5 Signs of Gaslighting

January 20, 2017

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Credit: Anna Padron/Achona Online

The term “gaslighting” originally came from a movie and now it is a legitimate form of psychological abuse.

To the public, the term “gaslighting” has little to no significance. What many people do not know is that they can potentially be a victim of this manipulation device. According to Healthy Place gaslighting is a “form of emotional abuse where the abuser manipulates situations repeatedly to trick the victim into distrusting his or her own memory and perceptions.” Gaslighting is common among couples and is a form of verbal and mental abuse.

1.) You are constantly second-guessing yourself and have a lot of self-doubts

Gaslighting is essentially a form of manipulation and in turn causes victims to doubt themselves. They start to second guess themselves and think that what they heard was something different. The term “gaslight” originally came from the 1944 film called Gaslight. In this film the husband dims the lights and convinces his wife that that is the way the lights normally are, eventually she thinks that she has lost her mind. When someone you deem trustworthy openly contradicts what you are saying it often times leads to self-doubt. 

2.) Things never seem to add up

Since the foundation of gaslighting consists of lies, things often do not make sense. One easy way to tell if you are being gaslighted is if things simply do not add up. Trust your instincts and do not be afraid to call your friend or partner on it. Psychology teacher Dana Nazaretian provides a more trivial example of gaslighting.

She says, “When your husband asks are those new shoes, and you respond I’ve had it for years.”

To avoid being gaslighted Nazaretian says, “Always be a critical thinker, second guess everything.”

3.) You over apologize

In serious gaslighting cases the partner or friend makes it appear that the victim is always in the wrong. This leads the victim to apologize for just about everything, including their partner’s feelings or actions. In the novel Girl On The Train, the main character Rachel is constantly apologizing. Rachel suffers from alcoholism and when she blacks out her husband makes up lies about the things that she does, thus gaslighting her to think that she is crazy. This causes her to apologize for everything even things that she doesn’t do.

4.) You constantly feel like you are “too sensitive”

If someone is being gaslighted they feel like they are constantly in the wrong, this can lead to them feeling that their feelings are not valid. Victims of gaslighting often dismiss their feelings and think of themselves as over dramatic.

5.) You feel like you are in a cloud of confusion

Relationships that feature gaslighting tend to blur what is true and what is merely a lie. This results in the victim to be in a state of confusion, they are not sure what, if anything, they should believe. CNN and other news sources have written articles accusing President Donald Trump of gaslighting.

In the opinion piece, the media says, “Reality is becoming hazy in the era of Trump. And that’s no accident.The fact is Trump has become America’s gaslighter in chief.”

Trump has been seen on television saying certain things and then he is seen on television again denying that he has said those things. This has left much of America confused. A more comical instance of gaslighting involved several Academy girls.

Senior Liz Benjamin says,“Lexie Diez and I continuously convinced Claire that we hated dark chocolate. She would get dark chocolate coffee and we would tell her that it tasted like dirt and she had no taste buds. Megan Przedpelski was also in on it. While this was going on Lexie and I would still eat dark chocolate.” 

When asked about this Claire Leto says, “I was shocked, I was gaslighted just because I enjoy a limited edition Dunkin Donuts beverage.”

Although several of the examples used in this article seem trivial and maybe comical gaslighting is a serious form of abuse. If you think that you or someone you know may be in a toxic relationship with gaslighting, seek help.

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