Gaslighting is a term that refers to trying to convince someone that they’re wrong about something even when they aren’t. Although we may all be guilty of gaslighting at times – refusing to listen to others even if they are in the right, its mostly harmless but in extreme cases it can be a form of abuse.
If someone is gaslighting another person repeatedly it can have a detrimental impact on their wellbeing and confidence, leading them to think that they are constantly in the wrong or that their opinions do not matter.
Gaslighting can happen in an individual’s personal or professional life over a short amount of time or over years, it could be small things such as ‘I always cook the dinner, why don’t you do it?’ or at work saying that someone is doing something wrong even though they are achieving the correct outcomes.
Sometimes, the person doing the gaslighting does not know they’re doing it and it is about their own insecurities and a power struggle.
If you are being gaslighted it can be important to address the following:
- Is the behaviour intentional or not?
- Look at the situation from the outside, this will allow you to see the situation more clearly and in a less emotional way.
- Try to understand; is what they are doing out of a desire to control you, or because they struggle with the idea of not being in control themselves.
It is important that you find a different way of communication with the individual who is gaslighting if you want to continue talking to them. There is help and support available from ACAS if it is within a work environment or Relate if it is within a personal relationship.
What does this mean to you?
Who can you talk to if you if you think that someone is gaslighting you?
What can you do if you hear a conversation where someone is gaslighting?