholding, where they pretend not to understand you or just refuse to listen to you or acknowledge your opinion
How to Recognise Signs of Gaslighting
It isn’t always easy to believe that you could be the victim of someone who is trying to emotionally control you, but you need to ask yourself if you feel the following:
- Feeling unsure of yourself and are always second guessing yourself
- You feel withdrawn of find yourself isolating yourself from other people
- You start to believe that you are acting irrationally
- Constantly apologising to, or for the person who is manipulating you
- Always relying on this person to confirm your memory of something
- Asking them to help you make even the simplest of decisions
- Having feelings of being worthless or incompetent
- Feeling uncertain of your perceptions or instincts
- You feel as though you can’t do anything right and you’re not good enough
- You feel as though you used to be a happier person and that there is no longer any joy in your life
If you believe that you are dealing with any kind of abuse you should seek support, from your doctor or a support group. Whilst gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in some cases it can escalate to physical abuse, even if it doesn’t, it can still seriously affect your mental health and wellbeing.
Your doctor can help you by prescribing antianxiety or antidepression medication for any anxiety or depression you may be suffering from as a result of being emotionally coerced. They can also refer you for therapies, including counselling, psychotherapy and (CBT) cognitive behavioural therapy, which can help you to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem. It will help you to realise that your behaviours were not the problem. Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.