“Am I going crazy?” This is the recurring question that people who are victims of gaslighting ask themselves. What is it all about? A technique of mind manipulation, gaslighting consists in making a person doubt his own mental health. It is a dangerous emotional and psychological abuse, long and exhausting, which encloses its victim in a false reality, in a closed session with his “executioner”.
It can be very difficult to become aware of it and therefore to get out of it. That is why it is important to know the signs, in order to protect yourself from what is one of the worst manipulation techniques there is. To help you understand what gaslighting is, we give you the 8 signs of this dangerous emotional abuse.
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What is gaslighting?
Behind this name, which can be translated as “smokescreen”, hides a technique of mental manipulation that consists in making his victim doubt his reason. The term comes from the film “Gaslight” taken from a play and released in 1944 with Ingrid Bergman. In this American film, the husband makes his wife doubt his actions to such an extent that she ends up worrying about her mental state.
Gaslighting is therefore a dangerous and powerful manipulation technique that allows the person to slowly and gradually take control of his victim, making him doubt his cognitive performance, his memory and his perception of reality. She then becomes dependent on the false reality or distorted reality constructed by her toxic partner. The latter thus completely establishes his grip on his victim.
Indeed, immersed in this reality that no longer makes sense to her, the victim then doubts her own mental health. It starts by destroying her self-esteem,making her lose confidence in her own opinions and opinions. Of course, this promotes fragility that can even cause anxiety disorders and even depression.
Gaslighting: the 8 signs of this dangerous emotional abuse
Who practices this emotional abuse?
The gaslighter or abuser is found among one of these three categories of unhealthy, perverse and therefore toxic people:
How does the gaslighter set up his grip?
The person who uses gaslighting systematically reminds his victim of his flaws and mistakes, real or imaginary, in order to make him understand that he never does enough, that he is mistaken, that he serves no purpose. The goal? Devalue her to make her lose confidence in herself and make her feel guilty.
Indeed, the abuser does not seek to make his partner aware of his defects in the hope of changing it. Not at all. Its purpose? Only formulate unfounded criticisms to demean the other and thus better control it.
Moreover, the gaslighter does not tolerate criticism: if his victim dares to contradict him, he will counterattack, accuse the victim of starving, find excuses by making his victim bear the responsibility or even accentuate his grip. For this, he multiplies verbal but sometimes also physical violence.
Being a victim of gaslighting
To be a victim of gaslighting is to live in a permanent feeling of insecurity. It is to totally lose control of one’s life and of oneself, because nothing seems to be in its place and the victim ends up doubting everything, of himself, of others, of what is true or not. She can no longer trust her sensations and emotions, as these are questioned by her executioner.
Frightened, weakened, helpless and often isolated,the victim spends his time apologizing while it is he who is mistreated. She asks forgiveness for anything and everything, all the time, so as not to trigger an argument or persuaded by dint of being responsible for everything that is reproached to her.
She no longer knows what to think and do since she has been deprived of her internal compass and the more time passes, the more total the grip on her.
So how do you know if a relationship is like gaslighting? What are the recurring signs of this violent and dangerous abuse? What do these manipulative people make their victims live?
Gaslighting: the 8 signs of dangerous emotional manipulation
#1 Demeaning words
Like any manipulator worthy of the name, regardless of his category of belonging, the gaslighter will use and abuse infantilizing, disrespectful and abusive sentences to demean his or her partner permanently. It is not there to encourage or stimulate the other on the contrary, it does everything to make the other feel devalued, useless, null, beside the plate. He thus establishes his grip by making the other doubt his faculties, by pointing out a pseudo hysteria or hyper emotionality for example. And he has no qualms about doing so in public, thus humiliating his victim by taking people as witnesses, but with this condescension that makes the problem necessarily the other.
Examples of typical and recurring sentences:
- You’re too susceptible.
- You take things too much to heart all the time.
- Isn’t it okay? You really say something very weird.
- And there you have it, you get ideas as usual.
- You’re wrong/You’re confusing as always.
- Again, you’re exaggerating.
- You always dramatize everything.
#2 Lying is his signature
In front of you is a person who lies to you without bedding, when he knows full well that you know that he is not telling the truth. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? And yet, this behavior is deliberate, because by making you doubt its honesty, it keeps you in a state of confusion and instability that allows it to manipulate you more easily over time. Thus, he denies banal things to weaken you, make you doubt yourself.
