Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that often occurs in abusive relationships. It is a covert type of emotional abuse where the bully or abuser misleads the target, creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality.1 Ultimately, the victim of gaslighting starts to feel unsure about their perceptions of the world and even wonder if they are losing their sanity.

Here are a few forms of gaslighting. This is a form of emotional abuse and should be taken seriously. No one deserves to be treated like this – all humans deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

  • Withholding – When the abusive partner refuses to listen or avoids seeking understanding of what their partner is trying to communicate with them.
  • Countering – When the abusive partner questions the victims memory and recollection of events even if the other partner is remembering correctly.
  • Blocking and Diverting – When the abusive partner attempts to switch topics and steers the conversation to questioning the other partner’s thoughts.
  • Trivialising – When the abusive partner minimised the other partner’s feelings and emotions. The abusive partner makes the other partner feel meaningless and unimportant.
  • Forgetting & Denial – When the abusive partner acts like they don’t remember a situation or conversation that occurred. They deny former promises they made to the other partner.

If you suspect that you are experiencing gaslighting, you may also find it helpful to talk to a mental health professional. They can help you learn more about the situation, gain perspective, and develop new coping strategies that can help you deal with the behavior.

17 responses to “Gaslighting”

    • This is great. We need to protect growing kids from gaslighting and it’s efforts. But we can’t protect them always. So one way of going about it is Validate Their Feelings – Be strong enough to be a “loving witness” to their precious feelings. Remind your students that you still love them. If you are hearing how they feel, you may be their safe teacher. Honor this role, even though you may have to deal with their difficult emotions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gaslighting is an insidious, but unfortunately, not particularly uncommon, form of emotional abuse. And since subtle forms of gaslighting can often masquerade as being totally innocent, there are times you might not suspect it’s happening at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have sometimes obliquely referenced something we jokingly call “the Great Betrayal” at home. If I ever write it up, I’m definitely linking to your clear and straightforward explanation of gaslighting. “What promise? No one ever said…” It hits you like a slap, and it’s so casual and confident that you really do start to doubt your reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this is a serious issue which is often taken lightly. Gaslighting is a form of abuse that involves a person deliberately causing someone to doubt their sanity. This may cause feelings of confusion or powerlessness. The long-term effects of gaslighting include trauma, anxiety, and depression.

      Like

      • I was lucky to be gaslit alongside my similarly-gaslit husband. We were able to validate one another’s confusion about what was really going on. We realized we were being gaslit and actually had the idea to type up everything that had happened, every conversation, every action that had gone before, just as we remembered it, including things that we weren’t sure about but that we had believed. Then we each read it, kind of signed it mentally, and saved it. We immediately felt so much better!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, excellent team work. It not only shows the strength of your relationship and the value of working through things together, but it also shows how well aware you both are with the concepts and the openness

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