What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which the manipulator denies the facts that have occurred in an attempt to make the victim doubt his or her own memories and alter his or her perception of reality.
The gaslighter systematically devalues the other person’s words, experiences, actions, and successes. Eventually his victim begins to feel helpless and insecure. The person becomes increasingly concerned about his or her emotional stability and adequacy, while the gaslighter gains almost complete control in the relationship.
Signs of Gaslighting
Here are a couple of “symptoms” that may tell you that you have come into contact with a manipulator:
- You think you’re doing everything wrong;
- You are pushing your desires to the back burner;
- You feel anxious and unsure of yourself;
- You always blame yourself if something goes wrong;
- You have difficulty making even simple decisions;
- You suspect yourself of being overly sensitive;
- You have stopped enjoying your favorite activities;
- You think you used to be more confident and cheerful;
- You often apologize to your partner, parents and colleagues.
What stages does a person who is being gassed go through?
As a rule, psychological abuse occurs gradually and imperceptibly. A person who is gazlithe passes through three stages. They are not always consistent and can overlap.
At this stage, the first signs of gaslighting appear. The victim notices unusual changes in the gazlighter’s behavior, but does not pay much attention to it. For example, he may say something insulting to you or deny previous actions. You are surprised by this, but still confident in your point of view.
The person starts to doubt himself or herself and his or her perception of reality. He is increasingly criticized by the manipulator and feels exhausted, but continues to defend himself. You argue desperately with the gaslighter and keep looking for evidence to convince him that you are right and gain his approval.
The victim has no energy left to fight and argue – he loses himself. The person begins to believe the gaslighter’s words and agrees with all the accusations to gain his favor. He feels helpless, broken, disorganized. It is at this stage that clinical depression and anxiety disorders can develop.
To mislead the victim, the gaslighter uses a variety of tactics. We are talking about “brainwashing.” Here are the six most common gaslighting strategies.
1. Denial of facts
Gaslighters like to engage in “rewriting history.” To make people doubt their own memory, they distort facts and alter details of events. The manipulator may deny categorically that he said or did anything, even if the evidence suggests otherwise.
Instead, he will accuse the victim of lying.
2. Evil jokes
The role of the gazlater is usually a person in the inner circle. It is such people who have the greatest influence on us. They are aware of our vulnerabilities, weaknesses and worries, which means they can easily use that knowledge to their detriment if they want to. For example, gaslighters often make caustic and rude jokes about the victim, make inappropriate remarks, or give offensive nicknames. All this is disguised as friendly banter, when in fact the manipulator’s task is to hurt and humiliate.
3. Devaluing emotions
Gazlighters often devalue and ignore other people’s feelings. If you are offended by his joke, be prepared to hear: “You’re too sensitive! Don’t make a big deal out of it.” If you say you feel bad, he will say, “You made it all up, you think. Better do something useful. “The manipulator shifts his focus to his own experiences and needs, ignoring the victim’s state of mind.
4. Emphasizing inadequate perception
We look for evidence of the accuracy of our perception of reality and the adequacy of our statements. The gaslighter, on the other hand, tries to convince the victim that his reaction to events is not normal. He may say, “you have been very strange lately,” “you don’t react well,” “are you sure you’re alright?” or “you obviously need help. All of this leads to doubts, guilt, and helplessness in the victim. This is the effect the manipulator is trying to achieve.
5. Shifting responsibility
The gaslighter will under no circumstances admit to manipulation. Instead he will look around him for someone to blame, and will always invent an explanation for his actions-he was provoked, coerced, or set up. A typical example of the reaction is: “I didn’t mean anything bad. You drove me out yourself.” He blames the victim for behavior that is peculiar to himself.
6. Aggression and Hostility
The gaslighter is always on the offensive. His favorite mode of defense is attack. For example, if you suspect such a person of cheating, he will accuse you of pathological jealousy, low self-esteem and insecurity. And if you show him the evidence – he will become aggressive. His task is to make the victim feel inferior.
What’s Dangerous about Gaslighting????
A person who is a victim of gaslighting stops trusting his feelings. Over time, because of the actions of the manipulator, he may seriously begin to think that he suffers from a mental disorder. In addition, systematic gaslighting often leads to real psychological and emotional problems. These include increased anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the formation of co-dependency. All of this makes it difficult for the victim to escape the manipulator’s influence.
How do I fight gaslighting?
Psychological pressure can last for years before the victim realizes what is happening. That said, a relationship with a gaslighting person is most often characterized as dependent or codependent, which means getting out of it is especially difficult.
Here are a few helpful tips from layboard.in, which will allow you to resist manipulative techniques.
1) Trust your feelings
Listen to how you feel more often. If you’re upset, you are. No one has to convince you otherwise. Remember that you know yourself much better than others, and your judgment of yourself is much more accurate than the opinion of the gaslighter. During arguments, don’t try to change the manipulator’s mind – it’s pointless. Be unwavering: stick to your own version of events and facts. That way you can cope with uncertainty, even if the gaslighter increases the pressure. The main thing when dealing with him – a confident tone and a resolute attitude. But it is impossible to show the aggressor doubts and fears.
2) Ask your friends for support
Ask people you trust to look at the situation from the outside. Do you really have the kind of problems that the gaslighter is always talking about? Do they notice your “weirdness”? In addition, many experts advise to record the events: keep a personal diary, take pictures, record conversations on a recorder.
First, so you’ll always have at hand evidence that can be presented at the right time. Secondly, it will allow you to double-check your own words and memories.
3) Don’t let yourself be blamed
The next time the gaslighter starts misrepresenting facts and trying to make you doubt your own adequacy, tell him directly that you are not willing to put up with his behavior. Let the manipulator know that you have figured out his tactics. Be clear about your limits and calmly explain that his words offend you and you will not stand for it in the future. If all else fails and the manipulator continues to use gaslighting against you, be prepared to minimize or completely stop communicating with him. The chances of the aggressor changing his behavior are nil.
4) Seek help
Often a victim will succumb to manipulation simply because it is important for them to stay in a relationship with their manipulator rather than break it off. For example, when it comes to gaslighting in a couple or between family members. In this case, you need to reconsider the tactics of your behavior and start following new rules. It is best to seek help from a qualified professional. The longer a person is exposed to gaslighting, the more devastating the consequences will be. A psychologist can help you cope with anxiety and fears, sort out your doubts and get out of the situation with the least amount of loss.
If you notice the symptoms of gaslighting in a relationship, in your family or at work, you should act go now, and you should listen to the advice described above, value yourself and do not allow yourself to be manipulated.