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What is Gaslighting? Four Ways You Can Respond To Emotional Abuse

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Written by Vivienne Juan, Associate Elect Partner

Have you ever felt controlled, and been made to doubt your own sanity?

Take a look at this short, one minute video, as it explains the three main components of gaslighting that you may have even experienced before.



Gaslighting is a technique of persistent manipulation by someone who causes you to doubt your own sanity in order to dominate you, and is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. The three symptoms of abuse are as follows:

  1. Being convinced that the abuse being suffered is your fault

  2. Being convinced that what you experienced wasn’t actually abuse

  3. Being separated from people who would otherwise be able to support you through that abuse

Since someone who is gaslighting you can oscillate between extremes of kind and cruel, you begin to second-guess yourself. You start to question if your understanding of what is happening is, in fact, the reality. You might even feel like it’s all your fault, that you deserve your abuse, and that you trust their judgment over your own! Similar to being trolled online, you may feel bullied and alone, and fear telling others of what you are going through, which can compound the pain and suffering.



READ MORE:

Head Mentor Paul S. Waugh contributes to the debate about online anonymity through our Parents Against Trolls initiative.



If this sounds familiar, then the following advice may be of help to you, in order to take the first steps to feeling better in yourself, and be strong enough to rectify the situation. This might mean anything from having a candid conversation, through to removing yourself from the situation completely.


In this TikTok video from Dr Pria, you will find four suggestions of phrases you can use to stand up for yourself and respond to your abuser:

  1. “I know what I experienced”

  2. “We remember that differently”

  3. “I hear you, but that’s not my experience”

  4. “My emotions are not up for debate”

According to Psychology Today, gaslighting and narcissism often go hand in hand. While there could be other reasons for gaslighting, it makes for a very effective method for narcissists to feed on their prey, and we can actually experience this behaviour initially in our families, from our parents or our siblings, or both.


If you want to understand in more detail and depth about narcissism

and toxic narcissism in families, here is a thorough and necessary article from Sally Davis.


For more on handling toxic narcissism, and to get the right support, please check out our Parents Against Trolls & Trolling campaign to register your interest or join a support group.


Have a question? To send me feedback or share your thoughts,

please do get in touch and drop me an email — I’ll be happy to hear from you.

303 views10 comments

10 komentarzy


jatindersingh4
jatindersingh4
14 lut 2022

Thanks Viv for sharing - as I watched this it helped me feel and understand how a term like gas lighting minimises the psychological torture it actually is. I could how this is a subtle covert way to cause a lot of mental, emotional and spiritual damage to someone.

Polub

Daniel Schmitz
Daniel Schmitz
03 lut 2022

Thanks Viv for explaining what gaslighting is. This is real deep manipulation of someone and can be very tricky to recognise and to get out of abusive situations. Thanks for showing ways to overcome gaslighting and to get back in touch with who we are as human beings. It’s great to hear that help is available!

Polub

Gillian Watson
Gillian Watson
31 sty 2022

Thanks for sharing this Viv, what is so interesting is how covert and prolific the gaslighting can be when you aren't aware of it happening! Knowledge is incredibly important when building your self awareness of where your fears, insecurities and neuroses come from and also you you spend your time with. It's the start of knowing what you stand for, how to set healthy boundaries and increasing your ability to respond instead of react or doubt yourself.

Polub

Mel Francis
Mel Francis
26 sty 2022

Thank you Viv for explaining gaslighting in such a simple powerful way, it’s so important that people understand how gaslighting happens in not only romantic relationships but in families and workplaces. No one ought to be narcissistically fed on like that.

Polub
Diane Cubitt
Diane Cubitt
12 lut 2022
Odpowiada osobie:

I agree Mel, people need to be educated about gaslighting, little remarks may not seem harmful at first, but if it is repeated over and over again, the effects can be with us for a long time without being aware.

Polub

Diane Cubitt
Diane Cubitt
26 sty 2022

Thank you Viv, not understanding what Gaslighting was, now I can see just how much I was made to feel guilty for something that wasn’t my fault. Articles like this are needed, for how many children are made to feel like everything is their fault and they accept that what is happening to them is and has been done because their parents, teachers or friends care and love them? Thank you for sharing

Polub
Vivienne
Vivienne
31 sty 2022
Odpowiada osobie:

Thanks for sharing Dee, me too. And it doesn't even stop as a child; it's important to know that having fostered this type of guilt-based dependency in childhood, we tend to follow the same patterns through to adulthood, and can continue to put ourselves in situations and relationships where further gaslighting can occur, such as with so-called friends, or spouses. Therefore education around actions responses to free ourselves from these control dramas is so necessary.

Polub

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