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Gaslighting: How To Demystify And Protect Yourself From The Narcissist’s Smoke-Screen

Gaslighting: How To Demystify And Protect Yourself From The Narcissist’s Smoke-Screen

 

Gaslighting is a term that most abuse communities are very familiar with.

But what does it mean?

How does it affect people?

Why is gaslighting so hard to identify, and so mentally and emotionally damaging?

How can you get clear that you are being gaslit, remove and protect yourself and recover from its insidious effects?

The answers to these questions are very important because if you are being abused, there is every chance that you are being gaslit.

 

The Origins of the Word Gaslighting

If you are not sure what the expression ‘gaslighting’ means, Wikipedia describes it like this – a  form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

The term owes its origin to a 1938 play called Gas Light and its 1944 film adaptation.

Gaslighting is commonly used by toxic and abusive individuals to diminish others, which often means close intimates or other people who they wish to gain control over, as well as punish.

Let’s examine how this gaslighting plays out.

 

The Main Tactic of Gaslighting – Confusion

If you are feeling confusion regarding what is real and what isn’t real, there is a good chance that you are being gaslit.

An example of this would be that you have a conversation with someone and you know what was actually said. Then this person, as narcissists often do when confronted, flatly denies ever saying it at all, and will tell you that you completely misheard what was said.

You know you didn’t, yet, you start to doubt yourself. You believe there is a possibility you misheard things. Worse still, you might begin to think that you are losing your mind. After all, this person is apparently so convinced that you are wrong.

Confusions of this type are an incredibly common occurrence with an abuser, and this is only the beginning of how far it can go and how devastating gaslighting can be.

The following is a classic example of how gaslighting can take place. Tracy, one of my clients, experienced a situation of confusion and horrific punishment through the use of gaslighting.

This lady’s mother had very recently died, and friends and family gathered at her home in deep commiseration together. Her narcissistic husband was incensed because the attention wasn’t on him.

Tracy had too much to drink in her state of deep grief, and when she woke up the next morning her husband was gone. He went missing for three days with his phone turned off.

When he returned, he told Tracy that she was seen in the kitchen kissing her own male cousin. He said that he wasn’t the only one who caught her out, and there were other family members who were also disgusted by her actions.

Tracy was mortified. She was drunk that night, she couldn’t remember. She was horrified thinking she may have done it, even though she had never felt any attraction or romantic inclination towards her cousin.

In our Quanta Freedom Healing session together, we shifted out not only the grief of losing Tracy’s mother but also the terrible trauma of her husband’s accusation.

Because the terrible feelings had shifted out of her Inner Being, Tracy got very clear about showing up in integrity and confronting these allegations. She contacted people who were present at the house that evening. When Tracy told people what her husband had said, they were shocked. They told her that she had done nothing of the kind, and that her husband’s mood and behaviour towards her that night had been totally unsupportive and horrible.

This is the thing when we’re not in our power, we recoil in shame and don’t check out the facts. Tracy’s husband had not expected her to do that. When she confronted him about his abusive behaviour he quickly changed to the next gaslighting tactic, ‘Of course people aren’t going to admit what they saw, it’s too disgusting’, and ‘Not only should I leave you for what you did but why would I stay with a wife who believes other people’s lies instead of her own husband?’

Of course, this threw Tracy into an even worse spin. That’s exactly what gaslighting is all about.

Gaslighting truly is an incredibly malicious tactic. It’s used to punish people by stripping their power and getting them to distrust themselves. It’s also about destroying a person’s own character to themselves and anyone else who will listen.

And sadly, many outside people do listen. Most decent people have been conditioned to believe that when another adult looks them in the eyes and says something horrible about another person, that it must be true.

In this case, Tracy’s narcissistic husband told joint friends and work colleagues his twisted version of what she did that night. Most of these people believed him, including him purporting she had cheated on him numerous times previously.

So, what was his motivation for doing this?

Hurting Tracy – pure and simple. Taking out his rage on her because that evening he couldn’t regulate narcissistic supply and be the centre of attention.

It is important to understand that narcissists will use the tactic of gaslighting to fulfil any agenda necessary for him or her to feed the False Self, or punish someone who hasn’t adequately done so.

 

When to Suspect You Are Being Gaslit

Being gaslit is probable if you are facing mind-bending confusion with one specific person in your life.

In other words, if you don’t suffer confusing accusations, information and conversations with other people, this is generally a very strong indication that you are being abused by the person that it is happening with.

If there is no real evidence regarding the information you are being told and if you believe that it was a different version of the events being presented, and especially if the confusing times happen on a regular basis, there is a good possibility that you are being gaslit.

If this person is often unkind, unsupportive, envious, pathologically jealous or prone to try to sabotage your interests and happiness, and takes umbrage when life is not all about him or her, make no mistake – the confusing times are gaslighting episodes.

Gaslighting is cruel – it’s conscienceless – it’s malicious. And it defies what we would like to believe humans are capable of doing.  Truly, only a pathologically disordered person is capable of doing it.

