The older I get the more I realize how complicated and challenging human relationships can be. There’s such a dynamic here that it’s challenging to unravel the complexity of even two people and their history that led them to this point. Our thoughts, out feelings, our emotions, our beliefs and lastly our trauma all play a role in not only our relationship with ourselves but our relationship with our partner also.
The most googled search term of the entire year of 2022 as it comes to a close is a term most of us have heard but most don’t fully understand yet. That search term is, drumroll please, gaslighting.
The reason I believe gaslighting was the most searched and sought out search term in 2022 is because we’re living through an epidemic in the rise of narcissists in society. In a time where self-importance is at an all time high and the collective good of the family, your neighbors, your community and humanity as a whole has taken a backseat it is very important to recognize what gaslighting is as it is the #1 trait that narcissists use to dominate their subjects into submission.
In life there are three major areas that can be measured for quality and experience. Those three key areas are your health, your finances and your relationships. The difference between health, finances and relationships is that within health and finances you have more control and direct feedback.
Let’s take your health for example. If you eat better, go to the gym more often, sleep better and prioritize hydration what do you think will happen? Your body will become leaner, fitter and your energy levels will soar. Good things will occur.
Let’s take your finances as another example. If you work harder, learn new skills, apply those new skills and stand out at your job or in your business, what do you think will happen? You will get promoted, you’ll get a raise. Your business will grow. You can also control how much money you spend and how much money you invest.
You Have More Control Over Finances & Health Than Relationships
The lesson here is very simple. You have more control over your health and finances than you do in your relationships with other people. Why? Relationships with other people involve their mindset, their dynamic. If you’re dealing with a narcissist it complicates things much further. Your relationship dynamic is 50% your responsibility and 50% their responsibility. This is the dynamic of a harmonious relationship. If you’re dealing with a narcissist who uses manipulative gaslighting tactics however you’ll find that you’re investing 80% of yourself into the relationship compared to their 20% and your 80% is giving you 20% back. The more energy you invest into this unhealthy and imbalanced relationship the faster you are drained and depleted.
But how is gaslighting actually defined, and why was it the most dictionary searched term in 2022?
The Definition Of Gaslighting
Gaslighting has a simple definition:
manipulate (someone) using psychological methods into questioning their own sanity or powers of reasoning.“in the first episode, Karen Valentine is being gaslighted by her husband”
Essentially, gaslighting is the ability to manipulate using psychological tactics. This could be questioning your sanity, questioning your reasoning and just generally the attempt to invalidate or remove credibility of your thoughts or ideas.
A visual representation of gaslighting that is a bit graphic but illustrates the point is simply this.. Imagine someone who is gaslighting you is constantly ‘setting your brain’ afire by pouring gasoline (doubt) on your mind then lighting the spark that ignites the flame. The energy behind gaslighting is to discredit your thoughts, ideas and brain as a whole. It’s quite literally an attack on your thinking in any way or form.
The individual on the gaslighting attack is doing this to prove their point and be right AT ALL COSTS. This is their end goal, their end desire. They need to be right at all costs because narcissists main goal is to be right and be in control. They do this out of a strong fear that if they are not in control they will be hurt, traumatized or taken advantage of like they were in the past.
Narcissistic people who gaslight do so from a place of strong insecurity of knowing their own being, and resonating in the truth that there are different perspectives and ideas about anything in the world. The flexibility of their mind is closed to this possibility. Being on the receiving end of this is dangerous because of the effects it has on your mind, your health and your overall self worth.
How Gaslighting Affects You
Gaslighting is a constant attack on your mental health. Your mind is being fed doubt or it is being fed confidence. Being gaslit feeds you doubt, whether you realize it or not. Doubt plants itself like a seed and grows into doubtful thoughts, actions and behavior in other areas of your life. Inner self talk around doubt leads to a lack of growth in your health, work and others areas of life. Once again, the doubtful energy being sown into your life each day doesn’t grow palm trees with coconuts. It stunts your growth and development as a whole.
