Are You Being Gas-lighted?
Gas-lighting is when you “manipulate someone through psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”
But what does that really mean? Well simply put, it’s when you have someone in your life (could be a spouse or parent) who intentionally sows seeds of doubt into you, so that you doubt your own reality. They continually discredit your own thoughts, ideas, beliefs until you no longer trust your own eyes and mind. Until you doubt things you once knew for certain!
More often than not, you will need to be relatively isolated for this type of “brainwashing” to work. So this person will aim to keep you alienated from others, and distrusting of everyone but them, so that in time, you learn to take their word as complete truth. They will tell you all kinds of awful things about your friends and family and will also tell you about how your friends and family complain about you (or don’t like you). This will cause you to stop trusting everyone else and trust only the person gas-lighting you.
Your independence will slowly evaporate, and so will your self esteem. You won’t feel confident enough to make friends or open up to anyone except for the person gas-lighting you.
They have you right were they want you, now they can tell you any lies and treat you any way they want, knowing that they’ll get away with it. They have effectively convinced you that a) those things never happened, or b) that you overreacting and are irrational or “crazy”.
Seems intense right? But gas-lighting, doesn’t have to be intense and obvious for it to be dangerous. Even a small amount of subtle gas-lighting can be very harmful, as it will gradually eat away at your perception of reality.
If you think you are being gas-lighted here is a list of red flags from Psychology Today. These ten symptoms are all pretty common in gas-lighting victims.
- You start to question if you are too sensitive. ( Example: You’re told you are too easily offended and need to stop holding on to things from the past and just get over it!)
- You often feel confused and have a hard time making simple decisions. (Ex: You feel so indecisive and lack the confidence to make a decision and stand up for it. Also the gas-lighter twists everything in circles so that you can’t get anywhere in a conversation or argument.)
- You find yourself constantly apologizing. (Ex: Even when someone wrongs you, you get pulled into sympathizing and coddling them, and start apologizing for anything and everything. Or maybe you feel like you’re walking on eggshells and are afraid to set them off.)
- You can’t understand why you’re so unhappy. (Ex: Perhaps everything looks good on the outside of your life and yet you are miserable, depressed and hopeless.)
- You often make excuses for your partner’s behavior. (Ex: You justify it, because they don’t know any better, or because they had a bad day, or bad childhood and so on.)
- You feel like you can’t do anything right. (Ex: You are always the problem, always messing up. Eventually you start to question your own sanity. You wonder whats wrong with you!)
- You often feel like you aren’t good enough for others. (Ex: Your self confidence has been stripped away and your self esteem has hit a new low.)
- You have the sense that you used to be a more confident, relaxed and happy person. (Ex: You hardly recognize or like yourself anymore. You feel totally insecure or diminished.)
- You are constantly second-guessing yourself. ( Ex: Did that even happen like you think it did? Perhaps you’re irrational and imagining it.)
- You withhold information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain things. (Ex: You think they don’t understand him/her like you do. Or you don’t know how or want to talk about it, because your not even sure whats real anymore.)
- You start lying to avoid the accusations. (Ex: You are sick of your version of events being so twisted, that you start lying about what happened just to avoid the accusations and confrontation that you know will inevitably be twisted.)
Do you recognize yourself any any of these? If you do, know that you are not crazy! Not even a little bit!
If you feel like you are being gas-lighted by a spouse or parent, my suggestion is for you to get as far away from them as possible! But, since I know that getting out isn’t always possible, here are a couple ways for you to take your power back and regain your sanity.
- Stop taking responsibility for their feelings.
- Don’t believe everything they say, recognize them for what they are: A Liar.
- Don’t let them blame you for their actions. They are responsible for what comes out of them, not you!
- Learn how to draw healthy boundaries & enforce them.
- spend time around people who will encourage you & build you up, rather then tear you down.
- Trust yourself, trust your instincts & don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Stick up for yourself! That also means knowing when to walk away.
- The moment you feel them trying to guilt trip you, reject it. Don’t let the guilt in!
- Spend time pampering & loving yourself.
- Find ways to regain your self esteem, & independence, do something you once loved to do.
- Write things down, so that it will be easier for you to trust your own memory.
- Get some counseling or find some one mature you can talk with, to help you sort through all the lies.
- Remember that people often accuse other of what they are guilty of, similarly people are cruel and shaming to others, after they have first treated themselves that way. So know that it really isn’t you with the problems… it them.
For more info or help about gas-lighting check out the link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/getting-back-out-there/201610/10-ways-tell-if-youre-being-gaslighted