How do you know when you have been gaslighted?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation
Gas lighting can be like looking at yourself in the mirror and convincing yourself that the person looking back is not you.
The word ‘gaslighting’ was gotten from the 1944 Hollywood movie, ‘Gaslight’.
In this movie, the husband manipulates the wife to a point that she no longer trusts her senses.
The phrase is coined from a scene in the movie where the light from the gas is on and flickering but, the husband convinces her that it is not on.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that makes you disbelieve your perception of reality or events.
A gas lighter typically acts in such a way so as to diffuse tension or potential conflict.
He or she feels like they are managing conflict and do not want things to be blown out of proportion while they deny how the other person feels.
I spoke with Debola who feels like she was gaslighted.
Debola was friends with Jimi for a while, he made some sexual advances, and she agreed to it.
After a couple of sexual encounters, dates, long calls, and continuous texts she asked what was going on between them.
Jimi did not give her a direct response. She tried to point out that they have had a couple of sexual experiences.
Jimi told her that she was exaggerating what happened between them and that she had imagined whatever intimacy she thought they shared, it was nothing and they were just friends.
Debola was deeply hurt by this, she felt deceived.
Jimi tried to apologize. Here is what he said, “I feel like you are expecting me to admit to something. I am sorry even if I do not see why you are so upset.”
Do you think she was gaslighted?
In a situation where a person is being gaslighted, the power dynamics might make it hard for the other person to recognize it as it is ongoing. You might respect the person or want to accord them with respect so it would be difficult to detect.
Common phrases a gas lighter says; “it’s not a big deal”, “you are overreacting”, “you are being too sensitive”, “You are being dramatic”, “there is no pattern. You are seeing a pattern that doesn’t exist.”
When you have been gaslighted you find yourself wondering. “Am I too sensitive?”
You apologize thinking you read too much into the event. You have a feeling something is not right or went wrong but you do not know what it is.
You try to make excuses or create a reality to accommodate what the other person said.
You feel confused or crazy. You feel that you are not good enough.
Gas lighting is context specific, the nature of what happened would let you know if you have been gaslighted or not.
A simple way to know you have been gaslighted is to check if your feelings are being validated or being ignored and pushed aside?
By Temi Iwalaiye