Gaslighting is an unobvious type of psychological violence. The aggressor influences you so that you behave/react to events inadequately, calling into question your psychological health. Devalues your feelings, experiences, personal boundaries. This happens systematically, which makes the victim lose self-confidence, become malleable, and easily manipulated. Young people are especially susceptible to gaslighting and may feel depressed as a result, which makes it hard to focus on academic assignments. In this case, students can pay for essay online.
We tell you how to recognize gaslighting and behave correctly with the abuser.
Where Did This Term Come From?
It all started with the film “Gaslight”, which was filmed in 1944. According to the plot, the husband deliberately drives Dena to madness. He sets traps in her dead aunt’s house, dims the gas lamp every night, and rustles in the attic. At the same time, he persuades the woman that she is delusional, and at this time he is looking for the treasures of her deceased teacher.
Now the boundaries of gaslighting are not so clearly marked. The aggressor may not realize what he is doing, and the victim does not always reach insanity. But there is one truth: both are involved in this game. It will continue until you get out of it.
Signs that You Are a Victim of Gaslighting
The danger of psychological violence is that it is often not obvious. Gaslighting can be so mild that you simply don’t notice it. But he’s still doing his job:
- You feel something is wrong, but you can’t figure out what it is.
- A call, SMS from an abuser causes you an adrenaline rush.
- You feel much better when the aggressor is not around.
- Next to the abuser, you feel insecure and vulnerable.
- Your habitual behavior/speech changes.
- When a person says something that you don’t like, you think that he may be right.
- You do a lot just to get the praise or approval of a gaslighter.
- You feel drained, exhausted. Experiencing a decline in vitality.
- You justify to others the strange behavior of the abuser.
If you recognize yourself at least in a few points, you need to read this article to the end.
Stages of Victim Involvement in Manipulative Relationships
A person who gets close to a gaslighter goes through 3 stages:
- Denial. The victim notices the strange behavior of a friend/parent/loved one but turns a blind eye to it. She believes in her feelings, emotions, eyes, and ears. At this stage, the psychological state of a person is stable.
- Doubt of one’s adequacy. When the manipulator suggests something, the victim thinks: “Maybe I’m wrong?”. A search for the truth follow. There is a risk to go to the 3rd stage if you do not get out of this manipulative game in time.
- The certainty of being wrong. At this stage, a person becomes dependent on the opinion of the gaslighter, trusts his statements. He does everything to justify himself in the eyes of another person, to receive praise.
How to Recognize Gaslighting
A loved one, a friend/girlfriend, parents, or anyone can apply psychological violence to you. It can be any person whose opinion is important to you. This is the danger: it is difficult to resist someone who is an authority over you.
Your Feelings Are Questioned
“You’re exaggerating the situation. You should change your attitude to such things.”;
“There’s nothing to be offended about! Why are you saying all this?”;
“You’re reacting strangely, you should calm down. Come to your senses.”
Have you come across similar phrases from a loved one? In this way, he makes you doubt the fidelity of your emotions. And this is necessary so that the person continues to do what he wants, and you stop “sawing” him for it. But in the end, you just leave your feelings inside, they accumulate and lead to various disorders.
What to Do
If you have thoughts, “Maybe this is so? I’m exaggerating too much…”, so you’re hooked. It is important to make it clear to the gaslighter that you are not being manipulated. Don’t make excuses, don’t use phrases like “I’m not exaggerating”, “I’m not reacting strangely, just…”. Examples of good answers:
“This is unacceptable to me. Don’t do that again”;
“Do not devalue my emotions.”
“Do not do this again”;
“You’re manipulating me now. If this happens again— I will no longer enter into a dialogue with you.”
I Am Forced to Believe in My Inadequacy
This is useful for a gaslighter. If you stop believing your own eyes, ears, or intuition, he will be able to do anything, and then just say:
“I didn’t say that. I remember exactly, you came up with this”;
“You mixed things up”;
“You thought of something that didn’t happen. Remember what happened?”.
It can reach insanity: if you see a square, you will be told that it is a circle. With this kind of manipulation, you need to be careful, because you can go crazy.
What to do
Again, indicate your position, show that such a trick will not work with you. Answers:
“Say what you want. My demand is valid: I will not tolerate this anymore”;
“You are now questioning my adequacy. If this happens again— we will have to stop communicating.”;
“You’re behaving unacceptably. You can’t do that to me.”
Look at the situation objectively: listen to yourself, not to the words of the gaslighter. Trust your senses, and clearly explain this to your interlocutor.
You are being coldly ignored
In response to your claims, the abuser is either silent or responds:
“I’ll take note”;
“Have you said everything?”.
Usually, after such a “conversation” there are no consequences: the person continues to behave as he sees fit, and you do not see the point in disassembly. The only way out of this situation is to cut off contact with the gaslighter. But it can be difficult if the victim of manipulation is mired in a relationship, has become dependent on another person.
The main problem of victims of such relationships is that they become dependent on the manipulator. They live for him: all actions and decisions are made based on the considerations of “Will he/she like it? How will he react to this?”. Self-esteem is undermined, a person becomes vulnerable in communication with other people. The vitality drops, the victim experiences depression, even if everything is fine. This is fraught with consequences: health problems, mental disorders, the appearance of obsessive thoughts.
If you read about yourself in this article, your task is to get out of such a relationship. To rebuild communication with a person, leave the role of the victim, or completely stop any contact with the abuser.
To maintain psychological health, it is also important to monitor the work and rest regime. In order not to overwork, delegate tasks to colleagues.