The term”gaslighting” comes from the play Gas Light and its associated film adaptation, in which a husband tricks his wife into believing she is going insane by decreasing the gas lights in their home.
Gaslighting can take many forms in modern times, but it usually involves a perpetrator attempting to sow seeds of doubt in another person’s mind or alter their sense of reality.
Gaslighting can occur in any type of relationship, including romantic, familial, and even professional relationships. It’s a type of emotional abuse that can cause anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and a loss of trust in one’s own perceptions and judgement. The perpetrator denies or trivialises the victim’s feelings, experiences, or memories. Gaslighting aims to confuse the victim and undermine their sense of reality. This can lead to the victim becoming more reliant on the perpetrator, as they may begin to rely on the perpetrator’s version of events.
This article will explain what gaslighting is, how it affects relationships, and what you can do if you suspect you are a victim of gaslighting.
Gaslighting can take many different forms. A perpetrator, for example, may tell a victim that they are overreacting to a situation or that their feelings are invalid. They may deny saying or doing things the victim vividly recalls. In order to cause confusion, they may twist facts or present false information. They may also blame the victim for things that are not their fault, or they may cause the victim to doubt their own abilities or competence.
How Gaslighting Impacts Relationships
Gaslighting can have serious negative impacts on relationships. It is a form of emotional abuse that can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and a loss of trust in one’s own perceptions and judgment. Here are some ways that gaslighting can impact relationships:
Loss of Trust: Gaslighting can erode the victim’s trust in their own perceptions and judgment. They may begin to doubt their own memories, feelings, and experiences. This can lead to a loss of trust in themselves and in the people around them.
Isolation: Gaslighting can be isolating. The victim may feel like they cannot talk to anyone about what is happening because they fear they will not be believed. They may also feel like they cannot trust anyone, including friends and family.
Emotional Instability: Gaslighting can lead to emotional instability. The victim may experience anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. They may also have trouble regulating their emotions and may feel like they are constantly on edge.
Dependence: Gaslighting can make the victim more dependent on the perpetrator. They may begin to rely on the perpetrator’s version of events because they cannot trust their own perceptions and judgment. This can make it harder for the victim to leave the relationship.
Self-Doubt: Gaslighting can lead to self-doubt. The victim may begin to question their own abilities, competence, and worth. This can have negative impacts on their self-esteem and self-confidence.
What to Do If You Believe You May Be a Victim of Gaslighting
If you believe that you may be a victim of gaslighting, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and seek support. Here are some things that you can do:
Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off in your relationship, trust your instincts. Gaslighting can make you doubt your own perceptions, but if you feel like something is not right, it probably isn’t.
Document Everything: Keep a record of incidents of gaslighting. Write down what was said, when it was said, and how it made you feel. Having a record can help you to remember what happened and can also be useful if you decide to seek professional help.
Seek Support: Talk to someone you trust about what is happening. This could be a friend, family member, or therapist. Having someone to talk to can help you to process what is happening and can provide you with emotional support.
Set Boundaries: If you are in a relationship with someone who is gaslighting you, it is important to set boundaries. Let the person know that their behaviour is not acceptable and that you will not tolerate it.
Consider Professional Help: If you are experiencing the negative impacts of gaslighting and are having trouble coping, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you to process your emotions and develop strategies for dealing with the situation.
In conclusion, gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that can seriously impact relationships. It can lead to a loss of trust, emotional instability, and self-doubt. If you believe that you may be a victim of gaslighting, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and seek support. Remember that you are not alone, and there are people who can help you to navigate this difficult situation.