Gaslighting is not a new term, but it seems to be exploding in current media and popularity. Do you know what gaslighting is and how to recognize the symptoms? Keep reading to find out what to look for and how to help if you yourself or someone you know is a victim of this type of psychological abuse.
What Does Gaslighting Mean?
The term “gaslighting” came from a 1938 stage play (and 1940 movie) in which the main character continually dimmed the gas-powered lights in their house to make his wife feel insane. When she mentions the change, he denies that there is anything different in the house. Gaslighting as a concept follows this same principle – it makes individuals question their own feelings, sanity, and instinct by using key phrases and tactics such as “why are you lying?” “it’s all in your head!” and “why are you so jealous?”.
The purpose of gaslighting is to create uncertainty for one individual; usually in conjunction with a close relationship but can also occur in other settings such as at work and in a family. It is often a favored tactic of narcissists, cult leaders, sociopaths, and psychopaths. Gaslighting is very hard to recognize when it is happening to you which it what makes it a dangerous tactic. Furthermore, gaslighting can create such a deep level of uncertainty of one’s identity as a whole – the individual being “gaslit” may also experience Stockholm Syndrome. That is, they are fully dependent on the “gaslighter” without even realizing it. Gaslighting is indeed a slow burn.
Five Signs You are Experiencing Gaslighting
Now that you understand the meaning behind gaslighting – it is essential to be able to recognize gaslighting as it is happening. Look for these five signs:
- Every instance of wrong doing somehow seems like your fault. Every fight is a result of your actions and you are left apologizing every time.
- You are beginning to lose your identity and sense of self. You don’t love things you love anymore or find things to be important – maybe because you have been taught not to love them.
- You become fearful of speaking up or expressing how you feel because your feelings have been deemed unacceptable or wrong.
- You start questioning your ability to recall events because your “gaslighter” often has a different story.
- You are constantly making excuse for your “gaslighter” to others. Others around you may not be a huge fan of your abuser because they see what they are doing more clearly can you. This means you may start lying to others to cover up for their behavior behind closed doors.
For more resource please visit https://www.thehotline.org/what-is-gaslighting/
If you are experiencing any sort of abuse – please reach out to law enforcement and a mental health professional expert in your area.
Check out our blog next week to learn about the Gut Brain Axis and how probiotics may impact your physical and mental health!