What is gaslighting?
The term originates back to a British play in 1938 by the dramatist Patrick Hamilton, entitled Gas Light. In this film, the husband toys with the gas-powered lights so that they flicker but convinces his wife that she’s imagining things.
The definition of gaslighting is “psychological manipulation that causes the victim to question or doubt their sanity, judgment and memories”. Gaslighting at its core is a total emotional abuse, and is mainly for self-preservation, avoidance of accountability and maintenance of power and control.
Why do people gaslight?
As much as it hurts me to say this, gaslighter oftentimes would feel better about themselves when controlling someone else. They like to have the upper-hand in the relationship. Psychologists usually also categorize gaslighter as narcissists; a person who has an excessive admiration of themselves. The act of gaslighting is NOT justified, however, some people do not even realize that they are gaslighting others as it has become a second nature to them. Isn’t that such a sad fact to learn?
Signs of gaslighting
Gaslighting is known to have a devastating and long-term effect on emotional, psychological and physical well-being. What are some of the tell-tale signs that you might be gaslit by your partner?
- You catch yourself doubting and questioning your perception of reality
This happens because your partner is not acknowledging what you think is real, instead, they will dismiss it as “You’re imagining things.”
- The thought of voicing out makes you feel guilty
Sharing your feelings in a relationship started to feel like an utterly difficult thing to do. In the end, you feel voiceless in the relationship.
- Your feelings are not validated
“You’re too sensitive,” is often what they would be saying to you, or any other things in that umbrella. Relationship is a connection filled with emotions and feelings toward each other, so what good there is if they are not validated?
- Your partner makes you feel insecure or stupid
Everyday, you live your life with your partner forcing you to believe that everything you said is not real, you end up feeling so stupid, since they would alter and twist the reality of even your evidence. (Hey, you’re not stupid, alright?)
What should you do?
- Seek out for a confidant
Turn to someone else out of the relationship for validation, especially regarding your feelings. Find someone rational that will help you understand the situation you are under better.
- Focus on self-love
In times when you’re experiencing this, the last thing that you should do is being hard on yourself. Engage in self-love activities, as well as activities that you have always loved doing, be it drawing, baking, or learning to play guitar.
- Trust your intuition
When the closest person to you that is your partner is not trusting you, you should be the person that believes in you best. Listen to what your gut and your intuition is telling you, never underestimate their power.
Gaslighting can happen to anyone in any kind of relationship. Be it a romantic, familial, or platonic one. Remember to take care of yourself and know when to step up and step out!