Unintentional gaslighting is not always what you think. Yes, it is indeed manipulation but unintentional at the same time. Unintentional gaslighting can be tackled if you follow certain steps.
But before that, you need to recognize whether you are actually being gaslit or not. How to do that? This is what we are going to talk about in this article.
See, I want to make this thing clear, gaslighting is not something that only happens in romantic relationships. It can be any kind of relationship, the relationship you share with your siblings, parents, friends, and so on.
Anyone who tries to make you doubt your reality is gaslighting you. When we say reality, it means thoughts, events, and memory.
To put it in simple terms, let’s imagine a scenario. Suppose you and your boyfriend are having an argument about how rudely he behaved last day.
But instead of asking for an apology, he goes on and says that he did it because you did the same one month ago. And you can’t do anything but think that maybe it’s your fault.
He actually manipulated you to believe what they were saying rather than what actually happened.
Moving forward, let us know more about it.
Table of Contents
What is Gaslighting, and How Does it Impact People?
Gaslight is actually the name of a movie. Yes, the story is about a couple where the husband kinds of creates a fake reality around her and makes her question her own sanity.
Since then, the term came into existence to describe a situation where a person manipulates the other one and makes them doubt whether they are thinking right or not.
It mostly happens to those who have low self-esteem and often believe people easily. Hence, being gaslit does not only reveal the truth about the person who is gaslighting but also about the victim.
It reveals the loopholes in your beliefs or personality that helps the gaslighters to manipulate you.
Here are the Signs that can tell you whether you are being gaslit or not –
Not Trusting Yourself
Not Trusting yourself is not something that you would only feel on your own. Yes, in this era, where people are more aware of mental health and the ways of keeping it good, it is natural to recognize that you do not trust yourself only.
Moreover, you might go to a psychologist and start undergoing therapy. But even though you feel that it is all your fault and the other person does not have anything to do with it, the scenario can actually be the opposite.
You never know; your low self-trust can be a result of gaslighting. So, how does it happen?
It’s pretty simple and complex at the same time.
Low self-esteem is one of the most prominent outcomes of gaslighting. Suppose your partner told you that the way you are thinking is wrong, and it was not actually what happened.
If you believe it even for one time. The cycle never stops. I’m not saying that you can never be wrong.
But it is also true that thinking that you are wrong right after discussing with that person who actually manipulated you to believe what they want you to believe is wrong.
You would never know when you started feeling that you know nothing. Moreover, you will always seek their validation to know what is right.
So, if this is what you are doing. I’m sorry to say, but someone has gaslighted you, and you are a victim, and you need to stop the cycle.
Unable to Understand Emotions
No, no, I’m not saying that you are not able to understand the other person’s emotions. I’m talking about recognizing your emotions and processing them in the right way.
Sounds confusing, right? Okay, think of it this way. You are noticing that nowadays you feel sad, and a numb feeling always stays in your mind.
You don’t find interest in doing anything. It is related to lower self-esteem. Our interest comes from the feeling of happiness or satisfaction that we get while doing something.
But if you don’t feel happy or satisfied about the thing because the other person has made you feel that you are not doing enough, you will feel frustrated.
The feeling that you are unable to process is nothing but sadness. Yes, I got you! You have been striving to get that person’s attention and appreciation, but all you get in return is insult and self-doubt.
Eventually, a sense of frustration grows in you, and you feel that nothing is in your control. Not even your emotions. So, how to get out of it?
You need to practice self-love and calmness. To be honest, in some way or another, you are being anxious, and this is the reason behind this tornado of emotions.
Therefore, it needs practice and patience. Only then will you be able to find the peace you were lacking.
Keeping Your Needs Aside
Keeping your needs aside is not always a positive thing. If you are doing so, my dear, something terrible is on your way. Being kind is good but not being kind to yourself is a toxic symbol.
To be specific, do you always think about the well-being and opinion of your boyfriend, and all they do is invalidate yours? It is not the love you were looking for.
Keeping your needs aside all the time will drain you emotionally, and one day you will feel nothing.
Moreover, if your relationship falls apart, rather than healing, you will be trapped in a loop and will always look for external validations.
It might also be the case that your parents are responsible for this. Yes, kids who were raised by parents who always made either kid feel wrong often develop a habit of seeking external validation and making others happy.
So, remember, your needs are as important as theirs. If they are not making equal efforts to take care of your needs, it’s time to take action.
Thinking Bad about Yourself
Thinking bad about yourself is a little bit different from what we call being insecure. Insecurity is a feeling of not feeling confident or good enough.
It is different from feeling bad about yourself. Feeling bad about yourself is the urge to think that everything that is going wrong around you is because of you.
It is the habit of seeing yourself as responsible for bad things. Suppose your partner and you had an argument. You were sure that this time the fault wasn’t yours.
But right after having the argument, you changed your mind and decided that you are the one at fault and this is you only every time.
Do you remember I talked about lower self-esteem? Yes, this is the ultimate stage when you don’t find anything to be happy or proud of yourself.
How to get over this? Again the same thing, you need to practice quite a lot of it. If it’s severe, you might need the help of a therapist. If you think so, go on.
Moreover, if you wanna do it on your own, start the process by reminding yourself what you are good at. You can go and ask your loved ones about that.
You Feel Guilty Even Though You are Not
Feeling guilty, when the fault is yours is fine. But what if you didn’t do anything wrong? It happens mostly in romantic relationships.
Suppose you were angry with your partner, and you confronted them about that, but they reacted in such a way that you started feeling guilty about hurting them. This is also a kind of gaslighting.
To get out of the situation, you need to remind the person that communicating your feelings is not something bad and you have the right to feel.
Who Can Be a Gaslighter?
Anyone. Yes, I know it sounds creepy, but we need to remind ourselves that gaslighting is not something that people always do to manipulate other people. Sometimes, it works as a defense mechanism.
Someone proving his point can also gaslight someone by invalidating the other person’s points.
Studies have shown that kids who were neglected in their childhood have this tendency to dominate their thoughts.
So, it is not necessary that the person is a toxic one. If they are not doing it unintentionally, you can still fix it.
How to Stop Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is something that you can also do. Yes! It does not mean that you are a bad person. It might be your childhood events or trauma response.
Sometimes people acquire this tendency to gaslight as a way of getting out of their trauma.
To stop the process, you need to recognize whether it is gaslighting or not. If the answer is yes, try to counter all the things that have happened to you.
As the next step, you need to go back to your self-love session and establish yourself as a good person in your eyes.
Unless and until you are losing grip on yourself, no one will be able to gaslight you.
I hope that you have understood that gaslighting is not something that you will always relate to a toxic person. The best way to deal with it is by seeking the help of a therapist and clear communication of your feelings.