Gaslighting is a strategy used by many people – often those who fit the description of being a manipulator, narcissist or sociopath.
Often, leaders in a position of authority and those in a high profile position are also prone to gaslight.
A person who finds themselves in a gaslighting situation may begin to second guess themselves, all of which involves:
- Questioning their reality or version of events
- Emotional well- being
Since gas lighters are masters of manipulation, they know precisely what techniques to use and how to confuse their victims to continue on the cycle of gaslighting.
Unfortunately, even people who are bright and possess a great sense of self-awareness are prone to gaslighters emotional abuse and psychological whims.
What is Gaslighting, and how do you know if it’s happening?
Gaslighting is a strategy used by a person or entity to gain control or power – all of which makes the victims involved question their reality.
Anyone can fall victim to gaslighting as many cult leaders, abusers, and dictators often use this tactic to brainwash and confuse people.
A change in the perception of reality
Gaslighting abuse gets done slowly, and the victims involved often do not suspect anything is wrong. A victim of gaslighting doesn’t realize just how much they are getting brainwashed.
It may take the victims family members, a partner or another close relative to recognize this type of psychological abuse’s red flags.
The term ”gaslighting” was coined from the 1944 movie, gaslight, which portrayed a husband (Charles Boyer) who manipulates his wife (Ingrid Bergman) to such an extent that she begins to question her sanity, self-worth and perspective.
Fast forward to decades later, the term gaslighting gets widely used as a modern dating trend. Even President Trump got described as being a gas lighter in recent times!
Gaslight technique radar
Gaslighting can happen to anyone, and there are several ways to tell if you are getting gaslighted.
A good rule of thumb is to use your feelings and instincts as a red flag to what is going on in your environment – are you full of self-doubt? Is your point of view getting dismissed?
When someone gaslights, it is a form of emotional abuse, and these experiences can take a massive toll on our emotional wellbeing, mental health and relationships.
Examples of gaslighting
There are numerous examples to describe gaslighters and the emotionally abusive tactics they use. Some of the psychological and emotional techniques used by a gaslighter include:
- Telling blatant lies: They say if you tell a lie big enough, no-one will suspect anything! You know that the gaslighter is lying, but you find it hard to reconcile with yourself that someone could lie with such ease. All this sets people on the path of an abusive pattern. You begin to question everything and become wracked with self-doubt and low self-esteem.
- Using the things you love against you: One of the most destructive ways that people gaslight is how they use what (or who) you love against you. If you love your job, they will cause you to feel insecure about your role. If you are a parent, someone who gaslights may force you to question your ability as a mother or father.
- Their words do not match their actions: There are plenty of health information booklets out there on gaslighting, and one of the symptoms is that people who abuse others emotionally often display contradictory behavioral patterns – in this case, a gaslighters words rarely, if ever, match their actions.
- Love-bombing: Ever received insurmountable praise from a person only for that praise to be ripped from underneath you seconds later with a snide comment or remark? All this is known as a back-handed compliment – an innovative technique used by emotional abusers to confuse their victims further. This strategy leaves most people feeling emotionally unstable and unworthy.
- Eroding a person’s sense of self: Whether a partner, family member or friend uses your emotions against you, or your triumphs and achievements, perhaps even something else – over time, this will erode your self-esteem to the point that your needs and values will come second to that of your partners (or any other relationship).
How to deal with a gaslighter
Broadly, recovery from emotional abuse such as gaslighting often starts with awareness.
When one half of a couple, be it a romantic relationship, a friendship or any other relationship, suspects that they are getting manipulated in any way, people must look at ways to rectify the situation to maintain their physical and mental health.
We all have fundamental human rights, and we all deserve to be respected, valued and heard by those we love.
It is not OK to have our boundaries violated, whether the act of violation is from a friend, partner or any other relationship type.
Psychological abuse and manipulation can fill our minds with self-doubt and clouds our perspective, all of which makes us doubt our reality, thoughts and emotions.
The problem with gaslighting is that it often takes a while to recognize and even longer in seeking help and support that people likely need to recover from such abuse.
There are plenty of treatments available to those who think they are victims of gaslighting and psychological abuse.
Data shows that people who have fallen prey to this type of abuse may benefit from therapy to help them overcome their experiences and the consequences of being subjected to this intense form of abuse and manipulation.
Breaking through the chains
People must not tolerate any form of psychological abuse, and recovery aims to protect people against any further mistreatment at all costs.
Recent data shows that people need to get away from the perpetrator to see things more clearly.
This separation allows the victim to regain their sense of self-worth and clarity, allowing them to trust their sense of reality and make sense of what has happened to them.
Breaking free from the chains of gaslighting will ultimately set you on the path of recovery, allowing you to rebuild all that was lost.
Getting in touch
Victims of emotional abuse often benefit from therapy and counselling to help them work through any problems and overcome the effects of mental and emotional abuse once and for all.
One to one counselling sessions are beneficial for those wanting to seek resolve and recovery from abuse.
Tikvah Lake Recovery
At Tikvah Lake Recovery, we specialize in a wide range of therapies (including one to one counselling).
If you feel you may be the victim of gaslighting, perhaps it’s time to get in touch with a member of our team who will be able to help you.
Leave a comment