Can Gaslighting cause trauma?
You are over-reacting!
Can’t you take a joke!
Can you calm down?
You’re so sensitive.
Have you ever come across any of these phrases before?
If Yes? Welcome to the world of gaslighting!! Over the years, we have heard and came across this term a lot of times. Let us understand how gaslighting can impact your emotional health. Can gaslighting cause trauma?
What is gaslighting?
Theoretically, gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that causes the victim to question their reality. It is practised by dictators, rulers, narcissists, bullies, abusers’ cults, and leaders. These abusers repeatedly tell outrageous lies, deny past actions, provable facts, undermine the victim and those victims tend to trust these myths. Most of the time victims doubt their perception and capabilities and accept the abusers.
As one begins to lack confidence in their thoughts, gaslighting becomes an effective tool to prevent people from questioning.
Different Types of Gaslighting
Tone policing occurs when a conversation initiated by a particular person is immediately dismissed or ignored if it is charged with emotion. Tone policing makes us forget that it is very natural to get overwhelmed with emotions while expressing an issue we are dealing with every day.
The Devil’s advocate
Irrespective of whether they nod with your ideas and beliefs or not, they love to debate. They will pick an unpopular opinion for the sake of arguments unless and until it gets into nerves. The argument will be stretched to the extent of exhaustion where a person will lose the capacity to explain the problem. Eventually, it will deplete your emotional resources.
This is a popular one. You have often seen a highlighted issue suddenly disappear. This is media gaslighting that wants us to forget what had happened. Sometimes they try to manipulate or reframe our opinions and experiences about a particular event.
You may not agree with the point, because parental gaslighting is usually considered good parenting. Excessive control of a child’s emotions and basic nature results in gaslighting. Poking children again and again for being too sensitive develops insecurities in them. The life experience of a child is limited, compared to any adult. They may react loudly in situations that may not be worth enough to us.
Signs of gaslighting
- Alienated feeling :- There must be several situations where you feel a total outcast or different from others. This feeling is artificially encouraged by an abuser. They can influence your opinions about yourself.
- Self-doubt:- No matter how you feel or define yourself, your definition of self-image is fundamental. It helps us to form a unique definition. Unfortunately, the gas lighter’s goal is to shed this image with persistent lies. This persistent contradiction is so intense that a person starts submerging into the ocean of self-doubt.
- Lower self-esteem around them:- Have you ever heard anyone saying- You used to be so outgoing, what happened to you now? As soon as you listen to these words about yourself, you start noticing a big change in yourself. Self-esteem is linked to mental health. Having low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression, and even addiction.
- Feeling depressed:- Feeling unstable with your brain makes you sceptical and develop a feeling of sadness. Gaslighters trivialized hopelessness in such a situation.
- Guilt trip:- The abuser will blame you for several things, twisting the truth and turning the arguments in which are cornered with faults. You may have nothing to do with those accusations but still, the accuser will insist you board this guilt train.
Experiences of Victims ( Keeping their identity anonymous)
“Soon after I got married. I was told that I am very sensitive and overthink too much. I thought maybe my partner is right and I shouldn’t be overthinking all the time. Slowly, I began noticing the pattern as I was called out for every small thing. I was called crazy and it took a toll on my mental health as well as on my confidence. I isolated myself from others. Once we visited my parents’ house and discussed this with them. We decided to take professional help and then gaslighting was introduced to me. It was just another way to control me.”
Do any of these sounds, situations, or phrases sound familiar to you? These are only a few tactics a gaslighter uses against you. Sometimes knowingly or unknowingly you have also gaslighted someone.
Tell us in the comments your experience related to this issue.