As we discussed in our first blog on gaslighting, the technique is more commonly used than we think. It has psychological repercussions that can manifest as mental health issues. Therefore, it is important to identify it at the earliest and take steps to shut it down.
Unlike the general assumption, gaslighting can affect anyone and the perpetrator can also be anyone, irrespective of their gender.
It came as a shock to me when I read that most of us have been gaslighted at some point in our lives, many times without the perpetrator’s knowledge. Gaslighting can happen in any situation where one of the two involved wants to gain power over the other (power dynamics). Well, what does it all means? How does one know that they are being gaslighted?
Let’s talk about some of the most common signs of gaslighting:
You second-guess yourself, a lot. In relation to this one person, you keep asking yourself if you’re being too weak or sensitive (ruminate over one characteristic of yours).
You are often confused and apologize more than the other person.
You are not sure if you’re happy in the relationship (could be partners/parent-child or even boss-employee).
You make excuses for the other person’s behavior.
You feel something is not right but cannot decide what it is.
You feel low on confidence and find it impossible to hold your ground in any argument with the person.
You wonder if you are good enough.
Let’s not forget that the above signs can also mean depression or anxiety if they are not related to just one person in your life.
Gaslighting, ironically, is sometimes a strategy and other times, an innocent characteristic that one can learn from the social structures around us. It’s important to understand it in the Indian context where it’s women who are usually the victims. Their historical representation as the “crazy” ones, along with deeply-rooted patriarchy makes them more vulnerable to gaslighting.
Do you think you’re being gaslighted or have experienced it? Share your story with us and get featured on the website. You can choose to remain anonymous.
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