Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt themselves, and ultimately their sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. It creates an unequal power dynamic in a relationship; people do not even realize it is happening because it is so subtle.
Gaslighting happens in romantic relationships, parental relationships, the workplace, or even over an entire society. Gaslighters do this by creating a negative narrative about you; there’s something wrong and inadequate about you.Some examples are “I’m not cheating; you’re just crazy”; this is a way of deflecting blame. gaslighters can be caught red-handed with proof and can turn it around to make you believe that it didn’t happen and that you imagine the whole thing.
Also, gaslighters justify their emotional or physically abusive behavior by saying things like “You made me do this” or “I only did it because I love you.” Can you see how manipulative that statement is? It creates a perception that LOVE equals ABUSE!
Parents who gaslight undermine their child’s reality, usually to get them to obey. A parent will say things like “You are making such a big deal out of nothing,” “You are so sensitive,” “I criticize you because I love you,” or “I am not arguing, I am discussing this with you” as they are yelling at their kid or “you made me do this” as they hit their kid. Gaslighting is very detrimental and can have a long-lasting impact on children.
To be considered gaslighting, these types of statements need to be said regularly for the abuser to stay on the offensive, control the conversation, and dominate the relationship. If you try to challenge them, confront them with the truth, they will escalate quickly, and can go after you ten-fold. Their goal is to wear you down, so you become discouraged, fearful, debilitated, and full of self-doubt.It is a vicious damaging cycle.
If you feel you have been in this type of relationship/relationships seek professional help. You are not alone.