This is such a “buzz word” these days right?
We read about it, see it in movies, hear it in our conversations.
“Don’t gaslight me”, “you’re trying to gaslight me”, “I feel like this is gaslighting."
I am sure you or others around you have said some these things.
But what are we really talking about when we say “gaslighting”?
What does this mean, and why is it everywhere?
The term gaslighting comes from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Actually it’s quite an interesting movie plot, but I will let you Google that for yourself. To gaslight, or to be gaslit, is to have your reality, the truth, and facts distorted and twisted in a way that makes you question yourself.
It’s like someone who is telling you that your name isn’t your name — despite the fact that it is your name, and you have known it all your life, and you have documents to prove it.
Gaslighting happens in many forms, mainly within some kind of relationship — romantic, family, or even workplace. There is always the primary person, who is trying to influence another person’s perspective. This primary person will engage in many forms of manipulation to do so — lying, twisting the truth, shifting the blame, saying you are overreacting are just a few ways this primary person will accomplish it.
But this primary person is not who this blog is about. It’s the other person, the one whom is on the receiving end of this behavior.
The impact of this behavior is significant. People who are "gaslit" struggle with trusting themselves, and their behavior, what they see and what they “know”.
Can you imagine how this would make you feel? To question your own self, to question what you are seeing, or believing? To have very little confidence in your own thoughts? Gaslighting is a very real behavior that can produce some very devastating effects. The impact of this behavior can increase anxiety, contribute to depression symptoms, and cause trust issues with other people.
So what can be done??
If you are feeling that you have been gas lit, I want you to stop thinking “I might be wrong”.
Gaslighting is about moving you away from the truth and the facts, and making you question yourself.
You saw, heard, or know what happened, but this person is shoving you away from the truth and facts.
Instead say/think/reflect on “why is the person trying to move from the truth”. Gaslighting is about the other person, and not you. The purpose of gaslighting to deflect from the person, and on to you.
Remind yourself of the facts & the truth. Things that can’t be shady — the truth and the facts are pretty constant.
If you sense you are experiencing gaslighting — know that the problem is the truth and not you.
Gas lighting is a defense mechanism by that person; it’s already a problem you can’t solve. You can combat this defense mechanism by realizing that this isn’t about what you know, what you saw, and what you heard.
Gaslighting is about that person not willing to be accountable, and choosing to ignore facts.
You don’t have to engage in this departure from reality — you know what you saw, what you experienced, and what you heard.
It’s the other person who is having trouble with this!