 

The Parts of You Susceptible to Being Gaslit

Your emancipation from being gaslit is to realise first of all that anybody who is hurting you is not healthy for you – regardless of what they are saying or doing.

When situations are confusing, you may not be able to make logical sense of what is going on. This is normal. However, when you go inside and start addressing what is being triggered within your Inner Identity with my Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP), you will get to the core of the problem.

These are the unhealed parts of yourself which are susceptible to being lied to, manipulated, twisted and confused.

If you have been susceptible to being scapegoated and blamed when you were little or told that whatever you did was never good enough, or parented with guilt tactics, or told how bad and worthless you were, then all of these original traumas can make you highly susceptible to being gaslit.

If you have struggled to trust yourself and believed that other people have more power, jurisdiction or better skills at organising your life than you do, then you are also highly susceptible to being lied to and manipulated through gaslighting.

Gaslighting is one of the narcissistic tactics that prey on our already existing gaps – the parts of ourselves that haven’t been healed and shored up yet – meaning we hand over our rights and value to another person’s opinion of us.

We can easily fall for this, especially if we have a terror of persecution and being criticised rejected, abandoned or punished by those who don’t believe we are a good person.

If you believe that your love, approval, security and survival depends on a key person’s thoughts and feelings about you, then the more they maliciously gaslight you, the more you will cling to them trying to fix their version of you, and to get safety and clarity from them.

Yet, you can’t create sanity out of insanity. Trying to is a dangerous recipe to potentially go fully insane.

You may even capitulate, apologise and hand your values, rights and boundaries away to retain this person in your life, trying to make them love you. Not only does this not work, it will leave you drastically devastated and diminished, and you will become more and more unwell.

 

How Do You Heal and Become Impervious to Being Gaslit?

I promise you that when you heal your susceptibilities to abuse, you will never be gaslit again.

In the case of Tracy, when her husband started smashing her with continued gaslighting tactics – threatening to abandon her due to her purported adulterous behaviour and betrayal of him – understandably she was hit with further doubt and panic.

Yet, rather than caving in to him, and handing her power over even further, Tracy went inside herself with Quanta Freedom Healing (NARP) and targeted these intense traumas that were activated within her Inner Being.

The belief systems and original traumas that were at the core of Tracy’s susceptibility to believing him, were how she was scapegoated as a child. These were the unhealed traumas of how she was blamed for her father’s dysfunctional and abusive behaviour. As a child she had taken the blame and the shame on for her father.

Thank goodness that with NARP processes, Tracy was able to load up her original childhood traumas, and release and replace them.

It was then that she anchored into her power and truth.

No more was she a broken little scapegoated girl in an adult woman’s body. Rather, Tracy had clarity and knew that her narcissistic husband was abusing her, was unsupportive and pathological, and that this behaviour was no longer a match for what she wanted or deserved in her life.

This was the beginning of the end of the relationship.

She took action to get a solicitor, moved out and her husband was blindsided regarding her newfound power. She was no longer scared of him, tiptoeing around him or handing him her power.

He then switched to love bombing, apologising and trying to win her back. This predictably triggered her feelings of guilt and obligation and wanting to try to fix things. (Which were other unhealed traumas that had taken place between Tracy and her father during her childhood).

The triggered painful feelings meant that there was just more stuff to heal!

Fortunately, when Tracy was close to capitulating, rather than reconnecting with him, she went inside again with the NARP healings and shifted out the parts of her that were triggered. These were the parts of her that had previously given abusive people repeat chances, time and time again. But finally, Tracy felt impervious and unmoved by her husband’s crocodile tears and false promises.

Now, who he was and what he stood for no longer appealed to her in any shape or form.

Because of being unmoved by him, within six months she received her settlement and he was fully out of her life.

The truth was that Tracy’s emotional attachment and trauma symptoms were healed and finished many months before this.

Such is the case for all of us, when we finally heal the original traumas that the narcissist is presenting as the current evidence in our life. This is because we have awakened, healed and reset our Inner Identity and relationship code to one that no longer matches the abuse that the narcissist in our life delivers.

I promise you the same will be true for you.

Tracy, just like so many of us (myself included) who were gaslit, became a confident, solid human, anchored into her own Inner Being with self-value.

When you have released the trauma that has made you susceptible to being gaslit and shift into your True Self on this topic, you will finally be free of this hideous and malicious form of manipulation.

Okay, so … I dearly hope that this article has helped grant you clarity and power. I also hope that it has given you a roadmap to get up and out of the pain and susceptibility to being abused by someone else’s malicious tactics – otherwise known as gaslighting.

If you know it’s time for you to get serious about healing your original traumas so that you can escape abuse and enter a true, healthy life where you are treated with respect, then it may be time for you to take the next step and start my NARP program.

This holiday time could be the perfect opportunity for you to get serious about healing your Inner Identity and getting relief, clarity and your power back very quickly.

You can get this process started today right here.

And as always, I am so looking forward to our discussion on this topic below.

 

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gaslighting

Gaslighting: How To Recognize It And Protect Yourself

gaslighting

 

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. It is defined as a way to manipulate someone to make them question their own sanity.  As you can imagine it is a particularly dangerous form of domestic abuse. This article explains a little about its history and what it can look like in relationships. It also gives some ways to stand up it.

