Gaslighting – you’ve heard the term, but what does it actually mean?
If you have any social media platform, a Netflix subscription, or are up to date with current affairs, chances are you have heard the term ‘gaslighting’, but it can be a hard concept to wrap your head around…or at least it was for me when I first came across it.
By definition, gaslighting is manipulating someone into doubting their own sanity or beliefs. Often, this term is associated with relationships, and whilst gaslighting can occur in romantic relationships, it is also evident in workplaces, politics, and friendships…or any interaction for that matter!
Fun Fact; The term Gaslighting comes from the movie 1944 movie ‘Gaslight’ which sees a man manipulate his wife into losing her sanity. Pretty chilling if you ask me!
Gaslighting is dangerous as it is often done slowly, over a period of time so the victim isn’t aware it is happening until they potentially begin to question their own beliefs. This is why it is so important to be aware of what this term means, how to recognise if you’re dealing with a gaslighter, and how to confront the situation.
Still confused? Let’s break it down further…
Gaslighting can happen in romantic partnerships, so let’s have a look at some examples of what a gaslighter may say to you.
- “You’re so sensitive”
- “You know that’s just because you are insecure”
- “I was just joking”
- “You’re making that up”
- “It’s no big deal”
- “I never said that”
Gaslighting can also common in workplaces. Check out this article to see what gaslighting in the workplace can look like.
Is this happening to me?
If some of this stuff is starting to sound familiar to you, you may be wondering if you’re dealing with a gaslighter. This can be a daunting subject, so take a minute before reading on if you need to.
Medical News Today has identified a number of signs of gaslighting;
- Feeling confused and constantly second-guessing yourself
- Questioning whether you’re too sensitive
- Constantly apologising to the perpetrator or defending their behaviour
- Feeling hopeless, joyless, worthless, or incompetent
No one ever wants to experience this, and it can cause anxiety, depression, and psychological trauma so it’s super important to seek help if you think this is happening to you.
What can you do if you think you’re dating a gaslighter?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, akin to brainwashing and narcissism. In fact, gaslighters have been described as having sociopath tendencies. The ‘aim’ of the gaslighter is to have control over you. By removing this control, you are removing their ability to gaslight you. North Point Recovery has outlined a few ways in which you can remove yourself from this situation;
- Be aware of what they’re saying and doing around you.
- Don’t feed into their manipulation.
- Work on your own self-worth to create an untouchable belief in yourself. They can’t manipulate you if you are sure about yourself.
- Know their true motive is to control you – so work on boundaries
- Don’t let them think you believe what they say
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It can happen to anyone, in any relationship context. It is not ok and if you feel this is affecting you, please seek help!
Our team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! Contact us here.
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Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14