Mind Games aka Gaslighting
This month’s BLOG was going to be on Narcissism but I deviated a little...
I decided to talk about Gaslighting...it’s really common but I never knew it had a name until I started reading about Narcissism after a bad relationship break up – more about that later.
The term Gaslighting comes from an old 1944 movie. The husband goes out at night & sneaks back into the house & does all these things to the “gaslights” in the house & makes odd noises and when he comes back home, the frightened wife tells him what's happened and he says she’s imagining things and she going mad. This goes on for a period of time and she really does start thinking that she’s losing the plot...
Basically what the husbands aim was and what all Gaslighter’s do is to wear down their subject so that there is no shred of self worth left...Self doubt, fear, confusion become the norm.
Unfortunately it's not limited to intimate relationships, it also occurs within the family system, with work colleagues and/or friends...
A lot of people have experienced gaslighting to some varying degrees by others and it can go on for some time and you won’t even realise it until it’s too late...
Narcissist’s Gaslight it’s one of the many things they use to destroy someone else’s self esteem....This will be in my next BLOG.
So going back to why I started learning more about this...
I was subjected to Gaslighting in recent years...
Yes as a mature woman I attracted this into my life and it took me years to see it & understand it. I only knew when I removed myself from that person’s life that I would start feeling more myself again but for some foolish reason I would allow that to person back into my life, over & over again until one day I saw it so clearly that I ran...it was the hardest and the best thing I could do...I was no longer the strong self confident person I use to be...it took all my might to break free...Most of my friends didn’t even know the torment I was enduring at the time and the little they did know, they kept telling me to never go back but I did...I am lucky that my tribe stuck by me while I clawed my way out & back up...
I have given myself a hard time about it saying ‘I should have known better’ I should have been stronger, wiser blah blah blah...I judged myself harshly...
BTW...All these points of view I no longer run about myself these days....
So here I am almost a year later...healed & openly talking about it so that through me sharing my experiences I can help others with theirs...
I have gone through many a days thinking why at this time of my life did I attract this?
What I know is that my resilience was very low after going through a divorce, death’s, job changes & issues and lots of stress...but then I started looking further back into my life and realised that as a child of a Narcissistic mother, I was gaslighted then and in my late teens became the family scapegoat...but I was also an empath which is a whole other BLOG...
So looking at all of this holistically...I see that it was time for me to heal a deeper wound that perhaps was too big to deal with much earlier in my journey....so it was time to address it in 2019...I needed to go through this relationship to learn and grow further on my adventure of life...I am grateful for the insights and the ability for me to have a greater understanding to help other people who find themselves in the similar circumstances...
At the beginning of the year Dan Heer said that 2019 was a year of healing on a higher level and my gift was this amazing insight as painful as it was...
More about Gaslighting:
Gaslighting is used to decrease someone’s self-esteem and self-confidence so the person is unable to function in an independent manner, eventually becoming so insecure that they will fail to trust their own judgment or their intuition and find themselves unable to make informed decisions.
The gaslighter will systematically and frequently withhold information and then deliberately alter facts to disorientate the person or try to cause confusion by not mentioning specific details and then convince the other person that they had told them, so the person thinks they are losing their memory or their mind.
The gaslighter will then lie to say they haven’t said this or that, or that they have used a specific tone of voice and will convince or argue about it & make the person wrong.
Often, the gaslighter will want to create levels of distrust within the relationship to make the person feel they either are cheating, or would cheat at the first opportunity. They may say things to make their person feel insecure and jealous, the gaslighter will accuse the person of having trust issues and this will falsely further confirm in the person’s mind that they have serious insecurities and also, that they are being paranoid.
The gaslighter will make up lies to deliberately upset the other person and then call them names, mock them and put them down for getting upset and for overreacting or get blamed for being too sensitive. The gaslighter will also make light of anything that the person feels is important to make the person’s opinions, life-choices and thoughts seem stupid or that they are inferior to their own. It is likely that the gaslighter will laugh at or sneer at their person, but when questioned, convince their person that they were imagining it.
Some warning signs that Gaslighting is taking place:
Being unaware of the dynamics & change in the relationship
Being in a state of confusion
Withdrawal from friends & family
Walking on eggshells
Feelings of going crazy
Craving affection & recognition
Being overly needy
In extreme cases the person on the receiving end becomes depressed or suffers anxiety, the person will find it extremely difficult to function normally day to day or even be with close friends or family. The gaslighter at this stage has won the battle for control, as without anyone to confide in the person will find it very difficult to work out that it is the gaslighter that is causing the damage. The gaslighter will not want anyone to figure out their game, so, they will work hard to make sure their person becomes alienated from anyone who could offer support.
Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the gaslighter has complete control over their person so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate.
The gaslighter wants to appear superior to the one being gaslighted. By making their person feel completely helpless with very low self-esteem, the gaslighter has complete domination over them, so they are very successful in manipulating their person to get whatever it is they want. This can range from simply having their ego stroked by feeling like they are significantly better than the person they are with, and at the extreme end to being able to gain financial, sexual or material benefits as their person feels too emotionally and mentally weak to fight back.
There are many reasons that someone would gaslight someone else, but it is always done for personal gain. The gaslighter has very little interest in their person, other than using them for their own twisted benefit. When the person becomes so low down that they are no longer of any great use to the gaslighter the relationship will die out. The gaslighter will distance themselves by ignoring & withdrawing from the person by using the silent treatment as an intense form of emotional torture.
The person will have no idea what to do to please or satisfy their gaslighter, and will often try anything to win over their gaslighter to regain the affection that was shown in the beginning stages. By now though, it is far too late. Any little amount of respect that the gaslighter had for their person will have been completely depleted and it is very unlikely that the dynamic will change again.
The gaslighter will often walk away from the person leaving them with a deep sense of frustration, shame, guilt, anger and often riddled with anxiety and depression. The person is usually left in a vortex that they will struggle to climb out of, however, this will be compounded by a deep sense of relief that this vicious dance is over.
The gaslighter will walk away with a great feeling of satisfaction having won each and every battle and will move onto their next innocent person with even more skill and experience, so they can begin this horrendous war once again.
If or when these signs show up, this is when we must trust in our instincts or intuition and leave the situation and not go back...
So what can you do if you finally escape the relationship?
Self care in the form of Holistic Healing,
Counselling and/or close friends to talk to
#mindgames #gaslighting #healing #breakfree