This psychological buzzword is now a Twitter hashtag and talking point on sites such as Bustle and Refinery29.
But, what is this disturbing trend all about?
The term “gaslighting”, is a modern expression of what started on the London stage 78 years ago in the Patrick Hamilton play, Gaslight. In this 1938 British play, a husband systematically attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights in their home (which were powered by gas), then denying that the lights change when his wife asks him about it; causing her to question her own perceptions and sanity.
Gaslighting is an insidious, reality distorting form of emotional abuse. It involves the manipulation of a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting is often pushed so far that they question their own sanity. It tends to leave the victim as a mere shell of the person he or she once were.
Why would anyone do this? Well, the abuser uses gaslighting to break down the victim’s ability to trust his or her own perceptions and beliefs. This causes them to stay in the abusive relationship, because he or she no longer believes that it’s possible to survive without the abuser.
Like other types of abuse, gaslighting can happen in all sorts of relationships including personal, romantic and professional. But, the most devastating form of gaslighting is when it occurs in a relationship between a couple. Certain traits – such as being emphatic, being a caretaker, needing to see your partner in a positive light, and being a “people pleaser” – might make you more susceptible to this kind of emotional abuse.
Truth is, almost all of us have experienced some form of gaslighting throughout life. In today’s crazy world it is normal to have fleeting moments where we question our own sanity, right? Stress or lack of sleep could cause even the best among us to overreact or exhibit irrational behaviour, but it’s important to listen to your intuition. Maybe you’ve unconsciously picked up on “foul play.” We can consciously be fooled but unconsciously we can’t, and often we’ll have a feeling that “something just isn’t right.”
According to author and psychoanalyst Robin Stern, Ph.D., the signs of being a victim of gaslighting include:
- Constantly second-guessing yourself.
- Questioning yourself about being too sensitive.
- Often feeling confused and having a hard time making simple decisions.
- Constantly apologising for yourself.
- Not understanding why you are so unhappy.
- Often making excuses for your partner’s behaviour.
- Feeling as if you can’t do anything right.
- Often feeling that you’re not good enough.
- Withholding information from family and friends so you don’t have to explain things.
- Having the sense that you used to be a more confident, happy, relaxed person.
Be cautious of this unique type of bullying that can potentially rob you of your sanity. Always surround yourself with loving friends and family that bolster your reality. The good news is that with the help of a trained therapist, victims of narcissistic abuse can thrive and restore confidence in themselves. Recognising that you are a victim is the important first step towards getting help.
So, is someone gaslighting you? Be bold and take control of reality by setting limits that stop gaslighting attempts in their tracks.
Source: www.healthyplace.com, www.elephantjournal.com, www.healthline.com, metro.co.uk, www.meetup.com, www.davidwolfe.com, everydayfeminism.com, www.cosmopolitan.com, www.cosmopolitan.co.za, www.shaggytexas.com, lonerwolf.com, www.sheknows.com, iheartintelligence.com, www.goodtherapy.org, www.thestar.com