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Gaslighting: The Silent Killer of Relationships and How to Recognize and Stop It

Have you been accused of overreacting or behaving irrationally after confronting someone about their conduct? If so, it’s possible that the person was gaslighting you.

Gaslighting is a type of controlling behavior that frequently arises in abusive relationships. It involves emotionally abusing one’s partner by causing them to feel uncertain and perplexed about their own feelings and perceptions.

Individuals who engage in gaslighting may deliberately provoke their partner to make them question their sanity and judgment. They may also try to undermine their partner’s self-esteem and make them feel dependent on them.

If you suspect that you are a victim of gaslighting, it is critical to seek support and guidance from a trusted friend, therapist, or counselor. Remember that gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, and it is never acceptable or excusable behavior in a relationship.

Gaslighting is a manipulative behavior that can give the perpetrator a feeling of control and power over the victim. By distorting the truth, the gaslighter can influence the other person’s choices and behavior to benefit their own interests.

Although commonly related to romantic relationships, gaslighting can occur in almost any type of relationship, including friendships and family bonds. It is a form of emotional abuse that seeks to undermine the victim’s self-confidence and decision-making abilities by causing confusion and self-doubt.

Gaslighting can severely affect an individual’s emotional and mental well-being. If left unchecked, it can significantly impair their ability to function effectively in various aspects of life.

Credits: DepositPhotos

Related: 10 Reasons Why Honesty is Important in a Relationship

A Look at the “Gaslighting’s” Origins

Gaslighting, a term that has gained prominence in recent times, actually has its origins in the 1930s. It is believed that the term “gaslight” was borrowed from a play called Angel Street, which was later made into a movie named “Gaslight.”

In the same way that the word is usually used today, the plot of the movie is about a man who tricks his wife into thinking she is going crazy so he can steal her money.

But you might be curious about where the word “gaslight” comes from. In the story, the man stole his wife’s jewelry from the attic, but his wife saw the gas lights go out downstairs while he was doing it.

When she told her husband what she saw, he made her think it was all in her head. In the end, this makes her question how she sees the world and start to doubt her memories.

How Do You Know If Someone Is Trying to Gaslight You?

Look out for these unmistakable indications that someone is trying to gaslight you.

1. They won’t confess the lie.

Someone who is gaslighting will do to do their best to disprove their claim of lying, regardless of the amount of soundproofs and arguments you present to them.

2. Attempting to convince you that an event or activity did not occur.

When you attempt to call them out on their undesirable conduct, they typically deny that it occurred. They would go so far as to invent a completely separate tale to distort reality and escape their predicament.

3. They spread lies or spread fake news about you.

People who engage in gaslighting are typical rumormongers who delight in disseminating falsehoods about you. In addition, they take delight in spreading false information about you behind your back.

4. They avoid conflicts as a result of their negative conduct.

A gaslighting person, like any abusive partner, will try to avoid conflicts, particularly ones that point out their despicable behavior. They will either shift the topic or attempt to blame you.

5. When you call them out, they immediately claim you’re overreacting.

Another indication that someone is gaslighting you is when they become excessively protective when their unwanted behavior is called out.

Part of their protection strategy is to inform you outright that you are overreacting. This will cause you to query whether what they said was correct and whether you are being overly sensitive and judgmental of them.

6. This makes you responsible for their bad handling of you.

When they treat you poorly, and you attempt to express your worries, they instantly blame you for being treated poorly in the first place.

He’ll call out areas where you fall short, such as not paying enough attention to them, being irritating all the time, and possibly even being too chatty about your day.

7. Overpromises and praises you but does not follow through on their promises.

A person’s deeds show the sincerity of their words. This is something that gaslighters are incapable of.

Do not be persuaded by their shallow flattery and flatteries. You must keep in mind that the majority of what they say is simply to make their deceitful schemes work.

8. Changing the facts to make their abusive conduct seem acceptable.

In addition to distorting reality to avoid confrontation, a gaslighter may also change the facts to make it appear as if their abusive behavior was not to blame for what occurred.

9. They say, “you’re too sensitive,” and their abusive behavior is “just a joke.” 

Gaslighting can happen outside of romantic relationships. These people usually make you feel bad and oversensitive for reacting to their bad behavior.

Gaslighting occurs when someone acts rudely and then claims it was a joke when you take offense.

10. They isolate you from family and friends who might oppose their abuse.

As soon as the person gaslighting you realizes that those close to you, like family or friends, may be able to assist you, they will cut you off from those relationships.

ABUSE OF GASLIGHTING IN THE WORKPLACE AND IN SOCIETY

Identifying gaslighting behavior in the workplace is just as crucial as recognizing it in a romantic relationship.

Workplace gaslighting can occur when the gaslighter acts in a manner that negatively affects the target’s perception of the truth and undermines their self-confidence.

This could mean getting rid of any responsibility or blame for a mistake they’ve personally committed while at work or giving all responsibility for the achievement of a group initiative.

A particular type of emotional abuse may occur in the workplace and is often called ” whistle-blower gaslighting.”

This kind of behavior occurs when someone working in a workplace who raises concerns or reports the presence of misconduct or harassment at work is slammed for doing it.

Sometimes people are told they’re being oversensitive or that they have not correctly remembered or misinterpreted the events that took place.

However, gaslighting may also be apparent in a social setting, such as a person who gaslights refusing to acknowledge or deny one’s own identity and experiences. It continues to be a problem for society due to an inequitable distribution of political, social, and economic power within the populace.

Related: 15 of the Funniest Tweets by Women about Dating Men

How Does Gaslighting Abusiveness Impact Mental Health?

Credits: DepositPhotos

Being regularly gaslighted by a person, like any other sort of emotional abuse in relationships, may be harmful to your mental health.

After being emotionally misled for so long, you may begin to doubt your own reality and views. This will leave you feeling alone and helpless, resulting in poor self-esteem and frequent doubts about your own value.

The adverse effects of being emotionally manipulated on your mental health, if not treated appropriately, can harm elements of your life, such as how you function at work or associate with others.

Early signs of Gaslighting That May Damage Your Mental Health

  1. It is difficult to make a decision for yourself.
  2. Excuse your partner’s gaslighting tactics.
  3. Being self-conscious occupies the majority of the time.
  4. Thinking that you were the one to blame and that they mistreated you.
  5. Then you should be asking yourself questions about your mental health and memory.
  6. Doubting your opinion, judgment, feelings, etc.
  7. Feeling lonely.
  8. Be careful not to express your opinions.
  9. Always feeling fearful and afraid.
  10. Attempting to justify their actions and then put the situation in a positive perspective.
  11. Always be extra vigilant when you are with your partner.
  12. The belief that you are excessively sensitive.
  13. Self-esteem is crashing, and you are constantly dissatisfied with yourself.
  14. Always apologizing for every mistake.

Final Thoughts

Understanding gaslighting and its effects is crucial for individuals to recognize and address the manipulation tactics that may be used against them. Gaslighting can have severe consequences on a person’s mental health and well-being, causing them to doubt their own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. It can also lead to a loss of trust in oneself and others, isolation, and emotional trauma.

Recognizing the signs of gaslighting and seeking help if you are a victim of gaslighting is important for maintaining a healthy sense of self and relationships. By increasing awareness and education around gaslighting, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for those who may be experiencing this form of emotional abuse.