The material will be useful if you are gaslighted.

What is gaslighting?

Gasliting is a form of psychological violence whose purpose is to change a person’s view of reality, to make him doubt his own version of what is happening and his own memories.

Who can be a gaslighter?

Gaslighting is most often used by people in a position of strength towards weak.

Psychoanalyst Robin Stern, author of The GasLiting Effect, writes that women are the most likely victims of this phenomenon, and more men are found among manipulators. Also, victims of gaslighting are often children who are manipulated by their parents.

However, there are different cases: your bosses, colleagues, friends, and even politicians can turn out to be manipulators (recently, journalists often use this term to describe Donald Trump’s numerous statements).

It is known that gaslighters are most often people who are prone to narcissism (they are extremely selfish) and sociopathy (they do not respect the views of other people and ignore their rights).

“They seek to control another person to satisfy their own needs or desires in a way that is manipulative and dishonest,” writes certified psychotherapist and Ph.D. Mike McNulty.

How to recognize gaslighting?

Gaslighting can take many different forms, but it will always be based on lies or intentionally false promises. In the book of the already mentioned Stern, there is a checklist of twenty signs that may indicate gaslighting.

She also describes several stages through which the victim of gaslaying goes, regardless of whether this is a family relationship, workers, or any other.

I will give 7 of the most obvious signs, and at the same time at the end will give advice on what to do with this.

7 signs of gaslighting in a relationship

You can recognize yourself or someone from your environment as a victim or aggressor.

  1. Gaslighter denies past facts

“I couldn’t say such a thing, why are you inventing.”

This may apply to both long-standing events and recent ones. If for some reason a person is always and in all situations right – this is an occasion to think. None of us can be right absolutely always and in everything.

  1. The gaslighter often lies and continues to do so, even when he was caught lying

We all from time to time to each other (for a variety of reasons). But gaslighters lie to get what they need, trying to change reality in the head of another person.

Even if there is conclusive evidence of their lies, such as text messages or videos, they will continue to insist on their own. Gaslighters can be so convincingly outwardly that you doubt your own thoughts and believe in their version of events.

A common example is treason when one of the partners convinces the other that nothing really happens, even when there is evidence on hand.

  1. The gaslighter constantly questions the sanity of the victim

The version of the victim’s events always turns out to be false, because for one reason or another it cannot think adequately.

Finally, often the gaslighter himself comes up with facts, convincing the victim that she has mental problems, and she herself comes up with reasons to be offended and hurt: “I didn’t even think about this, you have paranoia.”

All this gradually creates a feeling in the victim that something is wrong with her. She becomes ashamed of her own emotions: indignation, fear, hatred, pain. Constant doubt about what is happening is a clear sign of gaslighting.

  1. The gaslighter regularly offends the victim, writing off everything as a joke

“It was just a joke,” “Relax, it’s a joke.”

As a rule, an abuser knows his victim well, his vulnerabilities, sensitive topics, interests, and beliefs. He constantly criticizes these things one way or another, directly or indirectly comments on them in order to strike self-esteem, cause pain and discomfort.

“These comments gradually lower the self-esteem of the person to whom they are addressed, and also affect self-esteem. You will begin to believe that your interests, aspirations, point of view are wrong or not important, ”says McNulty.

Often a person disguises such comments as good intentions, care, or even compliments. But do not be fooled when a person says “You look good … for your age” – he wants to hurt you.

Again, the gaslighter does not forget to emphasize that the partner inadequately perceives what is happening.

“Is it normal to react to such a trifle like that?”, “You react inappropriately”, “Any little thing offends you”, “You are too touchy, think about it.”

These typical phrases are used to make the partner feel guilty for reacting “wrong” and “too much” to “harmless” things.

  1. Gaslighter sets up a victim against family and friends

The aggressor is always trying to influence how the victim relates to key people in her life. He may say that the mother or father does not really love her, the girlfriend or boyfriend speaks behind her, and the sister or brother deceives her.

In some cases, the gaslighter himself can develop a relationship with one of them to convince them that the victim is not in himself, in order to support the gaslighting process with their help.

Having convinced everyone that he is the only one you can trust, the gaslighter becomes the main puppeteer.

“The victim of gaslighting is often cut off from people whom she trusted, she does not have access to alternative points of view that help to doubt what is happening and take a critical look at the situation”.

  1. The actions of the gaslighter do not correspond to his words (and vice versa)

Although the abuser claims to care about his victim, this is actually not the case. As a rule, he simply says what they want to hear from him, but does only what he wants.

It is clear that people do not always follow their own words, sometimes they can’t fulfill their promises, but if this happens regularly, it’s worth considering.

  1. The gaslighter accuses the victim of his own behavior.

Do you know what a “projection” is? So, it is she.

“How many people constantly suspect their partners of infidelity, because they themselves are deceiving? A person who does this himself looks at the world with disbelief. He knows how to get out. “

What happens to the victim?

The first stage that the victim goes through is denial: she notices that the abuser is behaving strangely or inconsistently, she feels an injustice, but she brushes aside what is happening due to the frivolity of a specific incident.

The second stage is accompanied by self-doubt and the adequacy of one’s own perception of the situation. Nevertheless, at this stage the victim is still defending himself from the abuser, because he hopes that he can prove his point of view or convince the gaslighter.

By the third stage, a person begins to believe that the abuser is right, but he is mistaken and himself is to blame for what is happening. He hopes that if he agrees with the aggressor and meets his expectations, he will be able to earn his approval.

What should I do if I suspect myself of a gaslighting?

The most obvious advice is to go to a therapist and try to figure out the reasons for what is happening. Try to catch yourself on the methods of manipulation described above, even if you use them not quite consciously, stop and do not do so. However, without outside help, you will not be able to fully cope with the situation.

What if I am a victim of gaslighting?

You should also go to a psychotherapist or support group for victims of domestic violence. If this is not possible, you can seek support from friends or relatives who are trustworthy. They will help to look at the situation from the side and expose the manipulations.

Robin Stern in her book notes that the first step to deal with gaslighting is to be ready to completely break off relations with the aggressor. At the same time, she believes that everyone should decide the question of breaking off relations or trying to change them: if the abuser is your boss or colleague, you may want to stay in your position because there are other advantages to working in this company.

In this case, you should remain adamant and stick to your own version of events, resist when others doubt what you are saying.

“Inflexibility does NOT make you a difficult person. It makes you stronger and more enduring. “

At the same time, she mentions that trying to convince or change the abuser is useless: no matter how good your arguments are, the aggressor will never accept them, and the sooner you understand this, the easier it will be for you to get out of this situation.

By Cindy
May 18, 2020

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