What is gaslighting and how to protect yourself from silent violence
The modern term gaslighting has entered our vocabulary quite recently. The very phenomenon, hidden behind the concept and meaning a form of psychological violence, is often encountered.
Gaslighting – what is it in psychology, the definition of how to recognize an unusual phenomenon and deal with it – every woman should know.
The content of the article:
- What is gaslighting
- Where can it manifest
- What is dangerous
- How to recognize
- How to counter gaslighting
Gaslighting concept in psychology
The unusual name – “gaslighting” – appeared thanks to the film “Gas Light”, released in 1944. According to the plot, a woman, without knowing it, is exposed to the psychological influence exerted by her husband. He made her husband believe that she was crazy.
The textbook plot perfectly illustrates the essence of the phenomenon – the manipulator’s suggestion to his victim of the idea of his own inferiority.
Gaslight – Trailer
Gaslighting in relationships has a peculiarity – it may not contain direct offensive words. This is such a psychological pressure, at which a person begins to doubt himself, to belittle himself.
The process of such psychological manipulation is time-consuming. Over the course of many months and even years, the manipulator deliberately distorts the facts and in every possible way tries to make the victim stop trusting himself. It is important for him to seize control of his victim at any cost.
This form of manipulation is common in unhealthy, codependent relationships.
Where gaslighting can occur
Areas where psychological manipulation techniques can be found are not limited to family relationships.
There is a phenomenon among friends when a person has a feeling of his own inferiority, strangeness or abnormality.
A gaslighter at work creates an atmosphere in which his partner begins to feel incompetent, weak and stupid. Therefore, the first one has to take everything into his own hands.
This is a kind of gaslighting in the family. The case is considered the most difficult, since the child does not have the ability to track the manipulations of the parents and properly resist them. The child has no choice, he gets used to this attitude and in the future has a great chance of becoming the same.
The area in which gaslighting in a relationship from a man occurs most often. Bullying one partner over another and firm denial of their cruelty are the basis of such a relationship.
There are cases when manipulation occurred in the relationship of a psychologist with a client. The first instills in his opponent feelings, emotions and states that in fact do not exist. In addition, he ties the client to his point of view, questioning his own impressions, assessments and perceptions of reality.
Reasons for gaslighting
In normal communication, people exchange opinions, it is allowed the existence of not one point of view, but several. As soon as a partner has a regular denial of any emotions, events that happened earlier, we can safely say that we are talking about gaslighting.
Forms of psychological manipulation can be mild. Such an impact is not always made with malicious intent. Usually the aggressor in this way disclaims responsibility for any actions, or he simply masks his fear.
A very convenient position is to blame everything on a partner who, allegedly, misunderstood and misunderstood the situation because of his emotionality. A man uses gaslighting, as a rule, in order not to admit his mistake.
Why gaslighting is dangerous
Gaslighting victims have frequent manifestations of both acute and chronic progressive mental disorders. They suffer from depression, increased anxiety, panic attacks, delusional disorders.
Another danger of such a phenomenon is the high risk of developing the victim’s belief that she is really crazy, and her life does not lend itself to conscious control.
The development of other psychosomatic diseases is not excluded.
Therefore, the concept of gaslighting, what it is in psychology, the definition and features of recognition are very important.
How to recognize gaslighting
Gaslighting is not as easy to recognize as it might seem at first glance. Manipulators can often apologize, try to blame someone else, and distract the victim until she forgets the reason for the fight.
Having an idea of how to recognize gaslighting, you can save yourself from this phenomenon.
The partner uses the following tactics:
- humiliation. During disagreements, he says: “You are not right”, or “You are stupid, you do not understand this”;
- hiding information… The partner deliberately hides the facts that do not suit him;
- accusation… In any situation, if something went wrong as intended, the partner will always be to blame. The manipulator itself must necessarily remain flawless;
- distortion of the facts of past events… As examples show, the gaslighter is able to recall any event from your past, but deliberately distort the facts, changing the details and convincing that everything was exactly as he presented;
- the victim is trying to prove something all the time to your partner;
- denial of partner’s feelings and doubts… If you tell your manipulator openly that these relationships are not good for you, that you take everything to heart, he will not even listen, and even more so he will never admit that you are right;
- unfair accusations… Often in speech he uses the phrases “You never listen to me”, “You always think that you are right”, “Everything should always be your way.” It will not work to dissuade a man that he is wrong;
- partner isolation… This method allows the gaslighter to avoid an environment that could undermine his authority and speak out in support of a partner;
- convincing her couple that she is crazy… These words are repeated very often.
Often, a partner brings in relatives and friends. This is done in order to confuse the victim and make him feel uncomfortable.
Distortion of events and denial of the real situation helps the manipulator maintain a situation when his opinion is the only correct one. Thus, gaslighting, for the most part, has exactly these features. But quite often there are other forms of manifestation.
How to counter gaslighting
A few tips on how to deal with gaslighting will help you find a way out of an unpleasant situation.
First of all, you need to remember that the goal pursued by your partner is to make you doubt your own perception of the world. This will make it possible to exercise constant control over your victim.
When interacting with a gaslighter, it is important to follow certain tactics:
- stick to the facts… In any situation, especially when the truth is deliberately distorted, you need to determine for yourself what is the truth and adhere to it. This method makes it possible to overcome doubts and feel solid ground under your feet.
- Pause to give yourself a chance to reflect on the situation. This method will prevent attempts to exert unwanted influence.
- Don’t let yourself be blamed… In situations where you understand that you are faced with a distortion of the facts, you should tell your partner that you will not allow yourself to be blamed;
- no need to openly tell your partner that he is lying. It is enough just to voice that your point of view is at odds with his beliefs.
- You can directly tell the manipulator that you are in doubt…
It is best to make it clear to the gaslighter that you know about his tactics. It can be specified that it is this fact that makes communication difficult.
You can even surrender to a persistent partner, this will make it possible to avoid attacks. But it’s important to remain unconvinced and realize that this behavior is nothing more than a way to avoid confrontation.
The most optimal way out of this situation is maximum distance from gaslighter… If we are talking about a husband or lover, then it is better to break off the relationship with such a partner. Once the victim is at a certain distance from her abuser, she can critically analyze the situation and draw the right conclusions.
Gaslighting is a form of violence in which the abuser is to blame… It is important to keep this in mind. Awareness of how to resist gaslighting, recognize the phenomenon and what to do will help maintain psychological health.
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