Gaslighting is an all out assault on your confidence and ability to think for yourself, act for yourself, solve problems and bring value to the table as a whole. The more doubt sets in the further self-worth declines, and it’s a slippery slope. A slope you’d probably rather not be on, if you’ve been in a narcissistic relationship where gaslighting is a day to day thing. It’s mentally, emotionally and even physically exhausting.
Gaslighting takes it’s toll. Beyond the self-doubt that is often absorbed through gaslighting, which you need to be very mindful of other effects can include but are not limited to:
- Lone Wolf (choosing to be lonely through self-isolation, not alone – there’s a difference)
- Physical health effects such as elevated stress hormones, higher blood pressure, difficulty sleeping etc.
- Difficulty trusting others in relationships as your example is on the low end of the spectrum.
Gaslighting creates a reality where you are less valuable with your partner than you are ON YOUR OWN. Why? It’s a part of the narcissistic control patterns used to keep you hooked on them. This is because gaslighting and narcissism often go hand in hand as gaslighting is a tool that a narcissist uses.
What Does Gaslighting Look Like?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that turns the cards back on you every single time. It questions your sanity, your perspective, your brain health and more. Here are a few examples of what gaslighting looks like in action:
- Countering Approach: This is a gaslighting tactic that involves an abusive person questioning someone’s memory of events, even though they may have a perfect memory of the entire event. This approach is to keep the subject on their heels and always in defense mode.
- Withholding Approach: This approach is rooted in acting. They simply pretend that they do not to understand something being described, or they will withhold my simply refusing to listen at all. They are withholding their time and energy. This once again shows that 20% of their heart is in the relationship while 80% of yours is in the relationship. This imbalance only becomes more taxing for the healthy rational individual over time.
- Forgetting Approach: This approach involves an abusive person utilizing gaslighting to pretend that they have forgotten something all together, or completely denying that something happened at all. This approach is rooted in denial where they believe they can deny, deny and deny some more until it goes away. The problem here is that denial is rooted in lies and the more we deny the more those lies come back to haunt US, or them, in this case. They’re denying the truth that will come back to haunt them later on.
- Trivializing Approach: This is when an abusive person will use gaslighting will make your concerns or feelings seem unimportant or irrational. They do this by trying to invalidate how you think or feel by creating a trivia around your thoughts and emotions. They try to triangulate your thoughts and emotions into questioning the sanity of them. Like you shouldn’t be thinking rationally or feeling the way you feel. The way you think and feel is a response from your heart, your gut, your instincts, your spirit. You don’t want to ignore these or throw them to the side like waste. This is what a narcissist using gaslighting will try ot corner you to do. Do not let their confusion confuse the clarity of your own personal thoughts and emotions.
- Diverting Approach: This is a technique that occurs when an individual who is gaslighting will simply change the subject off the cuff. Completely diverting the conversation at hand. They may also focus on the credibility of what you are saying rather than the content of what you’re saying. Once again turning it into a personal attack. Some people also call this the “blocking” approach. This shows once again that their 20% invested into the relationship is not your 80%. It reveals that they’d rather talk about what they want to eat, or watch on Netflix than getting down to the important factors that are hurting your relationship day to day.
Here Are Some Of The Most Common Gaslighting Phrases:
It’s important to recognize specific key phrases that are often used by people who use these various gaslighting tactics. This can look like this:
Any of these approaches can be used at any given time and multiple approaches above can be used in conjunction with each other as well. Keep in mind that the more gaslighting approaches you recognize above in your partner the more likely they are gaslighting and this could also mean that they are more likely to be a narcissist also. There are two types of narcissists, covert and overt narcissists. This is worth covering in another story on GreenLivingTribe.com, which we will. So bookmark our site and stay tuned for more relationship, health and wellness stories and insight.
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