Gaslighting may not always be obvious but it can take a serious toll on your mental health. Identifying these behaviors early on will allow you to remove yourself from these predicaments before it becomes extremely harmful.
Presently, Gaslighting can take place in friendships and relationships with family members but it is more common in romantic relationships.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a term that refers to the act of manipulating someone in order to make them believe that whatever they say is true. Ultimately, people start to question their own reality and whether their memory can be trusted.
Oftentimes, individuals are not able to identify manipulative behaviors in people because they have already been manipulated into thinking that what their person is saying is probably true.
How it works
Now, people who tend to gaslight, generally have mental disorders such as narcissism, or borderline personality disorder. The aim of this type of behavior is to control you and have power over you.
In most cases, if you confront a gaslighter about their behavior, they will ultimately ignore your concerns and shift the blame onto you, to make you feel like you are the reason for the issues between the two of you. In effect, it will cause you to question your reality and whether you are able to trust your memory.
During this time, you may lose sight of what you were talking about and won’t end up resolving the issue. Most importantly, emotional abusive individuals will never admit that they are wrong
Ultimately, when someone is gaslighting you, they are trying to make you feel like you’re irrational or ‘dramatic’ for feeling the way that you do. Essentially, invalidating your feelings.
How to know if you’re being gaslighted
Being a victim of emotional abuse will find its way through the surface and affect the way you go about things in the present more than you did before.
After enduring emotional abuse, you will often feel a whole range of negative emotions. These can take the form of:
- Apologizing all the time
- Questioning your ability to make decisions
- Feeling insecure
- Feeling that something bad is going to happen around the person
- Feeling confused
- Questioning your identity
What to do about gaslighting
If you feel that you are being emotionally abused, it is probably time to take some steps in protecting your mental well-being.
To remove yourself from the situation, you can set boundaries by sharing what you will accept in the relationship. If your needs cannot be met, then it is time to end the relationship.
Another healthy tip is to save proof of the different times that the person has treated you poorly and made you feel small. At the end of the day, you won’t need to question whether the event actually happened because you have proof.
It is also healthy to take a step back from the situation. This is because gaslighting can be emotionally draining and the intensity of emotions you may feel can drag you into a dark hole. Doing some breathing techniques is also helpful.
Source: Very Well Mind