Gaslighting Guide: What is it, What are its Signs, and How can you Fight Back?

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation that makes a person feels his or her behavior is irrational. The person who gaslights is using humiliation and abusiveness in order to get what he or she wants. The process of gaslighting occurs gradually, although steps might overlap. Being aware of the main elements is the key to identifying the situation and fighting the manipulation. An example for a severe case of gaslighting is a person who is beaten being convinced that the violence is their own fault.

stop-hitting-yourself

How Gaslighting Works:

As mentioned above, the Gaslighting happens gradually. During the process, the “gaslighter” weakens his/her victim in a constant and slow process. Eventually, the victim feels weaker and accepts his partner’s verbal violence. In this process, the victim’s ego is a target to constant attacks until his conception of reality changes.

The first act in the process is disbelief and denial: the victim considers the abuser’s behavior as a change of mood and not as a pattern.

The next stage is defense. In this stage, the victim is trying his best to fight back but usually unsuccessfully because the environment and the situation are against him. It’s easier to claim someone is crazy than proving the opposite.

The next stage is depression. In this stage, the victim stops fighting back and he/she accepts the situation and the abuse. He/she becomes indifferent to the pain and eventually develops a depression and deep sadness.

Gaslighting Signs

Depressed-man, possibly from gaslighting

  1. You’re asking yourself constantly if you’re just too sensitive
  2. You often feel confused and helpless when doing things
  3. You’re always apologizing and feel things are your fault
  4. You often find weird explanations for your partner’s behavior
  5. You’re hiding the situation from your friends and your family so you don’t have to explain
  6. You have a difficult time making even simple and small decisions
  7. You are certain you’ve changed for the worst; before you were a happier person
  8. You often feel hopeless and desperate
  9. You often wonder if you are a “good enough” for your partner

How to Fight Gaslighting

The answer is simple, stay away. The person that manipulates you will NEVER change his or her behavior. There is no way to fix the situation. When you understand you are being gaslighted you must STAY AWAY from your offender. Remember – you deserve better.