In a time when everyone is finally learning to stand up for themselves, or is being encouraged to, the term ‘gaslighting’ has come to the fore. Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation in which the abuser makes the victim question his or her own self.
Someone who gaslights uses subtle tricks to confuse his target, to make the person feel ‘silly.’ Often such abusers hide their inner cunning intentions by blaming the victim of being ‘overly sensitive.’
The term gaslighting itself has become famous thanks to a 1944 movie that was about how a man manipulated his wife in a wrapped up chaotic way such that she started to wonder if she was going crazy. You can be gaslighted by anyone around you from a loved one to a co-worker at office or an entity that makes you doubt your own sanity.
It’s important to understand how gaslighting people set up this trapping web of emotional abuse in order to be able to identify such behavior. In this regard, here are 10 signs of gaslighting that you should be aware of:
1 – Telling white lies
Gaslighters use lies to confuse you. And they tell these lies without flinching with a straight face in such a manner that the truth seems to fade away in front of their fabricated story. This is how someone who gaslights plants the first seeds of self-doubt. As someone who is the victim, your first step to gaining control is being able to separate lies from the truth.
2 – Minimizing the problem
Another tactic that gaslighters use is that they make the issue seem smaller. For instance, they’ll tell you that you are making a mountain out of a mole hill even though the problem is actually as big as you are stating. By doing so, they will make you think that you were wrong for calling them out and just ridiculously sensitive about a non-issue.
3 – Twisting the truth
Apart from telling blatant lies, gaslighters also twist the truth giving it a new meaning. This makes you wonder if what you heard was either completely wrong or if you are just thinking negatively for no reason. By twisting and rewording their misdeeds, gaslighters are able to get away with their manipulation.
4 – Isolating you
Gaslighters take away what you love from you so that you’re left with nothing of your own. From your loved ones to the things you value such as your job, a gaslighter will try to use your support against you. For instance, they will start having minor issues with your job or with the people you hold near and dear to separate them from you.
5 – Words that don’t match actions
People who abuse say something but do the exact opposite. They make big claims and promises but do not meet them. Simply put, their actions and words do not match. So, while they may show you the bright side of things, they actually bring nothing to the table. They make no efforts and only use words to fill in the void.
6 – Confusing by praising
To keep you depending on them, gaslighters play the game of praising you. They use positive reinforcement to ensure that you remain in their control. The goal is to mistreat you intentionally but show as if they actually care. This wins them over some extra points as you keep thinking that they’re actually nice and you are only overthinking.
7 – Spreading rumors
Yet another trick of gaslighters is that they spread false rumors about you to others. They may tell other people that you are crazy. They may also tell you that other people think that you are crazy. Things can get pretty bad when people start to side with the abuser because of what they tell other people about you. These people can also start getting mean to you.
8 – Blaming you
To make matters worse, not only gaslighters lie and twist the truth, they do so in such a way that the blame ends up on you. They make you feel as if you made them treat you bad and that you are always deserving of their bad behavior. When they do this, they make you lose confidence in your own argument, making you believe that you’re the one on the wrong.
9 – Denying their mistakes
Instead of taking responsibility of their poor judgement, decisions, and actions, gaslighters tend to make you feel as if you are at fault. They deny their mistakes, turning them around such that you are the one who ends up saying sorry. Gaslighters don’t own their mistakes, in most cases they don’t even realize their mistakes.
10 – Slowly making you question yourself
Gaslighters don’t shower abuse all of a sudden and all at once. Instead, they tend to gradually make their moves. They slowly trap the victim and because of the stretched out timeline, the victim is not able to connect the dots. He starts to see himself as the one who is losing all sense and loses his self-esteem as well.
Gaslighting is a common form of abuse. Yet people are not able to identify the abusive behavior because of how controlling it is. If you have noticed someone has been gaslighting you for a while now, it’s time to take steps to regain your confidence and control.