Anjana is a final year medical student at KMC, Manipal. She strongly believes that words alone have an inexplicable power to bring about the change that we wish to see in our society. She owns a blog which she uses to bring a change in society and to give her readers a gentle soothe.
– Anjana J.R.
According to The Guardian, gaslighting is a technique of psychologically manipulating an individual to an extent where he/she would begin to doubt their own cognitive abilities including perception and sanity of the mind. It’s most commonly identified in abusive relationships and is usually done in order for the abuser to gain better control and power over his/her victim.
There’s a list of warning signs that will help identify gaslighting. The first and foremost sign to suspect gaslighting is when you begin to second guess or doubt yourself and start losing your sense of reality. Gaslighters may use various ways including telling an outward lie onto your face, denying that they ever committed a mistake along with trivializing your emotions and opinions regardless of any evidence you have to prove otherwise. For instance, they might say, “Oh, I never understand why you always have to make such a big issue out of this”. They might also continually deny or pretend to forget previous occurrences. Gaslighters will sometimes alternate questioning your decisions with praising you for your work or anything such as that, to make you think that they’re actually good people.
Similarly, this can also occur in professional relationships. The only way to identify that you’re a victim of gaslighting is you begin to doubt your own decisions, you’re always in a state of confusion, you begin to worry that you’re actually an oversensitive, vulnerable person and you will find yourself constantly apologizing even when you’re not at fault.
Gaslighting doesn’t necessarily have to be out of a malicious intent. Many times, a gaslightler might not even be aware that he/she is utilizing such methods of the same. Once you begin to suspect gaslighting, establish that there’s a problem and label it. It’s extremely important for you to let go of that relationship even if it’s extremely hard, especially when there’s a lot of beautiful memories associated with it, but one needs to let go for the sake of one’s own mental health. The third step is to begin taking small decisions and to be decisive about it and understand that you too have the right to feel about things without having to apologise. Once you’ve done these, you will eventually be able to accept yourself without feeling doubtful and uncertain about your state or mind or worth. After all, mental health is of the foremost importance and there nothing comes before that.
The views expressed are that of writer.