Healthy & Well, Parenting & Relationships

Rise Above ‘Gaslighting’ – the Tormenting Kind of Mental Abuse!

“What are you talking about? Shut up, you don’t know anything!”

“Have you lost your mind?”

“You are going crazy?”

“I’m not raising my voice!” (while actually shouting at you!)

“I never told you this..” or for that matter “You never told me to do this..”

Sounds familiar…? No, it is not déjà vu for you to feel after reading these statements. In case you get to hear these kinds of statements on a regular basis, then maybe you are a victim of Gas Lighting. The phrase got its relevance in late 1930s &40s when a play based on this psychological phenomenon followed by a movie of the same name was made.

How to deal with Gaslighting?
How to deal with Gaslighting?

Gas Lighting is a kind of psychological/mental manipulation that makes one doubt his or her memory, thoughts & events happening in their lives. It compels one to lose confidence in self and take a second guess at any kind of decisions, whether big or small.

For instance, I know a lady who was well educated and came from a happy decent background. She had loving parents and a comfortable life. She must have been a promising independent girl with a positive outlook towards the future and life. Then she got married to a boy far less educated than herself. Slowly things started changing for her as she became homebound and he the bread earner for the family.  In fact, as of now after 45 years of living with the same guy, the same lady can be seen calling out to her husband for the smallest of the work to be done.  I have always wondered about the audacity of that man to ridicule her wife in front of their kids. Reading about Gas Lighting actually made me understand what the lady might have gone through. Sad but true.

This kind of mental manipulation can be done by parents, siblings, spouse and even outside like in the workspace by colleagues or the boss. Most of us, while growing up and further in life, are subjected to gaslighting of some kind or the other but what keeps the sanity intact is the extent to which it has been done. Sadly, there are people who are subjected to extreme kind of gaslighting. This is tormenting especially if it is done by a person whom we love or look up to as an idol. The mental manipulation is also classified as personal abuse or emotional abuse.

Popular Ways for Gaslighting are:

  • They lie.
  • change the details of a particular event that happened in past
  • Try to confuse you
  • Their actions and words don’t match
  • They try to build a tribe against you.
  • According to them, you are the crazy one.
  • They try to project that everyone else is at fault or are unworthy of your trust.
  • These people shower uncalled for love and care while you can feel the emptiness in the relationship.
How to deal with Gaslighting?
How to deal with Gaslighting?

How can you Self-analyze, if You are a victim of Gas Lighting:

The only person one should not give up on is self. However, most people tend to give up and sacrifice ourselves. A balanced ‘self-love’ is and should be the central aspect of one’s existence. So the analysis of what’s going on around oneself is quite important. How people we spend most of our time to behaving with us in their actions and in their words. Right from the immediate family members to friends and colleague, this analysis is a must.

How to deal with Gaslighting?
How to deal with Gaslighting?

Here are some mental situations that go on with a victim of Gaslighting:

  • Feeling less confident than before.
  • Having a constant feeling if something is not correct but cannot track it down.
  • If you feel you are being too sensitive.
  • Doubting your capability of doing even simple things correctly.
  • Feeling the need of apologizing time and again. Please understand it is purely human to falter at one time or the other but if you are constantly blaming yourself for every incorrect thing then you are surely gas lit.
  • Having the guilt about your response in a particular situation.
  • If the person who is gas-lighting you is one of the family members, you tend to talk less about the person in front of others.
  • You feel isolated and do not derive happiness in any activity.

You might like to read this: Reading Between the Lines of Happy & Unhappy Marriage. CLICK Here!

How to Deal with Gaslighting?

A person who does this kind of mental manipulation on another person may be trying to hide insecurity of him. Hence, gas-lighting can happen again and again with the victim.

Here are few tips to cope with gaslighting in a way it doesn’t affect the individual mental setup:

  • Realize: First and foremost step towards coping up with this kind of mental abuse is realizing that you are being manipulated.
  • You have a powerful memory: Remember your memory isn’t as weak as the person is making it look like. We all falter some or the other time and that’s okay.
  • Detach: Additionally, develop a healthy detachment from the person. It is an important step to limit the drastic ill-effects of gaslighting.
  • Illusion V/s Reality: Moreover, it is important to differentiate between the illusion that the other person wants to present and the real world. This can be the first step towards detachment.
  • Be Vigilant: Being watchful about what’s happening around you, especially related to the person whom you think is gaslighting.
  • Record: Maintain a diary and note down all the dealings and exchange of words especially the portions where manipulations could be done. This will help in fact-checking.
  • Be Assertive: Stand for self. Do not be complacent to personal attacks. Resisting might compel the true feelings of the other person to come out.
  • Build your Circle: Furthermore, grow a trusted circle of friends with whom you can share your thoughts.
  • Meditate: It helps in calming down, builds focus and more.

Hopefully, this article was a helpful read. As a rule, do not let anyone play with your mind.

References: www.healthline.com, scholar.harvard.edu, www.theguardian.com

Happy Sustainable Living!

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(6) Comments

  1. Gas lighting is the most common method of manipulation and it’s been since ages and eons. I like the fact that you gave helpful ideas about coping and recovering from it. It’s very easy to find fault in ourselves and fall victim to this kind of mental manipulation.

    1. oh yes, that is so true!

  2. These are some pointers we need to know. Sometimes unconsciously we are under such impression of members. Will keep check on people who are Gaslighting and shall apply the methods you suggested.

    1. Yes knowingly ad unknowingly many of us get gas-lit but that’s ok until it takes the shape of mental abuse which hampers our personality.

  3. Haajra Fareen says:

    Your articles are extremely informative and intriguing. Issues like these need to be highlighted. Thank you for putting it out there.

    1. Thanks.. Glad you found it helpful.

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