• Empowered Voices

What is gaslighting?

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Gaslighting---maybe you have heard of this phrase but you weren't too sure what it is. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It is a way to manipulate (someone) psychologically into questioning their own sanity. It is all about control and power. Some people may not even realize that they are being gaslighted and think that this trauma normal. That a relationship where they are being treated like this is ok. All sense of empowerment is gone.

Some signs of gaslighting are as follows:

  • Turns the tables and makes someone think “they are crazy”

  • Confusion is their main objective, the victim feels confused as to what the truth really is- and they start to put the doubt and blame on themselves.

  • Denying or lying about a recent incident, and accusing the victim of making it up.

  • Blaming the victim for abusive or inappropriate behaviors: “It's your fault I got this mad”

  • Belittling the victim’s concern, or tell them they are a drama queen

  • Isolating you from your friends or social activities, but making it seem that this is their way of protecting you.

  • They get others to doubt you- they will manipulate the facts so that close friends and family will start to believe that you are the problem. They will get the victim to admit to a one time lie or exaggeration.

  • The victim often feels like they are walking on eggshells. They are determined to keep the peace or to not get the abuser angry

  • The highs are extremely high- the abuser is often charming and romantic. The reason the abuser can manipulate is because he already won your trust and your heart.

Gaslighting trauma, whether it is intentional or not, can happen in many types of relationships. This includes those with bosses, friends and parents. But the most devastating form of gaslighting is when it occurs in a romantic relationship. Some of the effects of gaslighting can have long-term effects on a person. Gaslighting can lead to depression, anxiety, isolation, or psychological trauma. These can have a long lasting impact on someone’s mental health and sense of empowerment. They can also make it more difficult for the individual to leave an abusive situation.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of gaslighting, whether it be from a friend, significant other, boss or parents, please reach out for help. You are not alone in this. You are capable of trauma recovery. Empowerment is within your reach.

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