What is Gas Lighting and how do you recognise if you are becoming a victim?
Gas lighting invariably occurs in intimate or romantic relationships, but it can occur in any relationship. Abusers can also be managers, parents, relatives or friends. Sadly, for many the gas lighter can appear very charming so the abuse is difficult to spot.
Gaslighting is a repeated pattern of manipulation designed to make the victim doubt themselves, their self-image, self-worth and sanity. Below are a few examples of gaslighting for anyone who may feel they are becoming a victim
Recognising the signs of Gas Lighting.
- You may be told that your memories are continually inaccurate
- Your feelings are belittled or disregarded – you may be told you are over-sensitive, over reacting etc
- The perpetrator denies past events or actions that have happened making you think you are in the wrong
- Logical discussions are impossible – the perpetrator will focus on or question your personality often looking to discredit anything you say
- The perpetrator refuses to engage in conversation if you are confused or trying to understand what you may have done wrong
- The perpetrator denies you affection to provoke a response
- The perpetrator accuses you of things you’ve not done trying to draw you into an argument to then make you feel worthless.
Like any abuser, Gaslighters want to control their victim– it is very difficult to spot the abuse as there are no obvious physical signs.
Where does the term Gaslighting come from and what does it mean
The term gaslighting originated from the 1944 film ‘Gaslight’ staring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the film Boyer attempts to main control over his wife manipulating her to think she is going insane. The film see Ingrid Bergman become increasingly dependent on her husband because she is convinced, she is seeing and hearing things. She is unable to see that it is in fact her husband who is the cause of her problems.
What can you do if you think you are a victim of Gaslighting?
- Keep a diary – recording all events where you are ignored, lied to, humiliated etc
- Try and reconnect with friends and family – let them know what you are dealing with
- Coercive control is a criminal offence so if the behaviour becomes emotionally damaging and abusive you can report it to the police.
Seeking help or support if you are a victim of Gaslighting
If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 or press 55 on a mobile to be transferred. 555 from a mobile. If you cannot speak for fear of reprisals, you can listen to the operator’s questions and cough or tap the receiver with each question. Please click this link for free, confidential advice and support 24 hours a day.
You can also contact the Dash Charity who offer specialist support. Kidd Rapinet works closely with The Dash Charity.
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