I wanted to talk about gaslighting. It is a term that as become more prevalent in our world especially as it is happening more and more these days. Most of us don’t even recognize that it is happening or that we are participating in it because it has become normalized.
Gaslighting is manipulating (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. “By psychological means” is when you deny a feeling, a thought, an experience of another.
Simple examples of this are,
- “There is nothing to be scared about.”,
- “You can’t be hungry, you just ate.”,
- “You are too sensitive.”
- “That is not real, that is fake.”
Most of the time gaslighting is an unconscious act. We don’t realize that we are even doing it especially because it has become normalized in of society.
But gaslighting can be very damaging. Over the long-term is damages your self-esteem and confidence. Eventually you stop trusting yourself and begin to trust the perceptions of others which can lead to hopelessness, PTSD, depression, anxiety and even memory issues because your mind is experiencing one thing but you are being told something different.
Let’s take this down to a personal level and look at how you might be gaslighting yourself. This is where you are denying your own feeling, denying your experiences as true for you, denying that you know what is best for you even when it goes against what others are doing and denying aspects of yourself….if you do any or all of these then you are gaslighting yourself.
Take out a journal and journal about the the following. Be kind to yourself as you do this…there is no need to judge yourself as you explore these parts of yourself.
- Where are you denying your feelings?
- Where are you denying your experiences?
- Where are you not allowing yourself to be curious about something?
- Where are you choosing something for yourself based on what others are doing or based on the mainstream narrative and not choosing what you think is best for you?
- Where are you making others feelings, thoughts and opinions more important than your own?
Once you are done notice any emotions that come up and allow them to be felt. It is okay to have these emotions.
Becoming aware of where you are gaslighting yourself is the first step into changing.
If we continue down this path of gaslighting, whether done by another or done by our selves, what are we teaching our children. We are teaching our children that their feelings, curiosity, experiences also don’t matter. We are teaching them that it is wrong to have conversations about anything that they are feeling, thinking or curious about. We are teaching them that it’s okay to gaslight another and more importantly to gaslight themselves. Is that truly what we want for their future?
Drop me a line and let me know your biggest take away. I love having a dialogue around this.
And if you want to dive into a deeper conversation about topics like this then join us in the new Up Level Your Life community.
Much Love & Light,