Today, we will discuss gaslighting and the mental effects it has on the individual being gaslighted. If you are like me, I’ve heard the term but haven’t experienced it. It’s associated with mental abuse. My good friend recently used this term, so I finally decided to attach its definition in my mind.
Let us take a look at The definition of “gaslighting” in our Webster Dictionary and DWW definition of gaslighting.
Webster Definition of Gaslighting-1. to cause someone to question their mental sanity.
DWW meaning of gaslighting-A form of abuse used often when mental abusing your partner in a relationship by creating a toxic environment by leading them to question their own memory, perception or judgement. (often done when someone is having an affair when in a committed relationship.)
When “gaslighting” occurs, there is a victimizer(s) and victim. A manipulation period is how gaslighting begins. Gaslighting works by manipulating another person’s beliefs to change, ultimately causing them to question their own reality. It happens often and is not always caused by just one individual in a relationship. It is also commonly used in cults when a leader or leaders cultivate their own following by changing their thinking using brainwashing over a long period of time.
When one experiences a mutual relationship with someone who “gaslights” them, they almost always have ulterior motives. For example, let’s use a fabricated situation to define how it works. The following made up examples are all part of scenarios involving gaslighting.
EXAMPLE #1- In my fabricated story, Denise and Don are married. Don is having a torrid affair with another woman after twenty years of marriage and has decided to leave Denise for this other person. Don is a doctor, and doesn’t want Denise taking him to the cleaners. He therefore uses “gaslighting” over a period of time. Denise asks Don if he is cheating on her. He of course, denies it by calling her paranoid, neurotic and in desperate need of individual counseling. Due to a trust factor built over time by the victimizer, (In this case, Don), he is using the trust he has shared with Denise by making her feel her thinking is unwarranted and on the verge of crazy. Sadly, over time, Denise begins to accept Don’s created perception that perhaps she is crazy. After all, she has no real evidence. Gaslighting then follows successfully achieved by Don.
EXAMPLE #2-A group of devout followers of a church believing in polygamy wishes to gain more members. When they see an individual who they feel emotionally is in crisis, they invite her to hear one of their sermons, we will call it. Over time, especially because this individual is going through a life crisis, she begins to adopt the beliefs of this “Cult” and abandon their own. The victimizer is of course, the cult. They have taken an individual experiencing a weakness in their psychological thinking and converted her to their beliefs which inherently go against her previous beliefs, morals and values. In this example, successful gaslighting is achieved by the cult leader and members.
Gaslighting, does not very often “fix itself” for the victim. Many victims of gaslighting go through long periods of deprogramming to get back to the innate beliefs they once had prior to interacting with the victimizer. (this cult). It can take many years to undo the damage gaslighting creates when the person finally begins to see life and perceptions as she or he did prior to meeting this cult and its ideology.
It is also important to note, if you have been a victim of gaslighting, you are not stupid or crazy. You have been manipulated during a vulnerable period in your life emotionally, and the victimizer senses this. They use this fact against the vulnerability you are experiencing. Thanks so much for reading my daily wisdom words blog today about gaslighting. We need to be aware of it, because it is an occurs more often than we know. It often takes a trusted friend or family member involved to fix the damage done to the victim over a long period of time. DWW blog is a small part of a large Writer’s Community website. While you are here visiting our website you will see it offers a diverse approach, improving writer’s abilities with activities involving writing skills and mental health.
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