Gaslighting: How To Recognise And Break Free From Abuse
Gaslighting is one of the most difficult forms of abuse to recognise. People who gaslight create their own reality and can make you question everything you think and do. However, gaslighting tactics are often so slow and subtle that they are barely perceptible. As a way to acquire more power, gaslighting can manifest in almost any relationship, whether professional or personal and is a lot more common than you may think. So how can you spot the signs of gaslighting and break free from gaslighters whether at work or home?
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a powerful form of manipulation that makes you question your version of events and the reality you experience. When something upsets you, a gaslighter will use techniques to show you that you are wrong. As a consequence, victims of gaslighting begin to question their own perception, memory, self-worth and even identity. In some cases, a victim may feel that they are losing their mind.
It may sound drastic, but over time, the subtlety of the lies, personal attacks, control and fake promises can quickly mount to create a very serious problem and can completely destroy the self-confidence of the victim.
Recognising a gaslighter
Gaslighters are those who love to have power. Typically, they are smart and intellectual individuals who may struggle with criticism, negative feedback or competition. They will often try to assume positions of authority or try to ascertain a form of power to feel more comfortable. Gaslighting is a way for this type of individual to feel in control and powerful, leaving the victim feeling paranoid, off-balance and lacking in conviction.
One of the clever tactics that a gaslighter will use is through positive reinforcement. However, they do not want you to succeed in the long run. A positive comment or a kind gesture will make you think they’re a great person, so that, again, you question whether you have got them and the situation wrong. Don’t be fooled by the odd nice gesture; this is all part of their long-term plan.
As a gaslighter can make you question your memory, the best way to recognise a gaslighter is not to trust your memory either. Instead, make notes and keep evidence, especially times and dates that instances occur. A gaslighter will always make you feel like they know more, and that you’d be wrong to question them. So, by keeping a record of evidence, you can confirm whether it is gaslighting or perhaps crossed wires.
To a gaslighter, only their perception of reality is the true one, so it is wise to make notes of every interaction, in case you begin to question your reality.
How to break free from gaslighting
Once you recognise a gaslighter and have captured the evidence you need, there are several different options you can take;
1. Look for back-up
If gaslighting is taking place at work, it is likely that you are not the only victim. Look out for signs of others being gaslighted. If you see anyone else receiving similar treatment, ask them about the behaviour they have received and if they would be willing to document it too. The more people you have, the more compelling your argument and the more confidence you will have to confront the gaslighter’s behaviour.
2. Reaffirm your confidence and self-worth
A gaslighter can really impact your self-esteem and drain you. It is important to bring yourself back up to strength and with full energy and confidence to tackle the issue. Affirmations can be a fantastic way to restore your self-confidence as you listen to and believe these positive and powerful statements. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org, I will send you a free affirmations audio to listen to which can help with restoring confidence.
It can also help to write down all of your positive attributes and keep them in a place where you can remind yourself how amazing you really are, every single day.
Remember also to take some time for self-care and to recharge your batteries. It may help to take a couple of days off work or take yourself away for a little while. This may also help you to form a plan of what you want to achieve when confronting gaslighting behaviour.
3. Escalate the situation
When you feel ready, you can either speak to the gaslighter yourself or escalate to a higher authority if available. Having written evidence is essential for both as the highly manipulative gaslighter will often try to worm there way out and use their charm offensive to get everyone on their side.
Remember, a gaslighter is unlikely to change unless they accept help for their issues of needing control and power over others. So be very wary of any promises they give you unless you see action that they mean what they say.
Do you need help tackling a gaslighter?
Being a victim of a gaslighting can be a very traumatic and difficult time, whether it is at work or home. It can be incredibly beneficial to seek help, whether from support charities, friends and family or through therapy and self-help. I work with many clients who are overcoming problems with gaslighters and help to provide a range of tools and techniques to restore confidence, power and self-esteem.
Through hypnotherapy, NLP, meditation and mindfulness, I will create a bespoke plan tailored to your unique needs and situation. Find out more about how I can help by emailing email@example.com or calling 0207 971 7677 to arrange your free initial consultation.