thought of the week: what is gaslighting?
this blog post is long overdue. on my instagram live in december, there was a question about gaslighting and many of you messaged me about doing a full length post on it. between the end of the year not wrapping up as i anticipated + the start of the new year being brutal both at work and in the world, i didn’t have the energy to tackle this topic. it’s an important one that deserves my full attention.
first things first – what is gaslighting? gaslighting is a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get a person(s) to question their own reality, memory or perception.
during grad school, i found myself frequenting the psychology today website. during my final year in my mft program, there was this great article on 11 warning signs of gaslighting. it is a quick and easy way to analyze whether or not the relationships you are in are truly healthy. let’s get to these 11 warning signs:
1. they tell blatant lies
2. they deny they ever said something, even though you have proof
3. they use what is near and dear to you as ammunition
4. they wear you down over time
5. their actions do not match their words
6. they throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you
7. they know confusion weakens people
8. they project
9. they try and align people against you
10. they tell you or others that you are crazy
11. they tell you everyone else is a liar
any of these individually are less than ideal but it would make more sense that a person could miss that this was happening in the first place if they appeared as isolated events. it would also make sense for a person who grew up being gaslit by their family may not recognize how controlling and manipulative said behavior is when building relationships with friends and partners as an adult.
as we kick off a new year, i encourage you to take a step back and look closely at the most significant relationships in your life. are each of them free of this kind of behavior? if not, why is this behavior being tolerated by you?
if struggling to end a relationship where you are being gaslit, just remember to treat/talk to yourself like someone you love.