For example, he told you that he was going to go shopping or pick up the children at the end of the day, but when you talk to him about it, he denies it all en bloc and is so convincing that you doubt your certainties. The more this is repeated, the easier it is for you to accept the reality that he wants to impose on you.
#3 It tackles your sore spots
Whether it’s a trait of your personality, your children, your sick mom, your passion, it will start by attacking what is important to you, what is important to you, what touches you, to destroy the very essence of your person. He has no qualms about pressing where it hurts, because he knows that your emotions will take over.
It could thus insinuate that you are not a good mother or that you should not have had children, that you do not take care of your mother well enough. Or that you are not gifted in your passion and that it is time to stop ridiculing yourself. It can even make you understand that you could have been a better person if you didn’t have so many flaws, but that there you are worthless. Without it anyway.
#4 A long and gradual process
Gaslighting is characterized by its slow and gradual process that prevents the victim from realizing it suddenly. Otherwise, she would have the means to flee, a click that would make her understand that something is wrong. No with gaslighting, it is a process that wears you out that is set up.
A little lie here, a nasty comment there… with a frequency that increases imperceptibly, day after day. This is one of the insidious aspects of Gaslighting. Your abuser operates slowly and then it starts to ramp up.
Gaslighting: the other 4 signs of this dangerous emotional abuse
#5 – It sows confusion in you
It uses positive reinforcement to confuse you further, that is, it plays hot and cold. He who often belittles you, suddenly begins to compliment you. Inevitably, this makes you think that you may have misunderstood, that it may not be so bad in the end. In reality, this is the case, because these compliments are obviously a calculated gesture that aims, once again, to make you doubt your reality.
He knows that confusion weakens you and that you will fall into his trap. How? Everyone needs stability,which is why the principle of gaslighting is to attack the foundations to destroy. Thus, the victim will instinctively be led to seek his balance with a close person, namely the gaslighter himself.
#6 Attention diverter
To divert your attention from his unhealthy little game, especially if he fears that you will see clearly in his manipulation game, he reverses the roles by making you look like the person guilty of the worst evils of the Earth. Here you are in the role of the executioner, responsible for the disputes, the crises of your couple.
Thus, he will constantly accuse you of acts of which you are not guilty: infidelity, emotional dependence, lies of all kinds. list them,,,,, Here he is as a poor victim. By forcing you to defend yourself and the height of history, to reassure him, your attention will be diverted from his behavior and his perverse manipulation tactics
#7 Control of those around you
Gaslighting is a manipulation technique that isolates its victims. For this, the manipulators do everything so that their victim finds himself alone, isolated, distant from his family circle, friendly and social. Manipulators have a knack for luring people to their side, and can easily use this against you. For this he will create from scratch lies and disputes, making you responsible, so that others no longer want to see you. He will not hesitate to tell you that everyone around you knows that you are useless, that you are wrong, to make you lose confidence in them, and thus control you easily.
Or he will persuade you that some people want you harm so that you cut the bridges on your own… By passing off your family, friends and even the media as liars, the gaslighter will position himself in your eyes, as the only reliable source of information. Thus, its control over you will be absolute.
#8 His ultimate weapon: you’re crazy/crazy
It is a technique as old as the world but which unfortunately still works…. By repeating, wrongly and wrongly, to those around you, that you have lost your mind, he ends up convincing everyone. He positions himself as a victim, as a worried, sad partner, lost to arouse compassion. Little by little, he distils his lies. You lose your mind, you forget things, you become aggressive, hysterical, violent. Everything is good to make others believe that you are crazy, unstable and therefore potentially dangerous for yourself and for others.
Thus, if you ever manage to talk about the abuse you are experiencing, no one will believe you from the outset and it will be difficult for you to prove your claims. The gaslighter always tries to be one step ahead, like on a chessboard, he places his pawns and knows how to use and control them when it proves useful or necessary for him. A manipulator is intelligent, this is what makes him dangerous and his malevolence. He has no scruples, ever.
But his outsized ego, pride, arrogance, and overconfidence can backfire. If you recognize yourself in this article, if your current relationship has all or some of these signs, do not hesitate to ask for help and if you can, from.
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