Still, from the beginning, I want to stress that If you are being psychologically abused with gaslighting I believe ultimately you will need to leave. If you are in a situation where you can’t leave yet or there are children involved and you must have some interaction, these tips might help you keep your sanity when he is trying to distort is.

Where the word gaslighting comes from

Gaslight is the name of a play that was made into a movie in the 1940s. In its most famous version, Ingrid Bergman played the heroine. I will try not to give the whole story away because I think everyone should see the movie, but I will touch on parts of it to illustrate how gaslighting works.

The basic plot of the story is that a young woman’s husband is systematically making her feel like she is going insane as part of a plot to steal her gems. The title comes from how the gas lamps would dim when he is pretending to be out of the house but secretly in the attic.

When she tells him about the lights, he says she is seeing things and tries to get others to believe she is mentally ill. Other times he takes things from her and then tells her she loses things. Over time, she begins to think she is going crazy. He tells others around her that she is sick, ensuring that she has no outside reality check.

During the course of the movie, we watch her deteriorate, starting to be easily frightened, avoiding going out, and eventually becoming what he tells her she is. The woman doesn’t recognize what is happening until a detective from the Scotland Yard, who had been following the husband, tells her what he was doing.

Most of us will not be helped by Scotland Yard so we will have to learn to be our own detectives. The first step in protecting yourself from gaslighting is to recognize what it can look like.

How do you know if you are being gaslighted?

It is not easy. It is designed to be unnoticed. Fortunately, we all have an inner voice that tells us when something is not right. In the movie, she hears the inner voice the first time he tells her she loses things, but she quickly overrides this voice. She trusts him. She thinks he loves her and she is willing to believe she makes mistakes. So, she accepts the lie.  That is the key to gaslighting.

Here are some examples of what gaslighting might look like off screen.

Covert gaslighting

You get stuck in traffic and are late to meet him.

“Sorry I am late.”

“Oh, don’t worry.  You are always a little late. I have learned to expect your magical sense of time.”

You are confused. You aren’t always late. You make it a point to be on time. But you start to wonder if you are late more often than you realized and maybe you do have no sense of time.

Aggressive gaslighting

He invites you to go to an event with his friends and you greet them happily. Later he says, “I was surprised when you flirted with my friends.”

You weren’t flirting with his friends but now you wonder. ‘Was I wrong to say hello with a hug?’ Maybe I do touch people too much. Again, you question yourself.

Supportive gaslighting

You excitedly tell him about your new job.

He says, “I am so happy for you. I know how much you disliked giving presentations at your last job.”

Again, you are confused. You like public speaking and actually will miss it.  Now you wonder why he said that. Are you more nervous about the presentations than you realized?

As you can see gaslighting can look very benign, even kind and supportive. This is part of how you can be tricked into believing it. Bit by bit, you start to question who you are. If it goes on long enough you can begin, like the woman in Gaslight, to believe his version of who you are.

This is the essence of crazy making. Being conditioned to believe something that isn’t true. It is important to note he doesn’t believe this picture of you either. One of the most disturbing realizations about gaslighting is that his lies about you are made on purpose.

Protecting yourself from gaslighting

Ultimately, I think this is a situation where you have to leave but until that is possible, you can take some steps to protect your sanity.

Get an outside perspective. In the movie, he isolated her from people to prevent others from dispelling his illusion about her. The lie loses its power when you no longer believe it.  This is why if you suspect this is happening to you, it is imperative to get outside help- a counselor, a friend, a family member who can remind you of who you are. If you are self-employed or work at home, consider getting a job with coworkers. This can be a valuable reality check.

Speak your truth. Every time he tells you what you are doing, being, thinking, ask yourself if you agree. If your first thought is no then say ‘No, that is not true, I usually am on time, I was not flirting, I like public speaking’ etc.  There is no need to argue. You are not trying to convince him. Remember, he knows that what he is saying about you is not true. You are reminding yourself of who you are and at the same time drawing a very important boundary. I am the one who defines who I am.

Listen to your inner voice. When I first suspected I was being abused I called a hotline and immediately apologized about calling them because my husband was not hitting me. I said I just feel like I am being abused. She said, “If you feel like you are being abused you are being abused.” From these words, I began my journey to recovery. There was nothing I could see or prove to myself or others. I only knew that it felt wrong. And that is all I needed to know.

In the movie, the woman finally does stand up to him when she realizes what he was doing and still he tries to manipulate her to the end.  Abusers are getting something out of the abuse so they rarely just stop it. Standing up for yourself and your reality is something you do to maintain your sanity as you begin the processes of leaving.

You might spin your wheels as you try to figure out why he does this. In the movie, he was after jewels, but for most of us, there is no logical reason. To control us? To have power? To protect his own reality? I am not sure we will ever know but it doesn’t matter. The goal here is not to change him. It is to protect yourself. And the stakes are high. He might not be stealing jewels but gaslighting can steal your very sense of who you are.

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