I was watching television some time back and I came across this news on Donald Trump, vocally tampering with the facts and tricking people into his falsehoods. A few days later, I came across two articles centered on how people can be made to believe of a false reality, something that never happened or something that did happen but people deny it. Are you perplexed by this phenomenon too? Well, let’s delve deeper into this then.
Now, what Trump and his team are accused of doing and what those two articles were talking about is gaslighting, a concept that has become the talk of the town for a while now. Gaslighting walks us into the purview of deliberate psychological manipulations done by human beings on one another in a way that makes them question their reality and blindly believe a false one.
Seen and projected in popular movies like The girl on the train and Drishyam, gaslighting was first brought into limelight through the play Gas light (1938)- an intense depiction of a husband fooling his wife into believing that a night before’s incidents were just a story made up by her mind and not the reality (when it actually happened).
So, how can one get to know if he/she is being gaslighted? Here, we present you 7 signs of a victim of gaslighting-
- You feel confused
People who gaslight typically use this as their basic technique. You will be pulled into a conversation or a story, rather, of events and information which are strikingly contrasting to something that you feel you have experienced. Even your slightest uncertainty regarding the events can be easily caught by them and they don’t hesitate to advantage of you.
- Detect the emotional abuse
According to psychologist and author Robin Stern, there is definitely an emotional abuse involved in gaslighting, which the victim fails to acknowledge and delves deeper into it. Some of these emotional abuses mentioned by him are
- You feel crazy about everything that you are doing.
- You start lying to avoid the reality twists that you are experiencing.
- Simple decision-making gets disrupted.
- You feel apologetic towards your family, friends and other proximal social relationships.
- You know something is going terribly wrong but you cannot say it out loud.
- It happens over time
Gaslighting is not a one-day phenomenon. The victim’s mind is played with across a time length to make them realize that it is not just one thing that is they are not getting right, it is a series of things which they are not able to put in place. Hence, hinting that the larger picture in their mind is corrupt. Gaslighting is insidious in nature; it grows on you.
- You question yourself all the time
When the gaslighter twists and reframes your version of reality, you are compelled to doubt your sanity with a heavy heart. For example “Did I really do like that”? , “But, how can that be, I remember what actually happened”? ,“What is happening these days? Is there something wrong with me”? The main motto of Gaslighters is to make you feel irrational and fake.
- No proof to bank upon
Having fallen into this trap once, it can be very difficult to get out of it or prove your point. You may also see people being “anti-you”, in terms of distorting with the fragments of your memory and using phrases like-“You were so feisty with that kid, we all saw it”, “Maybe this is one of your crazy stories”, “I think you should rethink about that”. This issue aggravates when you start trusting their view of truth and doubt yours.
Usually seen in an abusive relationship, your partner can be seen saying “Are you going to make a fuss about that too?” “You are a sensitive person, learn to get over such things” Don’t just take these words as remarks which keep you second guessing your self-esteem or qualities. Try to figure out the rationale behind it and counteract.
The gaslighter can be seen as turning the tables at the victim, right on point. He/she diverts the claim back to the victim, making them responsible for all the actions and the mess, when in fact, it is the gaslighter cooking all the chaos.
Gaslighting is a very powerful technique to brainwash an idea, an event or an information. The person who does it gains control over the person being gaslighted. On a general note, anyone can get gaslighted, however, people who are more suggestible, are more susceptible to falling prey for it.