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Gaslighting As Psychological Abuse!

Gaslighting | Psychological Abuse | Human Beings | 06th December 2022 | Virtual Wire

 

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Gaslighting is a form of verbal assault, in which a person attempts to manipulate the listener, in order to make them question their thoughts and beliefs, their memory, or their perception of reality.

This way of manipulation has been subjected to references in several contexts throughout the decades, like political, cultural, philosophical, misogynistic gaslighting, etc. The person who is trying to influence the other person usually possesses more power. However, the term “Gaslighting,” and its impact has a relevant significance in clinical psychiatry and, psychology. A gaslighting person generally called, a “Gaslighter,” may attempt to manipulate someone due to various factors, like trying to be in control of something, or controlling, or even because of the gaslighter's own complex personality.


For instance, a person with a narcissistic personality may always feel that they are right in any given situation and thus they will be persistent in convincing someone that what they are saying is a fact, even if it may not be so. Other reasons why people gaslight, may encompass circumstantial issues where a gaslighter may just manipulate someone so as to be in charge of a situation, or to feel powerful in a relationship. The person who is manipulated is called “Gaslighted.” A gaslighter always has an edge over the gaslighted one in terms of power, for instance, someone being financially more secure than the other, etc. But when a gaslighter exploits this power and manipulates someone because the other person is weaker in a situation, it makes them an abuser. Usually, when someone is in a vulnerable position mentally, they are a victim, if they are being gaslighted. This vulnerable position involves someone being prone to depression, anxiety, or suffering from the same, or any kind of mental health issue.

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Gaslighting in psychology is believed to cause serious and long-lasting damage to a victim’s mind. A gaslighter might be persistent in making a victim believe that their version of the story is correct, even when it is not so. As a result, a victim, already in a vulnerable place mentally, may start to self-doubt, may question their self-worth, may affect their self-esteem, and the person may not find it easy to trust anyone again. Gaslighting is intentional mostly, but sometimes one may engage in it unintentionally. Such situations are likely to occur in romantic relationships, and parenting. Whether intentional or unintentional, one must consider the consequences of this form of abuse and the damage it causes to the victim.


Below are some of the common ways that people gaslight, and the effects it has on a victim:

  • “You are making stuff up.” – It makes a person doubt their own perception of reality and question their memory making things harder for them.

  • “I never said that.” Constantly facing denial from the gaslighter would result in someone not being able to trust themselves or their relations.

  • “You are overreacting again.” – A vulnerable person who is already struggling through their distress, trying hard to scale up their progression in terms of being mentally stable, might end up feeling more distressed than ever.

  • “You sound crazy.” “Maybe you need help.” – It may make a person lose confidence in themselves, and they may start questioning their self-identity, and self-worth.

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Gaslighting is not widely discussed, but in the present times, while mental health issues are on rise, awareness about something which may lead to severe health consequences, may help one to be wiser in relationships, help understand what is okay and what is not, for those who you care about.

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