Breaking away from Gas Lighting
I believe there are two things you need to bring to any relationship, whether it’s with your partner, your neighbour, your employer or whoever. The first is self-respect. I think that self-respect is a good place to start and a good healthy thing to bring to any relationship. The second is communication. I have noticed however that when relationships go wrong it’s because something is happening which is affecting the self-respect and the communication and that is simply just not paying attention.
Click to view my video on Gaslighting
As mentioned in last week’s article some Gas Lighters can be highly skilled manipulators and can have their victims stop paying attention as they constantly question themselves and try to keep up. Their self-respect may be eroded as their experiences are constantly rewritten. Communication stops working as only certain things said are picked up on, to perhaps highlight how inconsistent and unstable they are. Any challenge and the Gas Lighter becomes a victim of how unreasonable the other person is. The victim then stops paying attention to what’s really going on as they try to pacify the abuser.
The amount of energy that can be wasted trying to get on the same page with someone who keeps using different books can be draining for their victims as they keep trying to figure out what’s going on.
When people start paying attention to what’s really going on with themselves, how they feel, their self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence and so on things can begin to change. As I said earlier communication is something important to bring to any relationship however if one person ‘refuses’ to understand then perhaps it’s time to stop communicating on that issue. Being clear about it being okay for you both to disagree or that you’re not happy with the other person telling you your experience, or even that the conversation is now over may be difficult at the time. It can however help break the attachment to the things that have you feeling trapped and threatened such as disapproval and emotional blackmail.
As difficult as it may be to try to break away from someone who is gas lighting you, imagine how much more difficult it is when the abuser has support from others, for example family members or a cult group. The Gas Lighting can actually be intensified.
Going back to where we started, as always making sure you are safe, a good healthy level of self-respect to know your values and boundaries is a good place to begin. The ability to communicate them confidently, and paying attention to know when to reinforce them when you need to can go a long way.
Pay attention to your own experience, remember, regardless of what you’re told, you are a witness. Don’t believe everything someone else ‘thinks’. If need be, perhaps even just leave. If you feel you need support with recognising or developing these skills perhaps speak to a counsellor.
This article was written by sentientcounselling