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You’ve probably heard the term “gaslighting” before, but do you know what it means?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that can be subtle and hard to detect.
It can make us feel like we’re going crazy, and that’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize it in our relationships.
What is gaslighting?
Have you ever felt like you were going crazy? Like no matter what you did, you couldn’t seem to get it right? If so, then you may have been the victim of gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which the abuser deliberately tries to make their victim doubt their own reality. It’s an insidious form of control, and it can be incredibly challenging to spot.
The term gaslighting was first coined in the 1938 play, Gas Light, in which a husband tries to make his wife think she’s losing her mind by dimming the lights and then denying that he did it.
While this may seem like a harmless prank, gaslighting can be much more subtle and damaging. Gaslighting can happen in any kind of relationship, including romantic relationships, friendships, and even work relationships.
It’s essential to be able to recognize gaslighting so that you can protect yourself from it.
How does it manifest in relationships?
Gaslighting usually starts out slowly, with the abuser making small, seemingly innocuous comments. Then, the abuser deliberately tries to make their victim doubt their own perceptions and memory.
For example, your partner might tell you that you’re being “too sensitive” or “overreacting” when you express hurt or anger. They may also try to undermine your friendships or discredit your intelligence.
Symptoms of gaslighting include constantly feeling on edge, second-guessing yourself, and losing confidence in your own ability to think and judge.
As a result, gaslighting can be incredibly damaging, leading to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
How to deal with gaslighting behavior
If you think you might be in a relationship with a gaslighter, it’s important to reach out for help. There are a number of hotlines and resources available to victims of domestic abuse, and talking to someone who can offer impartial support can be incredibly helpful.
In the meantime, here are some tips for dealing with gaslighting behavior:
>> Trust your instinct. If something feels off, it probably is.
>> Keep a journal. Writing down your experiences can help you make sense of them and spot patterns more easily.
>> Talk to someone you trust about what’s going on. It can be difficult to identify gaslighting by yourself, so talking to a friend or family member can be helpful.
>> Seek professional help. If you’re feeling lost or confused, talking to a therapist can be a great way to gain clarity and perspective.
Why people gaslight in the first place
There are a number of reasons why someone might gaslight their partner.
In some cases, it may be because they want to maintain power and control in the relationship. In other cases, it may be because they have narcissistic tendencies or are otherwise insecure.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for your abuser’s behavior. No one deserves to be mistreated, no matter what.
As humans, we tend to want to make excuses for the people we love. But it’s important to remember that gaslighting is a form of abuse, and it is not your fault. Never accept blame for your abuser’s behavior, and never hesitate to reach out for help if you’re feeling lost or confused.
How to avoid gaslighting in your own relationships
If you’re concerned about gaslighting in your own relationships, there are a few things you can do to avoid it:
>> Communicate openly and honestly with your partner.
>> Make sure that you’re both on the same page about what constitutes healthy communication.
>> If you’re feeling insecure or threatened, talk about it with your partner instead of trying to control them.
>> Seek professional help if you struggle to communicate effectively with your partner.
>> Remember that you have a right to your own reality, and don’t let anyone make you doubt it.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you felt like you were constantly walking on eggshells, you know how difficult it can be.
Gaslighting can be incredibly damaging, but it’s also important to remember that you’re not alone. There are people who understand what you’re going through, and there is help available.
You deserve to be in a healthy, supportive relationship, free from manipulation and control. So, don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.