If someone tells you, you exaggerate, you don’t remember or they didn’t say something they very well did, or you might be a bit crazy or neurotic every time you are sure you said something or heard something, it’s very likely that you are a victim of gaslighting.
Forbes magazine defines gaslighting as another person’s attempt to make you question yourself, the validity of your experiences and even your own sanity. It uses manipulation which aims at making your question the validity of your thoughts, beliefs and memories. Victims of gaslighting often become confused and uncertain about their psychological stability.
Master coach, instructor and founder and CEO of Think Meta Mikhail Saidov says some of the signs include (extracted from Forbes thought leadership)
- Invalidating your feelings and experiences.
They just tell you don’t feel that way or that your are making a mountain out of a molehill
- Getting personal
Instead of listening to your side of the story and refute the argument the other person just discredits you as a person. In this case the invalidation points to your character not just what you are saying and can be based on age, race, gender or any such similar characteristic
- Attacking you when you are most vulnerable
For example if you are nervous or stuttering while putting across your thoughts they attack your communication method and your stuttering instead
- Using your past mistakes to discredit you
- Holding you responsible for everything.
This includes blame shifting and deflecting responsibility.
How do you handle such situations? It’s important to remember that the basic premise of gaslighting is actually manipulation. What you need to do is identify the manipulation and know that you are being gaslighted without any doubts or becoming uncertain of yourself.
After this clearly state your position so for example is someone is yelling at you and is accusing you of provoking their yelling. You can calmly state that they should stop (and if you can’t interact with that person) tell yourself that no one has the right to yell at you in such a manner and there are other ways to address the issue.
Depending on the situation you can then hold yourself steady mentally without being provoked or psychologically frightened for no reason as that is the intention of the gaslighter.
NOTE: The photo above is from YouTube screen grab