What is Gaslighting?
"You're blowing this out of proportion", "it's not a big deal, "don't overreact", these are the phrases people often believe. Sometimes, I believe them too. I think, "Is it just me? Am I being too sensitive? It's probably not a big deal".
But it is. Just because the other person leads you into believing you're incorrect, doesn't mean that you are. This is what gaslighting is in simple words, and it's becoming alarmingly common nowadays, especially when people hide behind their phones and have the benefit of anonymity.
Psychology Today defines Gaslighting as an "insidious form of manipulation and psychological control." Conclusively, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse which includes manipulation as its prime tactic.
Contrary to popular belief gaslighting is not limited to just personal relationships, it can make its way into family scenarios and even the workplace. For example, a person making their colleague believe that they are not qualified enough for the job, taking it to the point where the person also deems it's true.
Despite it all, how do you know someone is gaslighting you? What can you do? Gaslighters will discredit your entire perception of reality. You will feel like they are constantly twisting and reframing your words to their convenience.
You are told that you're being hypersensitive while making you unnecessarily apologize all the time. The abuser makes you doubt yourself at every point and makes you feel self-conscious.
You are not confident in your judgment and feel like everything you say or do is wrong. The victim almost always gives the abuser the benefit of doubt.
If it happens to you, talk to trusted friends and family to decide upon the plan of action in the situation. On the other hand, confronting someone who is gaslighting you is very tricky. They will dig their heels in deeper, claiming that's not what's happening, and try to turn it around on you. The best and only thing you can do here is to stand firm in your truth and trust your memories. You can't convince an emotional abuser that you are right and they are wrong. All the energy used to convince others should instead be channeled into compassion towards yourself, without the need for validation.
Remember, you are not an inconvenience, even if you gravitated towards someone who made you believe you were.
This article is written by Tasmiya Abrar. Tasmiya is a first year student in Delhi University. She wants to convey her thoughts to as many people as she can. She loves cats, reading books & listening to music among other things.