The term that explains away a lot of nefarity within interpersonal relationships is: Gaslighting. To proffer a few definitions online, along with citing the source, I will illuminate how bad this is. It destroys relationships, it destroys individuals, and it can destroy a society, given the chance. This mannerism or delivery of raw sewage is especially dangerous if we allow it a foot wedged in our mental barrier doors.
Definitions | Site located at
- Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that’s seen in abusive relationships. It’s the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity. | Healthline.com
- Gaslighting, an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter,” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings. | Britannica.com
Now that the definitions are out of the way, we can focus on how this applies to self-aware people. Yes, this dynamic between people in relationships is egregious. However, more often the case is that our own minds turn into the malicious one. Turning against its own body and mind. This malevolence is fed by the string of self-doubt that has been amassed by external forces over the years one has been alive.
Sometimes we learn to essentially take the ‘wind out of someone else’s sails’ before they can insult us. I have used this tactic so much in my life. Sometimes it is disguised as self-deprecating humor. I have always felt it shows that I am humble, that I accept my insignificance in the world. However, this mode of mental operation is a serial murderer of our own psyches.
Recently, a friend, of which I have been sharing my angst with lately, shared some meme they found on Facebook. They tagged me, garnering my attention, as I would not have come across this of my own accord. It was an interesting read, which caused me to think. Compare and contrast external and internal gaslighting.
Credit obviously goes to @holisticallygrace – which has a coaching site and blog here.
This article is merely me processing the truth of validating my pain. It is not an expository on what this blogger was talking about, but how I read it, sentence for sentence. If you find their content useful, please do give them a worthwhile visit. To me they are sight unseen, so I am unable to vouch for them, but suspect they are legitimate.
Stop gaslighting yourself! Well, as with all sage simple syllabic wisdom, easier said than done, right? I worried that someone obscuring some information from me was gaslighting me. Which led to me asking some of my friends, did I just get gaslit? Most all agreed I had not. Most also informed that my mind was playing tricks on me. That dastardly nefarity rears its ugly head.
You’re not being too sensitive. I have worked so diligently to overcome the guidance of my feelings. My whole life I have been forced to accept shit outside of my control. I have had to absorb injustices. Raising my voice to admonish such behaviors have been met with resistance most of my life. Finding that your voice has no volume for your audience starts to desensitize you. Being so numb from life, and still hissing softly about abhorrent behaviors experienced may be cause to begin feeling sensitive yet again.
More than likely, you have needs that aren’t currently being met. I have experienced this, again, most of my life. I should be completely numb from the effects of the dismissiveness. The more I get to know who the hell I am, the more I realize, I have to be the voice of reason to protect myself from others. Perhaps my current toolset is still broken that I have an inability to get my needs met. Talk therapy helps, chatting with my friends helps, and yet feelings are still so foreign.
You’re not overreacting. Well, the world says otherwise. There is a very specific way to ‘react’ and if you do not fit the mold, it qualifies as overreacting. Evaluating the trauma I endured as a youngster seems to play heavily into this. Again, raising my voice of dissent has been met with the comments of overreacting. So, then I have to internalize, think more deeply about how to ‘respond’ to the fucking problem at hand. Which has led me to differentiate reacting and responding. Reacting is an evocation of emotions. Responding is an illustration of logic.
More than likely, this is a wound, a trigger, or something that is deeply hurtful. No shit, Sherlock. Animals yelp hysterically if you touch a wound on their body that they were unable to tell you about, due to language barriers. The same thing applies to us humans. We fucking yelp when our wound has been agitated by some unwelcome action. I know for myself, I feel weak by having to dredge up exactly what the wound is referencing in me. That kind of hurt is NOT supposed to be worn on our outside. May as well wear a sign telling where exactly all the painful pressure points on your body or psyche are for people’s amusement.
You’re not asking too much. Oh really? That sounds ominous. In our society, we all have our veritable ball of yarn and there is some curious kitten lurking to unravel it. We strive to prevent that goddamned cat to get anywhere near it. I ask, hey cat, do not unravel that aspect of my life, it’s a trigger. I have just given my mortal enemy the keys to the kingdom to torture me on a whim. Asking to be protected by others is seemingly implausible. We all have bidirectional bandwidth to deal with our lives as well as deal with others in our circles. We do not live in a utopian society of which people can just give of themselves whenever we need or want. Life is precarious like that. We need to be grateful for the time we do get.
More than likely, you are seeking love, consideration + respect; reasonable expectations in a relationship. This does make sense. Especially when we are taught as young children to work through difficult challenges. Equal footing is where all relationships should be – except those of diminished mental faculties or parents raising their children. Even a career relationship, there needs to be balance, respect, reasonable expectations to make it successful. Of late, romantic relationships and business relationships are on fickle footing. As the age of disposability continues, people come and go like it’s a revolving door.
Respect comes in the form of communicating. Consideration comes in the form of listening. Love comes in the form of acceptance of that which is wrong but knowing that it can be made right. Yes, there are many unsuitable people together in all types of relationships. Many people find it exciting to meet more new people to gather intel about how they are perceived by a new person. It fills a void. It is effervescent.
Those moments when the person loved you tried to change you, you reflect and think, had I have just bent my ideals, I could have staved off this unfortunate event. GASLIGHTING!. Questioning what you did wrong without giving credence to the other party. GASLIGHTING! Losing yourself in all of your alleged ineptitude for not seeing the signs. GASLIGHTING! How can I fix what is broken? GASLIGHTING!
Once the communications barriers are set in place, then it is a meager return to our own psyche. Let the gaslighting begin. Let the self-loathing ravenously devour any possible hope of the future. GASLIGHTING! Dredging up long forgotten memories of the people that planted the seeds of self-doubt echo their words to diminish your fate. GASLIGHTING! Let the irrational fear of your demise speed through your mental racetrack. GASLIGHTING!
I am wracked with guilt for that which I contributed to something that failed. Every time I deal with a failure in life, I inevitably incorporate this uncontrollable gaslighting. It is comfortable. It is terrain I know well. Just like my dark thoughts, when I deliberate excessively. Memes are great at outlining simple things you can incorporate into your life to prevent a tremendous mess Again, easier said than done.
For those of us with faulty histories, it is in our best interest to learn stronger coping mechanisms. This fucking gaslighting is complicating life for ourselves as well with others. The doubts we share with others starts feeding into their own gaslighting. Did I just make a huge mistake to be with this person who is as broken or possibly even moreso than me? GASLIGHTING! If something feels off, then try to figure it out, together. Trying to figure out whats wrong all alone when the fucking cat is destroying your ball of yarn will lead to some serious overreacting if you do not quell that monster inside.
Always try to understand yourself, first and foremost. Life is not fair, it is not just, it just is. We all struggle. If we can struggle together with stronger communication, we can overcome an awful lot of misunderstanding. We can employ empathy much easier. Even if you need someone to intermediate on your behalf, take advantage of it, for the benefit of yourself and others. Gaslighting is dangerous. Gaslighting feeds into dark thoughts. Gaslighting will doom you, if you do nothing to circumvent it. It will not be easy but be wary that it is there and what it is doing. Do not let it shape your beliefs about yourself. Stay out of the rabbit holes. Send a ferret instead.
As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the 90’s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or via email, like posts, or even comment on posts. The immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!