Being one of the vast number of people who suffer from a mental illness, I’ve learned the importance of protecting yourself from gaslighting and recognizing it when it’s happening to you.
According to Wikipedia, gaslighting is a form of manipulation that tries to create doubt in an individual or group in hopes to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to break the victim down and delegitimize their beliefs. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term originated from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gas Light and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations. The term is now being used in clinical and research literature as well as in political commentary.
It’s so crucial for those with mental illnesses to be aware of this form of abuse because we are perfect targets for it. I mean, think about it… we already feel crazy without anyone’s help so it’s that much easier for someone to magnify that thought. We must remain vigilant in order to prevent falling into this type of abuse. Sadly, it’s very easy to become prey to the manipulation used in this kind of abusive relationship. It’s all about tearing someone down to gain complete control of them.
Personally, I’d rather be decked in the face than experience the psychological abuse I’ve endured. Luckily, I made it out in one piece and survived the pain. I just want to warn my fellow “crazy’s” about something I’ve been through and hopefully, save someone from being put through the abuse of a toxic relationship. If you can relate to anything in this post, get out and run… run far, far far away! When I became a target for this horrible psychological game, I had never heard of gaslighting or knew anything about it. For me, I don’t think it would’ve mattered anyway. The truth of it is that you only fall victim to what you allow. So maybe, just maybe, I might be able to enlighten someone to beware of relationships that seem to fit the gaslighting description. Or maybe, just maybe, someone will have faith in themself and their mind enough to trust their truth and stand strong against anyone who tries to make them think differently.