VOS: Gaslighting Explained

Gaslighting Explained

Emotional wellbeing
Psychology explained

July 2023

Gaslighting Explained

Hello, dear VOS community. We're pleased to have you join us as we delve into a vital topic often brushed under the rug but has substantial impacts on mental health—gaslighting.

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where a person systematically causes another individual to question their reality, feelings, and sanity. It's a form of emotional abuse that, over time, can lead to significant mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and even trauma.

Picture a relationship where your feelings are regularly invalidated, your words twisted, and your experiences dismissed, causing you to doubt your own memory or perception. Such instances could be signs of gaslighting.

This abusive pattern can emerge in various contexts such as romantic relationships, friendships, workplaces, and families. Gaslighting isn't about standard disagreements—it's a persistent, calculated strategy aimed at gaining power and control.

Recognizing the Signs of Gaslighting

The insidious nature of gaslighting often makes it difficult to recognize, as it escalates slowly and subtly. However, several indicators can help you spot if you're dealing with a gaslighter:

  • They tell blatant lies and deny they ever said something, even when you have evidence.
  • They use your vulnerabilities against you.
  • They downplay your feelings or thoughts, claiming you're overly sensitive or overreacting.
  • They confuse and disorient you, making you question your memory or perception.

Remember, these are just examples, and everyone's experience is unique. Trust your gut; if something feels wrong, it may be worth further examination.

What Can I Do?

Uncovering that you're experiencing gaslighting can be a daunting realization. But remember this: you're resilient, and you're not alone. Here are some constructive steps to help you navigate this challenging situation:

  1. Acknowledge: Recognize and understand what gaslighting is. You've already taken that step by being here with us!
  2. Believe in Yourself: Your feelings and experiences are valid. Don't allow anyone to convince you otherwise.
  3. Document: Keep tangible proof of your experiences. It can be useful, particularly when your memory or reality is being called into question.
  4. Establish Boundaries: Assertively communicate what is not acceptable to you. Everyone deserves respect and understanding.
  5. Seek Professional Help: Consult with mental health professionals who can provide guidance and coping mechanisms. You don't have to face this alone.
  6. Consider Your Options: In some instances, leaving the abusive relationship may be the best course of action. Ensure your safety and wellbeing always come first.

At VOS, we have a network of professionals ready to provide the support, advice, and resources you need. Whether you're battling gaslighting or other mental health challenges, remember, you're never alone on this journey.

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