Gaslighting: The Art of Manipulation

Gaslighting has existed forever, but only now are people becoming more aware of it. By definition, gaslighting is when someone or a group psychologically manipulates another, which then leads them to question their own thoughts and doubt their sanity. Oftentimes, the victim is left with feelings of confusion, insecurity and even anxiety. Gaslighting can happen to anyone in their everyday lives but is commonly found in relationships. This toxic trait can not only mentally hurt someone but can turn into emotional abuse.

When it comes to gaslighting, it’s important to be aware of the red flags so it’s easy to identify. Gaslighting frequently occurs in arguments but can also occur in normal conversations. One common red flag is when the gaslighter is convincing their victim that they are in the wrong. This ends up leaving the victim apologizing without even knowing what they did. A common personality trait in gaslighters, besides being manipulative, is being stubborn. These people are extreme cases of stubbornness. They will twist the situation, making the victim feel bad. Not only that, but gaslighters are typically narcissists. As many might know, narcissists will always believe they’re superior or better than everyone else. This is a clear sign of toxicity which should never be considered normal in any human interaction. No one should ever feel wrong or sorry for everything they do.

Another red flag is having to walk on eggshells all the time.  A gaslighter’s victim is constantly contemplating what to say to ensure they don’t upset the gaslighter. If someone has to think about every word they say to someone, this shows the inferiority they’ve been made to feel which is gaslighting. No one should feel nervous to talk to someone to this extent.

The next red flag is not so much the actions of the gaslighter, but the feelings the victim starts to feel. When someone is being gaslighted, their self-esteem starts to fade away and they start to question reality. On top of that, gaslighting can cause the victim to feel depressed, hysterical or anxious, and it can possibly lead to mental illnesses. Recognizing these feelings might be easier to identify than the gaslighter’s actions. Whether it’s a victim or an outsider, these feelings can help identify a toxic relationship.

Some tips for combatting gaslighting are to:

  • Identify the red flags
  • Be aware of what that person is saying
  • Prepare evidence to back up the argument
  • Point out the gaslighting; show unbothered feelings towards their behaviour
  • Stay confident and strong
  • If needed, inform others to gain awareness

It takes a lot of courage to confront gaslighters. Because of this, it’s critical to stay strong and remember that personal opinions are valid and should be heard. Everyone is worthy and should never feel as though they are lesser than another. Just remember, strength will burn the light out.