Understanding Gaslighting: How to Recognize and Avoid Emotional Abuse
Updated: Jan 20
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that can have severe consequences for mental health. Learn the signs and how to protect yourself.
By Alexander T. Linderman
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that can have severe consequences for an individual's mental health and well-being. It is a manipulative tactic in which a person or group makes someone question their own sanity, memory, or perception of events. Gaslighting is not just a disagreement or a difference of opinion. It is not a one-time mistake or a miscommunication. It is a repeated and intentional pattern of manipulation that aims to make the victim doubt their own reality.
Gaslighting can happen in any type of relationship, including family, friends, romantic partners, and even in the workplace. It is not limited to any specific gender, age, or socioeconomic group. It can be subtle and insidious, making it difficult for the victim to identify. The gaslighter may deny or twist the truth, make the victim feel guilty or ashamed, and even go as far as to make the victim doubt their own memory or perception of events.
Recognizing the signs of gaslighting is crucial in order to protect yourself. Some signs to look out for include feeling like you're "going crazy," feeling guilty or ashamed, feeling isolated, or losing trust in yourself. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be a victim of gaslighting, it is important to educate yourself about this form of manipulation and to take steps to protect yourself.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from gaslighting is to set boundaries. This means clearly communicating your needs, values, and expectations to the other person and standing up for yourself when they are not met. It's also important to surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can provide a safe space for you to express your feelings and receive emotional support.
Self-care is also crucial when dealing with gaslighting. This includes engaging in activities that promote physical, emotional and mental well-being, such as exercise, healthy eating, and sleep. Additionally, building resilience and learning to cope with stress can help to protect you from the negative effects of gaslighting.
It's important to remember that gaslighting is not acceptable behavior and should not be tolerated. You deserve to be treated with respect and your reality and perception of events are valid. Be aware of the signs, educate yourself and take steps to protect yourself.