First off let’s talk about what gaslighting actually is:
Gaslighting is when a person makes someone else (could be their partner, friend, college etc) question their own memory of events, how they’ve perceived something and more importantly their sanity.
Putting it bluntly it’s a really fucked up way to psychologically manipulate someone.
It happens when one person turns situations around and puts the blame onto the other. This makes the other person doubt and constantly question themselves and their actions.
A gaslighter has the goal of disorienting and confusing their target and I can guarantee that you have either been on the receiving end of this situation, you’ve seen it happen to someone you know or perhaps you’ve even been the perpetrator?
Someone who has been gaslighted can become reclusive, compromised, emotionally drained, physically lethargic and a shadow of themselves.
Do you relate to any of this?
You see, sometimes it’s hard to realise if we’re being gaslighted because we’re not trained to look for it. In fact, most of the time we’re too kind hearted and don’t want to believe that someone could be doing something like this to us… so we just let it slip.
But when we start letting it go our personality starts to change because we start living in constant questions and doubt of our own realities.
I reached out to my followers on Instagram (@meganluscombe_) and was blown away by the responses I got from people saying that they had in fact been gaslighted, not only on one but MULTIPLE occasions.
One follower in particular said that his gaslighting situation had left lasting impacts such as horrendous anxiety and self doubt.
Another said they had been gaslighted for so long in a relationship that they now have issues when it comes to conflict and being honest
One said that the gaslighting got so bad that it sent them to therapy as they thought they were the problem.
I got loads more but I think you get the picture. Gaslighting is FUCKED UP and if you don’t realise it’s happening, it can have some pretty severe affects on your mental health and self esteem.
I personally got gaslighted a lot in an early relationship with an ex boyfriend of mine, let’s call him Sam.
When I went to visit Sam on one occasion I had to walk by his parents before I could get to him, so, I said hello to his parents before greeting him.
He proceeded to not speak to me for a few hours because he said I ‘should have known to say hello to him first’ because I was dating him.
After the barrage of anger about this I started to believe that he was right and I was wrong.
He was manipulating the situation and me, convincing me I was in the wrong but let’s be real… I wasn’t at all.
This was the first time he gaslighted me and it continued for months, to the point where I became a shadow of myself and eventually became scared of him.
His psychological manipulation became psychologically abusive.
It was the worst relationship of my life but his first act of gaslighting lead to more of it and I really wish I had of known about the signs then because I could have been stronger or more prepared to get myself the fuck out of there…fast.
So, are you being gaslighted?
Here’s some simple things to look for and I’ll be upfront, there’s more examples but I’m not about to type a thesis:
You are lead to believe that how you feel is not important and that your concerns don’t matter:
Ever told someone something about your past and they have literally responded telling you they don’t care? Or you’re living in the past? You’re too sensitive? You’re over reacting? Yep, this is gaslighting.
You are accused of lying even when you’re not:
Been in a situation where someone is accusing you of lying about something you know you’re not and THEY know you’re not? This can happen in work situations (a lot). Where your boss tells you in front of a superior that you were supposed to have a deadline finished today, even when they never told you that. So they throw in some comment of telling you that they told you, to which you say ‘you never told me that’ and they then accuse you of not listening etc. .
You’re emotions are always being called upon in negative ways:
I hate it when people tell me I’m too emotional, I’m an over thinker or whatever the fuck they want to say. My emotions aren’t a negative part of me, they’re the best part of me. They make me, me! Don’t let someone make you feel like your emotions are ‘bad’.
You often hear from your partner that you’re ‘overthinking’ or are ‘paranoid’ when you question their behaviours
Is your partner hiding their phone from you? Always going out of the room for phone calls? When you ask why do they fire back with comments like ‘you’re paranoid, stop being so jealous’ etc? This is gaslighting.
When you share personal things that have caused you pain, you’re labelled ‘too sensitive’ ‘you care too much’ or ‘just get over it’
If you open up to someone and they shut you down with comments like this, besides fucking them off super quick, realise that they’re gaslighting you. People like this aren’t worth it.
Megan Luscombe is a Life & Relationship Coach based in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria (Australia). Follow her on Instagram at @meganluscombe_ or on Facebook at megan.luscombeaustralia. Contact her on email at firstname.lastname@example.org