Gaslighting is a term that has been coined by the mental health community to describe a method of emotional abuse that is often employed to “dumb down” a person to the point where he or she is rendered completely dependent on the abuser for validation and survival. Over time, the victim often comes to believe that their perceptions of reality are unreliable. It can be defined as the systematic effort to manipulate another person’s perceptions by creating an alternate version of reality in which the victim is considered to be: irrational, “crazy,” or a “victim of their imagination.”
It often takes place in a long-term and ongoing relationship, but can also happen in a friendship or the workplace. It is characterized by a pattern of behavior that confuses a victim so that they no longer know if they are experiencing reality or being deceived. Gaslighting often occurs in abusive relationships where one person is isolated from the outside world as a means of control and pressure, either in the form of threats or actual violence. It can also happen in unhealthy friendships, workplace relationships, and relationships between spouses.
The term comes from the 1944 play Gas Light, where the husband tries to make the wife doubt that the gaslights are flickering. The term was later used to describe real-life situations where the victim of gaslighting was made to doubt their perceptions by someone trying to make them doubt their perceptions.
Here are some things that you can recognize in someone who might be gaslighting you or other people. We’ll be giving some signs below. And if you think that you’re the type of person to unconsciously gaslight the people in your life and want to change it, this article is for you.
Signs of gaslighting:
1. A gaslighter will just tell you straight-out big fat lies. These people will still tell lies even if you’re aware that they are lying to you. This gaslighting method is meant to make you question yourself about the version of what you thought happened.
2. People who gaslight other people tend to deny things they said or did in the past. Gaslighters will pretend that you, the person being gaslighted, are lying and that what happened was a lie. This is another thing that they will do to make you feel like your memory’s messy, and you don’t know what happened.
3. Another sign that you should look out for is diverting. People who gaslight other people will quickly change the subject to take the attention away from the topic that the person being gaslighted brought upon. It’s also possible for them to twist things. They may accuse them of being influenced by other people, like their friends or family members.
4. The last sign of gaslighting is trivializing. This is a technique that gaslighters use to make the victim’s feelings and thoughts seem unimportant. They’ll tell them that they are overreacting or that they’re too sensitive towards them. This can give the idea that the victim’s feelings aren’t valid.
How to avoid gaslighting other people:
1. Reacting without judgment is something we should all strive to do, so there’s no reason to make an enemy out of it, right? Wrong. If you react without judgment to everything that other people say or do, you will often find yourself in uncomfortable situations, including situations where it seems that you are gaslighting the person. That’s why remember to listen to the first and don’t be quick to judge.
2. Emotions, in general, are an awesome thing. They allow us to interact with our environment, allow us to bond with our community, and allow us to experience all sorts of emotions, from happiness to sadness, to anger, to fear, and more. One thing that people tend to do, however, is to overreact to other people’s emotions. Stop saying that now! It’s not very helpful towards the person’s feelings, and they might feel like they aren’t supposed to feel like this and that they may be overreacting when in reality it’s normal to feel those emotions. It’s okay to vent to a person that has your trust.