The Truth About Mental Illness and Gaslighting

Man sitting opposite a woman depicting gaslighting

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Introduction

Mental illness and Gaslighting are closely related entities. If you continuously feel bewildered or doubt your sanity as a result of someone else’s words, it’s probably time to seek help. These feelings could be signs of psychological abuse as a result of Gaslighting.

In abusive relationships, Gaslighting is a type of deception. It is a form of emotional abuse in which the abuser causes the victim to doubt their own judgments and reality. The victim is left disoriented and restless because they don’t understand what’s going on. Gaslighting does not happen once in a while or infrequently. It’s a persistent pattern of conduct. It makes the victim progressively destroy their self-esteem and identity.

Informally, the word Gaslighter refers to someone who constantly presents a false narrative that causes another person to doubt their own perceptions to the point of becoming disoriented and distressed. This dynamic is most common when the victim is susceptible, such as in uneven power relationships, or is afraid of the consequences of exposing the false narrative. Gaslighting isn’t always malicious or purposeful, though it can be in some instances.

Constantly criticizing, blaming, making verbally abusive statements, intimidating, denial of responsibility, and proclaiming dissatisfaction with a relationship are all methods used by Gaslighters. These methods may be subtle at first, but they eventually take precedence. You might not realize that something is seriously wrong until you find yourself in a never-ending condition of uncertainty and self-doubt.

People Gaslight for a variety of purposes, one of which is to acquire dominance over another. This need for dominance could be a result of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, or other factors. Gaslighting, like other forms of abuse, is all about power. This is why it’s critical to spot gaslighting.

Some signs you are being Gaslighted

  1. Putting your own judgment and views into question: You start to worry if events happened exactly as you remember them or if you’re losing your memory. You often doubt your ability to recall specific things from the past. For fear of being incorrect, you may give up trying to explain what you remember.
  2. A sense of being exposed and uneasy: You’re terrified of expressing yourself or speaking up. You’ve discovered that expressing your viewpoint typically makes you feel worse in the end, so you choose to remain silent. When you’re around your spouse, friend, or family member, you often feel like you’re walking on eggshells and low in confidence.
  3. A sense of being alone and powerless: You believe that everyone around you thinks you’re bizarre, irrational, or unbalanced, just as the Gaslighter claims. You’ll feel alone as a result of this. The Gaslighter’s remarks make you feel stupid, inadequate, or mad. You may even find yourself repeating these statements to yourself.
  4. Bewilderment and dissatisfaction: You’re at a loss for what to do to make the Gaslighter pleased or satisfied. They might shower you with praise one minute and then shovel mouthfuls of derision the next, all because of their manipulative conduct. This makes you feel inept, so you try to live up to their unrealistic and absurd expectations.
  5. Being concerned that you are overly sensitive: “I was simply joking,” or “You need stronger skin,” the bully says, minimizing damaging behaviors or remarks. You begin to question if there is anything fundamentally wrong with you since they make you feel like you are constantly reacting inappropriately to circumstances. You begin to feel unworthy, and doubt if you are mentally stable.

Increased anxiety and despair can result from Gaslighting. However, Gaslighting may not be the main cause of your mental illness, but the same factors that make someone sensitive to it can lead to low self-esteem, ambiguity about their own reality, anxiety, and, eventually, despair. As it affects your ability to function at your job, school, and socialize, Gaslighting can escalate and become a chronic mental illness.

What should you do if you're being Gaslighted?

Confirm that it's a case of Gaslighting

True, Gaslighting becomes a pattern of manipulation that is performed over and over again. Generally speaking, the Gaslighter wants you to doubt yourself and rely on their version of reality. So, someone who expresses an opposing viewpoint, even angrily, isn’t always Gaslighting you.

Many times, people are convinced of their own understanding and insist that they are correct, despite evidence to the contrary. “That is false!” he insists. It’s not always courteous to exclaim, “I’m sure about what I’m saying!” but it’s usually not Gaslighting if they’re not trying to influence you. Speak up about the behavior and remain confident in your version of events. This may be a sure way of putting a stop to your mental illness and Gaslighting.

Speak up about the inappropriate behavior

Gaslighters take satisfaction in the fact that their actions and tactics confuse and alienate you. You must express your dissatisfaction and discomfort.

When you scold them, they know you’re emotionally aware and their techniques are running out of time. Gaslighting occurs when you have a strong memory of an event and they flatly reject it. You know what happened, so rest assured and retell it quietly.

Showing them any evidence you have could persuade them to change their minds. However, it is possible that it will be ineffective. Disengage from the conversation if they persist in confronting you. Arguing can increase tension and expose you to manipulation. Refusing to get into a fight protects you and keeps you in command of the situation.

 

Use friends and family members in the process

When dealing with Gaslighting, it’s critical to seek answers and closure from individuals you can trust. It’s a delicate subject, and you could easily be misunderstood if you share it with somebody you don’t know well. Getting feedback from a variety of people in your life might help you confirm that you are a clear-headed thinker with solid judgment.

Your support network may be upset on your behalf, but because they are not personally involved, they maintain some emotional distance from the event. This makes it easy for them to provide a neutral viewpoint as well as calm direction and assistance.

If feasible, avoid meeting with the person alone when Gaslighting occurs at work or in other social contexts. Limit your contact with them, but if you must meet with them, bring someone objective and trustworthy with you or ask them to listen in on the meeting. They aren’t taking sides, so keep that in mind. They’re only a bystander in the situation. A Gaslighter will find it more difficult to manipulate more than one person.

Place an emphasis on self-care

While taking a nice bubble bath, spending quality time with friends and family, or listening to your favorite music will not halt the Gaslighting, it will provide you with peace of mind and a sense of well-being. Anxiety about Gaslighting and its possible consequences for your employment or relationships can pervade all aspects of your life, making it difficult to find pleasure in even your favorite things.

However, it is critical that you devote time to relaxation and wellness practices, as they will improve your emotional and physical health, making you feel more capable of dealing with problems in your daily life.

Physical activity is also recommended. It acts as an outlet for tension and distress, despite the fact that it primarily engages the physical body. A lengthy run or an intense gym class can help you get rid of some of the troubling emotions that arise as a result of Gaslighting. Exercise helps you sleep better, so if you’re having trouble sleeping because of concerns about Gaslighting, getting some exercise will help.

Seek professional assistance

Mental illness as a result of Gaslighting is a significant problem that, if not addressed, can lead to physical abuse. It can make you feel alone, but it doesn’t imply you’re on your own.

A smart initial step is to consult with a therapist. Find a Therapist who can aid you in beginning your counseling and can get the treatment you need.

Last but not least, Gaslighting has a negative impact on the victim’s mental health and well-being. Despite the fact that all of these options are encouraged, it is critical that you assess the type of relationship you have with the Gaslighter. It may become necessary for you to end the relationship in order to have a fresh start and a new perspective on life.

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