10 Signs Of Gaslighting...Are You The Victim Or The Culprit?
I first heard the term "gaslighting" about a year or so ago while listening to a radio talk show in my car. The term is derived from the 1938 play and the 1944 movie titled "Gaslight". In the movie, a husband tries to drive his wife insane by convincing her that what she thought was said or had happened was not the reality. She begins to not trust on her own memory and questions her sanity. It is a good film, but the cruelty heaped upon the main character makes you want to yell at the screen, or shake her to wake up and see that she is being manipulated.
The term gaslighting is making a comeback as more and more people realize that this is a tactic often used today in both social and professional circles. Gaslighting is most often used in close or intimate relationships. Ever try to call someone out for something they did and felt wronged you and they deny that it ever happened? Did you clearly witness them do or say something but they deny it so convincingly that you start to question if what you really saw or heard was real? You must have misunderstood or are being overly sensitive, is often the received response.
Gaslighting is a form of abuse, as it diminishes your self-esteem, your self-confidence, and your self-worth. The gaslighter convinces you that it's all in your head and you are just being paranoid or remembering incorrectly. I have definitely felt the burn of a gaslighter. For the most part, I realized they were full of it and not owning their crap, but there was this other part of me that did question my assessment of the situation. Was I remembering the events are they really happened? A relationship where gaslighting appears to be happening is one you should not be in. The gaslighter can be a spouse or significant other, a friend, a parent, or a co-worker.
Here are some signs to look for in a gaslighting relationship:
- You often question your own memory
- You wonder if you are too sensitive
- You feel less confident
- You have trouble making decisions
- You often feel confused and crazy
- You feel like you can't do anything right
- You're always apologizing
- You feel hopeless and joyless
- You lie to avoid put downs
- You often second guess yourself
Gaslighting is a manipulation and deception used in order to misdirect, gain control, and avoid blame. Narcissist often use gaslighting to manipulate. Recognize it and know when it is happening to you.
What is your experience with gaslighting? Have you ever been the victim or the culprit? Please share your experience!
“So often victims end up unnecessarily prolonging their abuse because they buy into the notion that their abuser must be coming from a wounded place and that only patient love and tolerance (and lots of misguided therapy) will help them heal.” - George K. Simon
Photo from Gaslight (1944 film)