Have you ever felt like you were going crazy? That you couldn't trust your own perception of reality? If you have, you may have been a victim of gaslighting. Gaslighting and manipulation are forms of emotional abuse where someone manipulates your perception of reality, leaving you feeling isolated, alone, and doubting your own sanity.
Gaslighting is not a new concept. The term comes from the 1938 play and subsequent 1944 film, "Gaslight," in which a husband manipulates his wife into believing she is going insane by dimming the gaslights and telling her she is imagining things. Today, gaslighting can occur in any relationship, from romantic partners to coworkers and friends.
How Gaslighting Works
Gaslighting works by manipulating your reality and distorting the truth. The abuser will do everything in their power to control you and gain power over you. They may start small, with small lies or omissions of information, but gradually escalate to more significant manipulations.
As the abuser gains more control, they will begin to make you question your own perception of reality. They may deny things that you know are true, like past events or conversations. They may tell you that you're overreacting, imagining things, or even crazy. They may create scenarios in which they are the only person you can trust, isolating you from your friends and family.
Signs of Gaslighting
Gaslighting can be difficult to detect, especially if you're the one experiencing it. Here are some common signs that you may be a victim of gaslighting:
You doubt your own perception of reality
You question your sanity
You feel isolated and alone
You feel like you're going crazy
You're constantly apologizing, even when you know you've done nothing wrong
You feel like you can't do anything right
You're always walking on eggshells around the abuser
You feel like you're being controlled or manipulated
Gaslighting can take many forms. Here are some common techniques that abusers may use:
Withholding information: the abuser may not tell you things or leave out important details to make you doubt your own perception of events.
Misrepresenting information: the abuser may twist the truth or lie to make you doubt your memory or understanding of events.
Denying experiences: the abuser may tell you that you didn't experience something or that your feelings are not valid.
The Impact of Gaslighting
Gaslighting can have significant mental and physical health effects. Victims of gaslighting may experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Constant manipulation and doubt can also lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and even chronic pain.
Gaslighting can also have a significant impact on your relationships. Victims may become isolated and withdraw from their friends and family, leading to feelings of loneliness and despair. The constant manipulation can also damage the victim's ability to trust others, leading to difficulty in forming healthy relationships in the future.
How to Cope with Gaslighting
If you think you're a victim of gaslighting, it's essential to seek help. Here are some strategies that may help you cope with gaslighting:
Recognize the signs: understanding the signs of gaslighting can help you recognize when you're being manipulated.
Build a support system: having a trusted friend or family member to talk to can help you feel less alone and isolated.
Set boundaries: setting boundaries with the abuser can help you take back control and protect yourself from further manipulation.
Gaslighting is a serious form of emotional abuse that can leave victims feeling isolated, alone, and doubting their own sanity. It's essential to seek help if you're experiencing gaslighting. Talking to a trusted friend or family member or seeking professional help can help you cope with the effects of gaslighting and take back control of your life.
Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If someone is manipulating you and making you doubt your own perception of reality, it's not your fault. You don't have to suffer in silence. Seek help, set boundaries, and take back control of your life.
In Joy and Love, Mr. Michael Adams
Director at Keep Inspiration Alive