Have you ever been in situation when you’re not sure in your own senses, perception, memory? Like some intense dreams that leave such a deep emotional trace, that next day you doubt: did it really happen or it was just a dream?.. Or when you are sure that you met your friend in hot July but he says it was -10 and snowy that day… Or when someone runs a pencil over your back but your conscious draws that it was a knife and now you have a bleeding scratch there… Such mind-tricks happen to us everywhere, but there are some people, who uses this mental cracks with purpose, against us.
Gaslighters are people who make us question our reality. This is one of the dirtiest and most dangerous of the existing combination of manipulations. The saddest thing is that more often it is used by those we love and those we trust: by our friends and live-partners. That is explainable: only persons who have some value for us can influence our opinion and behavior. The bigger the value, the stronger the influence.
Main purpose of all gaslighters (that they usually don’t even realize, as they not often realize the fact of their manipulative behavior) is to gain more power over you. Thirst for power isn’t something abnormal itself: almost everyone sooner or later has it. The way they are trying to get the power – here’s the catch. Emotional abuse. Pretending to be someone who loves you they cover real intensions under ostentatious care, explaining it as a desire to help you, they have only one real purpose: subordinate you. Try to remember, are there people in your surroundings that make you feel bad about yourself? Maybe a friend who always tries to help you to fix some small imperfections (“Take the bubblegum, you need it”, “Maybe you should try another dress next time, that will hide your skinny ass”, “It would be nice to fly to Italy this weekend, pity you can’t afford it”) Like he or she is frank with you because you are “real friends”, but when you start to analyze this friendship, you’ll find out that all her honesty was about the facts that there’s smth wrong with you, never about how cool, strong or beautiful you are.
Narcissistic persons (especially the mix of narcissism and sociopathy) gaslights their partners more often. They make you believe that you are not that good as you think and you are so fucking lucky to get them, because nobody else in this Universe could be interested in you. They can align you against your friends or family, by telling them that you told something unpleasant. Or by convincing you that you have some feelings or memories that you really don’t. “You told me you don’t like your uncle because he was rude to you when you were a kid… Did you forget? It’s ok, our psychic protects itself by excluding bad things out of the memory. But you definitely told me that.” Next day they will give you some promises to take care about you: “I think you need a private music teacher, I’ll pay for it.” Or “Let’s buy you some new clothes.” Like they really care. So even if you don’t want to believe, step by step you will, because the doubt will poison your mind: “Such a nice person can’t be wrong, he wishes me all the best.” They are bluff masters.
I can write hundreds of pages about gaslighters manipulative tricks, but all of them have the same idea – to make the victims loose the sense of reality. Self-esteem, sense of normality, self-aware, sense of stability, main values, trust – this are the main targets. If you noticed some unwanted changes in this features of yourself after communication with a person – this is the signal. Keep your attention on what this person says and how he really acts, because the main thing that discovers gaslighters is that their deeds hardly match their words. “I’m the best man for you.” “I’m the only one who’s honest with you.” “Nobody will love you as I do.” “They all just use you, I’m your only real friend.” Sounds similar? Reason to beware.
How to behave yourself if communication with gaslighter is inevitable? How not to be trapped? The correct way of behavior with gaslighters depends on situation. But the first step to solve any problem is to realize and admit that there’s a problem. I noticed one common thing in those who were gaslighted: they characterized themselves as lost, falling into pieces persons. It was difficult for them to understand their own desires or to make own decision. The most often answer on the questions “Would you like this? What do you want to do now? Should we watch this movie or that?” was “I don’t know…” If you feel something similar, start to analyze your entourage: is there anyone who possibly suppresses you emotionally?
If this person is your friend or lover, first of all you should ask yourself: why do I choose such relationships? What does this pain give me? Most often the answer is in your past: your mother was a narcissistic person and you are looking for the same emotions you experienced in childhood, for example. Then the correct way will be to stop this relationship. The sooner the better. If not immediately, then step by step.
If the gazlighter is your boss, teacher, parent or someone else you have to deal with, then observe his behavior, notice his tricks. Provocations are only valid if you react to them. Become a psychiatrist, explore this person (of course silently, he shouldn’t even guess), try to find out why he behave this way, follow his way from childhood until today, make conclusions, diagnose him, but abstract yourself. Then you will see all weaknesses of your gazlighter and disarm him. He will not be able to influence you anymore.
I had two persons (at least those I’m aware about :D ) in my life who used this tricks on me. Both of them believed they wish me the best. Unfortunately when gazliter wishes you the best, they don't ask you what's the best for you. I will share the stories in next blog, it was quite exciting experience.
Meanwhile share your stories and thoughts about the topic in comments. People need it. I need it.
Hug and kisses!