When you are faced with estrangement and alienation you scour the internet for answers.
You will, all too soon discover that there are ‘new’ words or terminology out there.
What on earth do they all mean?
The term gaslighting is everywhere and although it sounds as though it is modern behaviour the term goes back to a film in 1940’s, called ‘Gaslight’. It is a story of a manipulative husband who continually questions his wife, to the extent where she believes she is unbalanced.
Gaslighting is about power and control and strips you of your self worth.
It can happen to anyone, it is not gender specific and effects all ages.
It is not a behaviour that happens overnight, the self-doubt creeps in over a period of time, until you question what is real.
Scarily the victim can become over dependant on the perpetrator.
Most of us use our gut-feelings on many different things, but if you are being abused this way, you even question that gut-feeling.
People who gas-light are fundamentally liars, and they are experts at it, they do it in a charming way!
The self-doubt begins.
Time and time again you will say that they have said something to you, but they strenuously deny ever saying it. In the end you question it yourself.
Maybe I heard wrong.
In relationships perhaps as a parent you are constantly told you should never had kids, in the end you believe they are right. As a grandparents you are told you are toxic.
The abuser will say something nice about you only to then say something horrible, they seem to build you up and then knock you down.
With every action you begin to doubt yourself.
Most of us need stability and victims will often keep looking to the abuser for their stability, when in fact they are the very ones who are causing instability and uncertainty.
As they are so good at lying, they tell you that you tell lies all the time and you try to defend yourself for things that you haven’t actually said or done.As they continue to question your mental health, they may also suggest to family and friends that you are ill, you begin to wonder if in fact you are very unwell.
The abuser will also suggest that your family and friends are liars themselves, another reason for you to question everything.
Gaslighting is emotional and mental abuse.
Knowledge is always a good thing, being aware of the behaviour of others can enable us as to how to deal with unwanted behaviours, and to regain our self-worth.
As with words such as Gaslighting, Stockholm Syndrome, Narcissism,False Memory Syndrome, to name but a few, they are labels, what we all need to do is to be true to ourselves, be responsible for our own behaviour, be mindful of how low some people will stoop to gain power and control over us.
Don’t allow them to have that power.