Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that involves manipulating someone into doubting their own perceptions, memories, and sanity. It can be particularly damaging in parent-child relationships because children are more vulnerable to manipulation and may be dependent on their parents for emotional and physical support.
Gaslighting in parent-child relationships can take many forms. For example, a parent may deny that certain events occurred, such as a past instance of abuse or neglect. They may also twist the child’s words or actions to make them seem unreasonable or crazy. Additionally, they may use their position of authority to control and intimidate the child, using threats or guilt to get their way.
“Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents“ by Lindsay C. Gibson offers insights into the long-term impact of being raised by emotionally immature parents and provides strategies for healing.
Over time, gaslighting can have serious psychological effects on the child, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a distorted sense of reality. Children who have experienced gaslighting may struggle with trust and may have difficulty forming healthy relationships in the future.
It’s important to recognize the signs of gaslighting in parent-child relationships and to take action to protect the child. This may involve seeking support from a therapist or other mental health professional, setting clear boundaries with the parent, or even cutting off contact if necessary. Remember that gaslighting is a form of abuse, and no one deserves to be treated this way, especially not by a parent.
For children and adolescents seeking to understand their experiences and feelings, “The Gaslighting Recovery Workbook” by Amy Marlow-MaCoy can be a valuable tool. This interactive workbook provides exercises to help individuals identify gaslighting behaviors and develop strategies to reclaim their reality.