Gas lighting is a common tactic used by manipulators. Learning how to recognize gas-lighting will help you break free of the hold it has on you.
What is Gas-lighting?
Unfortunately gas-lighting is common. It is used to make the victim question their on sense of reality. Blame is deflected and placed on the victim, making them believe that they have caused the manipulator behave in a certain way.
They will also use triangulation in their gas-lighting.
They will make false statements to make you believe that others (your family & friends) agree with them, ultimately ostracizing you.
Statements like “even your mother agrees with me“, or “your friends think you’re acting like a crazy person“.
All of this is done with one goal in mind – make you question every thought you have. They want you to be emotionally dependent on them by forcing you to question your own ability to think or act logically.
The Damage caused by Gas-lighting
Gas-lighting slowly chips away at your sense of self, leaving you uncertain of who you are and what you want. It reduces your self-esteem little by little. It is so slow, that you are unable to see it. It may take months or even years to reduce you to a shell of your existence. It is also used in conjunction with charm, what seems like devotion and back-handed apologies.
Manipulators are so charming. They say all the right things. I was told “if my love for you was measured in money, I’d be the richest man in the world” and “you deserve to be with someone who wants to protect you“. On their own, both of these statements sound beautiful, caring and sincere. It was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. I was feeling lost, alone and rejected. I had finally found someone who wanted me, believed in me and appreciated me. I was home.
Take the good with the bad
In the beginning, the good times are incredible. Dream dates, attention, compliments and amazing sex. Everything you every wanted in a relationship. He wants to know about your past relationships, the people who have hurt you and each time he tells you that you deserve so much more. You have hit the jack-pot!! This is the relationship you were hoping for.
Then there is an argument. You gently pointed out his flirting with another woman or some other small indiscretion. He responds with, you’re imagining things, it was nothing, I just wanted to see if you cared about me enough to get jealous. Do you see what he did there? He minimized your feelings and he deflected it back to you, by questioning your devotion to him.
Eventually, these arguments increase in frequency. Any time you try to point out his inappropriate behaviours, he blames it on you, dismisses your feelings and leaves you questioning your own view.
The good times are still there, but slowly, the bad times are taking over. It’s subtle. The aggression and frequency of arguments increase and the good times aren’t nearly as good, but they are good enough to keep you wanting more.
This is the cycle of abuse.
Learning to Recover from Gas-lighting
- Trust your instincts
- Build a tribe of trusted family & friends
- Believe in your own strength, beliefs & core values
- Seek support to assist with reprogramming your brain to see the truth
- Women on a Mission will help you validate your thoughts
- Gas-lighting is not restricted to intimate relationships.
- Understand that your past is not your fault, but your future is your responsibility.
You can either get better, or you can get bitter. It’s that simple. You can either take what’s been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you can allow it to tear you down. The choice is yours, it does not belong to fate.
Andrea has survived narcissistic abuse in a variety of forms; mother, 2 long-term relationships and several employers. She has learn how to overcome the negative effects of abuse to live a full life surrounded with love & encouragement. As a Life/Empowerment Coach, she works with women who have a strong desire to heal the devastating wounds of abuse and learn to live Your Life on Your Terms. She currently shares her life with her husband and 2 daughters on a farm in Southwestern Ontario.