Power: Gaslighting & Mind Games In Relationships

Hi everyone! 🙂

Introduction

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I want to welcome you all to my new five-part series Gaslighting & Mind Games In Relationships. It is something many people face and which I have personally faced and continue to face. I think it is very important to talk about it because many people including myself have figured out what type of a situation we are in through openness about the topic especially from people who are in those situations or who have been in those situations. I hope that the series helps many realise they are not alone and that you are not the problem. So without further ado, let’s get to the start of part one.

What is gaslighting?

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Gaslighting is a term many have heard but don’t fully understand. Partly because it is a term that was hidden away from mainstream activities for so long to protect those who gaslight others. In addition in more recent times it has become a buzzword for every time someone doesn’t like something someone said to them. This type of behaviour is quite dangerous as it takes away from the stories of real victims or whatever word feels comfortable to you. First of all, gaslighting is not a one-off incident. Certainly you can get a vibe off someone from something they communicate to you that suggests that in a longer situation they could be a gaslighter but one incident in and of itself is not gaslighting. Gaslighting is prolonged torment of someone’s mind which causes them to be confused and to doubt themselves. Whether gaslighters do this deliberately is up for debate but my own personal opinion would be that they know exactly what they are doing. However that is only my personal opinion but regardless of this, it does not diminish the pain and suffering it causes to its victims. Gaslighting is essentially where someone’s actions and thoughts are twisted regularly and over a longer period of time. It is a constant invalidation of their emotions and a dismissal of everything that is in important to them in a bid to control that person. It is for example on one hand telling a person that they are a troublemaker with people and then in another situation telling them they are nervous around people and struggle to stand up for themselves. Over time there is so many different negative things communicated to you that you begin to believe them all but you are also confused because you can’t be all of them. Many of the negative things gaslighters say to you contradict each other.

Common Gaslighting Phrases

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The following is a list of common phrases gaslighters communicate but it is by no means extensive:

  1. You are too sensitive
  2. You are a troublemaker. We can’t go anywhere with you.
  3. You find it hard with people, don’t you? I worry that you can’t stand up for yourself. I think you are nervous around people.
  4. You are aggressive.
  5. You want to be right.
  6. You want everything your own way.
  7. You like to shove your opinions down everyone’s throat.
  8. People would laugh at your opinions.
  9. You are too much.
  10. I think you want me to shut-up.
  11. You want me to approve of you.
  12. You have no problem speaking up for yourself when you want to, do you?
  13. I think you will have to see someone.
  14. You will have to go if this keeps up. I won’t put up with this. You are destroying the house/family.
  15. You get too easily upset.
  16. You need to toughen up.
  17. You need to grow up.
  18. You are overacting/blowing things out of proportion.
  19. That never happened/I never said that.
  20. You are so paranoid. Oh my god, you really are.
  21. I don’t want to be fighting. Here we go again. There is always something with you.
  22. This is all your fault.
  23. You want to blame me and I’m doing nothing to you.
  24. You like to hear the sound of your own voice.
  25. People would look at you if you acted like that outside.
  26. If people seen you, they would agree with me.
  27. You want to shock me.
  28. I have a lot to put up with with you.
  29. You like to play the victim.
  30. I know what your game is.
  31. You are so dramatic.
  32. You are always doing everything wrong.
  33. I really worry about you.
  34. You are immature.
  35. You are not responsible.
  36. You always blame others for your own problems.

It is important to note that any of these phrases being used in a conversation or a debate or a fight now and again is not gaslighting but when this becomes a pattern it is gaslighting.

Why Gaslighters Gaslight

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Gaslighting is at heart all about power and control. Its aim by the perpetrator is to destroy the confidence of the victim so that the perpetrator can control the victim and the victim’s life. The perpetrator aims to make the victim feel so unsure of themselves and their decisions that they rely on the approval of the gaslighter. The victim is in a sense of fear that what they choose to do, what they think and who they are is wrong. Is bad. Is cruel. They believe that their actions will hurt people when in reality they won’t. A gaslighter wants to destroy someone’s reality and make them not do the things in their life they want to do or would do otherwise. They want the victim to believe that they have no control over their life so that the victim loses control of their life. The sad thing is that the victim always has control over their life but they are scared of that. They think it’s best not to because they would only make a mess of things in one way or another. That is because that is what has been put into their head like a broken record for a long period of time.

How Gaslighting Becomes A Vicious Circle

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It becomes a vicious circle for a few reasons. Firstly it’s repetitive and anything that’s repetitive can get into your mind and make you believe it. It’s frighteningly effective. Secondly I mentioned earlier that there was a level of confusion where they tell you things which contradict each other. This confusion makes you go around in circles too. What you need to remember is that none of the things are true. They are simply angles which fit the gaslighter’s motive in that particular moment. If that doesn’t work, the other negative thing about you comes out even if it completely contradicts the other. The thing is that confuses your mind because you wonder which you are, are you all of these things? And that’s the point of why they do it. Once it gets in on you, it can be difficult to break that cycle but not impossible and breaking that cycle may not come all at once. It might come in parts so try to be patient (coming from the least patient person ever! :-)). Gaslighting is also very subtle which helps make it a very vicious cycle too. Because it’s so subtle, you believe you are imagining that anything major is happening until you find out more about it. When you do, the walls of gaslighting begin to crumble.

How Gaslighting Feels

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Intense and suffocating are words which come to mind. On a regular basis, you know something will happen. Even if it doesn’t happen every day, a house where gaslighting is present is very tense. You are on edge about communicating the wrong thing because it gets twisted so quickly. It can make you feel confused, sad, guilty and all sorts of negative feelings about yourself. You can think you are everything negative under the sun. But if you are still in the situation but no longer believing it, you still have emotionally-drained moments and a feeling of being tense. Gaslighting can leave you reacting in a lot of ways but probably two main ways and maybe the ways change at different points for you. Sometimes people debate with the gaslighter and sometimes people close up and protect themselves by playing a part, knowingly or unknowingly, which the gaslighter approves of. There are pros and cons to both those options but what I’ve found is that doing your own thing but not debating much probably works best to survive and thrive but that’s not perfect either and not easy because a gaslighter does not want you doing your own thing. There isn’t really a right way but if you find yourself in that situation, very difficult as it is, retrain your mind and cancel out the negative. When you do that over time, a confidence will emerge which makes you better equipped to deal with the situation and to loosen that control.

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One comment on “Power: Gaslighting & Mind Games In Relationships

  1. Yernasia Quorelios says:

    💜 I AM Unaffected by “Gaslighting” and “Mind Games” EveryOne; it’s because I Turned Inwards and I Recognised that it Doesn’t Matter what Others Say or Do, all that Matters To Me is my Emotional Responses and My Reactions and I Set Boundaries and Assert these Boundaries…frankly, an Accuser of AnyThing is looking in a mirror; a person in Denial, unable to Admit, Acknowledge and Address THEIR!!! MMHI (Multiple Mental Health Issues) and CHOOSING!!! instead to Blame and Find Fault with EveryBody and EveryThing Else, http://www.ericberne.com

    …💛💚💙…

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