Gaslighting is emotional abuse that is used to manipulate you and gain control over you.
It causes you to doubt your thoughts, experiences, perceptions, and decisions.
The abuse is usually gradual, and sometimes subtle, leading you to feel defeated and exhausted, but unable to explain why or put a name to it.
Anyone at any age is susceptible to gaslighting.
Common Gaslighting Tactics
- Negative body language, looks, or ignoring, that cause you to believe your needs and thoughts are not valid.
- Withholding emotions to gain control, leading you to believe your emotions are irrational or unacceptable.
- Denying that conversations or events happened, or didn’t happen the way you remember them.
- Demeaning comments that attack your character, leading you to feel that you are stupid, or inadequate.
- Manipulating situations to make you feel self-doubt and confusion (e.g. Tell you their favorite color is blue, then when around other people they say it is yellow, to hurt your credibility).
- Every decision you make is criticized, leading you to believe you can’t make good decisions.
- Being told your thinking is crazy, you can’t remember anything right, or the way you do things is wrong. Often use subtle, manipulative words that contain the seeds of doubt and negativity. It can also be conveyed through a look or certain body language.
- Regularly being corrected or told/shown that there are better ways to perform tasks or make decisions, as though your way is inadequate.
- They will often control conversations.
- Reverting questions back to take attention off of them, causing you to question your own motives and views.
- Accusing you of doing what they’re doing to you (aka projecting). e.g. accusing you of cheating when they’re cheating.
How Gaslighting Affects You
- Constantly second guessing yourself, even in simple decisions like what to cook for dinner. Wondering if you can do anything right.
- Feeling confused or crazy outside of the relationship. Self-doubt starts to spread to other areas of your life.
- You begin to shut down and withdraw from activities, friends, and society, as you become confused and exhausted.
- Although nothing bad has happened, you begin to lose hope and joy...yet you can’t say why.
- You begin to question your value and worth.
If you or someone you know is being gaslighted, there is hope.
Door of Hope support groups offer safe spaces where participants can share, process, and get the help they need. Our trauma recovery counseling offers freedom and life-changing transformation from the deep wounding of abuse.
Contact us today to learn more or make an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-767-2150.