Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that’s seen in abusive relationships. It’s the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity. Gaslighting is a technique that undermines your entire perception of reality. When someone is gaslighting you, you often second-guess yourself, your perceptions and your overall mental health.
Gaslighting can happen in many types of relationships, including those with bosses, friends, and parents. One of the most devastating forms of gaslighting is when it occurs in a relationship between a couple. People who gaslight become experts at pushing your buttons, and they know your sensitivities and vulnerabilities and use that knowledge against you.
Gaslighting often develops gradually, making it difficult for a person to detect. The following are a few of the emotions or feelings one may experience when you are suffering from the effects of gaslighting :
- You doubt your feelings and reality;
- You question your judgment and perceptions;
- You feel vulnerable, inadequate and insecure;
- You feel alone and powerless;
- You are disappointed in yourself and who you have become;
- You feel confused;
- You have a sense of impending doom;
- You spend a lot of time apologizing;
- You second-guess yourself;
- You wonder what’s wrong with you;
- You struggle to make decisions because you distrust yourself.
Gaslighting can also cause anxiety, depression, and psychological trauma, especially if it is part of a wider abuse pattern. Remember that you are not to blame for what you are experiencing. The person gaslighting you is making a choice to behave this way. They are responsible for their actions. Nothing you did caused them to make this choice and you won’t be able to change what they’re doing.
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Author – Kate Bailey – Hill