You work up that courage to speak your truth and to say how someone made you feel. At the end of the conversation you are confused and there you stand, feeling you are crazy or you are the one at fault.
“Am I crazy”?
“Am I making it all up in my head”?
What if I tell you that you are not the one who is crazy. We desperately want to believe in the good of others, but there a cold hard fact we forget. Hurt people hurt people. Hurt people struggle to look within. Hurt people cannot take responsibility or accountability and thus, deflect your words back at you, twisting them leaving your head a fucked-up mess.
In giving the benefit of the doubt to the individual, we doubt ourselves instead. We convince ourselves into passivity and blind acceptance. We actually think maybe they are right, and we must be missing something.
Let me introduce you to gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where the victim is manipulated causing them to doubt their own memories and perceptions.
You call them out on their shitty behavior and put a boundary in place. You get in response “Why do you always think the worst of me”?
You try to call someone out on what they did and they bring up everything they can think of that you ever did... to deflect personal responsibility and put that shit back on you. Now imagine living with this year after year, after year.
It destroys you from the inside out. Slowly.
You do not trust your feelings.
You no longer trust what you think you see, hear or perceive.
You lose trust in yourself.
You then blame yourself for everything that hurts you.
You blame yourself if someone is mad at you or is having a bad day.
Your self esteem ends up in the shitter.
Because they twisted what you said and made it your fault to deflect any responsibility they hold.
They denied they ever did anything wrong.
The intentionally bring into the conversation things to confuse you.
You end up not knowing what is real anymore and feel you are the reason everything is wrong.
Do you see the dangerous spiral here?
The biggest gaslight of all is when people say “I love you” while trying to change who you into someone they can continue to benefit from.
2) Unable to think clearly
3) Low self-esteem
4) Frequent apologizing
5) Difficulty making decisions due to self doubt
6) Protecting the Abuser
You end up questioning your feelings and thoughts time and again. You also might be in denial that there is nothing wrong with the treatment dealt out to you. For example – You might be convinced about things they have done to you, but when confronted they deny it.
Maybe you ask why someone wasn’t there for you when they knew you were hurting. They respond “Well you need to speak up, you should have said something to me”. Do you see how even a little conversation like this turned into deflecting any responsibility?
This denial makes you question your own reality, “Did he really say that, or did I make some mistake in hearing or my memory wrong?” The fact of the matter is that a gaslighter plays with your mind and convinces you that you are to blame, not them. They constantly repeat this all the time, and it plants a seed of uncertainty in you.
Unable to Think Clearly
Expressing your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic. But with a gaslighter, your mental state is in endless turmoil, and you can’t seem to get out of your head or off the fricking gerbil wheel.
With gaslighting you end up feeling confused, you don’t trust yourself or your thoughts. Sadly, most people end up turning to their abuser to help get a hold of what’s going on, giving more power to the abuser. Think about that for a moment.
Gaslighting makes you feel that you are wrong, incapable, and not ‘enough’, and the constant reminders of these words makes you doubt yourself and leads to low self-esteem and low self-worth. The damage is deep as the abused person ends up believing all this crap with the confused state they’re in.
Do you keep apologize all the time to others, because you feel others are disappointed in you and you might have hurt them? This is due to low self-esteem and self-doubt.
You always feel whatever you do is not enough because you have been made to feel incompetent. Since you carry the baggage of “your wrongdoings” you end up apologizing for every little thing and sometimes nothing. The abused feel to blame for everything.
Protecting the Abuser
Your feelings of inadequacy make you wonder if you have been unreasonable regarding your judgements and perceptions of the abuser. Often, you may also feel like you’re not giving enough love to your abuser. Even when you converse about the gaslighter, you tend to make up excuses for the abusers’ behavior. The gaslighter creates scenarios over and over where you end up not trusting other people. Because of this, you end up feeling isolated from your friends and family because you don’t trust them, and you fear being hurt.
Waking Up to What’s Going On-
Ending the Bullshit
Watch what happens when you call them out on their crap. How quickly they return to middle school. They will go to everyone they know who knows you and go crying and telling a story of how badly YOU hurt them. Conveniently, they forget all about what they did that caused you to stand up for yourself and say no more.
They are likely to label you as vindictive, mean, paranoid or even evil… simply because you won’t allow them to continue to hurt you. They pull out all the stops to turn people against you. But do not fret, please. Because it is in this place you can see who is really there, who really cares and who is able to critically think.
Perhaps you don’t want to be the bad guy, so you are keeping all of this to yourself.
Perhaps you don’t want to put others in the middle, yet your heart hurts desperately because you want to be heard and you want others to understand what you are going through.
Perhaps the damage has broke you down so much, you don’t even know who you can trust, fearing they will surely think you are crazy like you’ve been made to believe.
Trust me. I know where’re you are. I know how you feel.
Feels like you’re walking on eggshells, doesn’t it?
I have some advice for you.
Smash those eggshells to shit. Smash them, kick them. But no more tippytoe-ing around this.
Draw a hard line. If others leave you, then let them. But love yourself enough to put an end to this shit, no matter how painful.
I do have some helpful hint on how to pull yourself out of this quagmire.
Get a notebook and write down ALL of the signs of gaslighting on the very first page and leave it there.
On subsequent pages write down the text message you got, or the conversation you just had. The only way to ward off the doubt you feel is with fact. Do the comparison. What did you say? What did they respond to what you said? Does it fit any of the tell signs you are being gaslight? This is the act of fact checking, and this is likely to lead to a wake-up call.
I also want you to know to not expect the person doing it to ever take responsibility, because they won’t.
Maybe you are wondering why I am writing this.
Because I first-hand know the subtle but incredibly deep pain it creates.
How long the damage can go on before you stop to notice.
How you doubt yourself, what you think you saw, heard or perceived.
It causes you to feel like you cannot trust anyone.
It causes you to feel you are the one to blame if something bad happens to you, and that you maybe even deserve it.
You slowly begin to hate yourself, your body, your sensitivity.
The world seemingly grows more and more unsafe.
Depression settles in.
You question if your life is even worth living.
Would you like me to go on?
Draw A Line and Say No More
Gaslighters are broken and refuse to look at their own crap, and this then leads them to the need to have a sense of power and control over the situation. It’s how they cope with their own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. It’s important to understand this so that it helps you to see things from a bigger perspective and it makes it easier to not take things they say or do personally. This can allow you to slow the reaction and for you to be able to let it go.
Understanding this and when it’s happening to you will help you to heal and put an end to it.
Making Yourself Whole Again
Gaslighting kills your self-esteem, causes you confusion and leaves you unable to have a clear thought process. When negative thoughts enter your brain, practice the “Yeah, but” exercise. This is where you take note of the negative thought, but you debunk it by reciting a FACT, a cookie jar moment that the ego self cannot refute. The only way to shut the gnarly self-talk down is with irrefutable fact.
Sadly, the best way to heal is to distance yourself from the person or people doing this crap.
Gaslighting can occur in ANY relationship.
Once your recognize the signs these are the steps one can take to stop it.
Stick to YOUR truth.
DO NOT get swayed by the gaslighter’s remarks and accusations. The person who gaslights will never see your side of the story. Ever.
Understand you’ve been abused by someone adept at psychological warfare.
When negativity creeps in, look for the facts to debunk it.
Know you are loved.
Know you are valued.
Know you are worthy.
Please see the little chart below, courtesy of growthcounselingservices.com
Rebecca Costello, Psychic Medium
Dancing Elk Shamanic Healing