Gaslighting has become a popular phrase and is thrown around frequently by people who are upset or hurt by their partners or family. But, despite the popularity of the phrase, I feel like a lot of people don’t understand what gaslighting is.
So, to clear things up, I have collected some information from credible sources to provide you with everything you need to know about gaslighting. If, after reading this, you have discerned that you are being gaslit, you should take some time to decide how to handle it effectively. In all likelihood, it’s probably time to reassess the relationship in which you are being gaslit, or draw up some serious boundaries.
With all of that being said, here are the 8 things you need to know about gaslighting.
1. It’s emotional abuse.
Gaslighting is extreme emotional abuse. Honestly, when you think about it, it’s mental torture. And anyone who will gaslight you regularly is someone that you do not need to be around. They are manipulative, and manipulative people can be emotionally and physically dangerous.
2. The point of gaslighting is to make you question your sanity.
Gaslighters have one main goal: they want to make you question your sanity. If you question your sanity, they can control you. For example, a mother-in-law who wants to take control of their grandchild’s life may say, “You are an unfit parent,” when you get upset and say, “What did you just say to me?” the gaslighter will likely say, “I didn’t say anything. You are crazy. I do think the baby would be better off with me.” Other examples are abusive partners claiming the abuse never happened or that the victim hit them first.
3. The second goal of gaslighting is to make others question your sanity.
The thing about gaslighters is they are manipulative. And in many cases, they are playing the big game not just the small one. What I mean by this, is that the gaslighter will work slowly over time to make you doubt yourself and to make others doubt you. At first, they may joke about how “crazy” you are, or how “sensitive” you are to yourself and others. They will continuously build up, telling stories and lies to your friends and your family as well. They want to make you look crazy, so they can do with you as they please.
4. Gaslighting can lead to psychosis.
After prolonged gaslighting, you can end up losing your sanity. The thing is, when you are made to not believe or trust your sense of perception, you will not trust or believe anything you see or hear. And that can end up making you lose track of what is real and what isn’t.
5. Not all people who gaslight are narcissists.
Just because someone gaslights you, does not mean they are a narcissist. Yes, narcissists do gaslight, and it’s a common thing for a narcissist to do so. But, there are various types of individuals who engage in manipulative behaviors, not just narcissists.
6. The phrase gaslighting was coined in 1938.
The term narcissist was coined in 1938 after a play called “gas light” was shown. In the play, which was later made into a movie, a woman’s husband slowly manipulates her into believing she is insane.
7. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are gaslighting you.
Much like any buzzword, the term gaslight gets thrown around a lot and is misused. I often see people on social media saying, “That’s gaslighting!” when someone just simply disagreed with them. Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean they are gaslighting you.
8. Gaslighting can occur in relationships of all forms, not just romantic.
You do not have to be romantically involved with someone for them to gaslight you. Politicians do it, doctors do it, a mother-in-law does it, your parents can do it and your friends can too. Anyone who has an interest in manipulating you can gaslight you. Now, that isn’t to say that everyone will. It’s not a common occurrence to be gaslit.