Sometimes you might be told that you’re wrong about something, even though you know you’re not. You might even have evidence to support your version of events, and someone still manages to convince you that you’re in the wrong.
Unfortunately, you’re falling victim to what is known as gaslighting.
Gaslighting can be defined as “a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories”. This is common in abusive relationships, but can also occur in places of work, education and more.
Gaslighting can lead to anxiety and depression caused by an individual’s lack of trust in themself, stemming from the manipulation they’re experiencing. In extreme cases, this can even bring their sanity into question. This may even lead to the victim gaslighting themself.
Here is a list of four signs that prove you’re being subjected to gaslighting.
You’re being lied to
This is an absolute no-brainer when it comes to spotting signs of gaslighting. After all, this is the most common behaviour that perpetrators will use on their victims.
While you might claim that something has happened or is currently happening, the gaslighter will lie to you and deny that your words hold any truth. They’ll even go so far as to contradict your version of events when there’s strong evidence that you’re speaking the truth.
You may even find that the person who is gaslighting you will deny any wrongdoing. Even if there’s evidence to the contrary, they might refuse to own up to their actions because they don’t want to acknowledge responsibility for it.
There can be various reasons for this, and not just because they want to psychologically torment you. It could be because they genuinely can’t stand to accept responsibility for their actions or can’t take criticism.
You aren’t being listened to
If you’re trying to explain yourself, but the person you’re talking to is refusing to listen to (or even acknowledge) what you have to say, this is known as the withholding technique. They may try to trivialise what you have to say, making you feel unimportant and greatly undermined.
A gaslighter may even go so far as to claim that you’re the one trying to confuse things when they are doing it themselves. They’ll act as though they have no understanding of your perspective and won’t allow you to explain it in any depth. Depending on the situation, they could be making things worse when you were trying to fix things or were trying to prevent something from escalating.
Your emotions and feelings are not acknowledged
As well as trivialising what you have to say, the culprit will refuse to acknowledge your feelings. They will do this to ensure they have power over you.
The person who is gaslighting you will proceed to then make statements along the lines of “you need to calm down” or “you need to relax more”. No one likes to be told this, as this gives the impression that you don’t have a valid concern or worry about something.
We all react to events differently, and there’s no shame if someone’s response is more vocal and panicked (especially if they’re not familiar with the circumstances they’re in).
The blame is shifted onto you
Besides lying, the most common tactic of a gaslighter is shifting the blame onto the victim.
No matter what it is you try to discuss with them, explaining how they’re the one in the wrong, they will twist your words and reinterpret them. This will then make it seem as though they’re the innocent one while you’re completely in the wrong.
You may even be trying to explain how that person is making you feel, but they will prioritise themself instead. As mentioned previously, they won’t give you a chance to explain your perspective in an attempt to undermine you.
This aspect of gaslighting is common to see in cases of victim blaming. Victim blaming can make a person feel underappreciated due to how the behaviour they were subjected to has not been addressed appropriately.
Victim blaming occurs in many forms of abusive situations, and is common in cases of sexual harassment or assault. If you think you might be victim to a situation like this, contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline if you’re a woman or Men’s Advice Line if you’re a man for help.
The biggest sign that you’re on the receiving end of gaslighting is when you know that you’re being lied to, followed by the sense that your emotions and opinions are being swept under the rug. The third biggest sign is when the blame for a situation is shifted onto you, even though you know you’re the victim.
Regardless of which of these signs you spot, you should keep your distance from those who are causing you trouble and talk to people who you know you can trust. These people will verify that your version of events are accurate. You should also trust your own judgement, and reach out when you find yourself in a bad situation.
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This was just a small handful of signs that prove you’re on the receiving end of gaslighting. If you’d like to know more about supporting yourself emotionally and making lifestyle changes, contact us today at Ceed for more information.