It’s been nearly a year since I started this blog and wrote my first few posts. One post of mine that still gains traction, is what I wrote about gaslighting. I explained the Tactics of my Gaslighter; what he did to me and how he created the most confusing war within my own head. As I’m celebrating my two year anniversary of being separated from that man, I thought I would reiterate what gaslighting means and how it can affect your life.
Gaslighting is a very common tactic used by abusers and is not given enough awareness. I have met so many women who suffer from its effects while knowing nothing about what it truly means, or how detrimental it can be to their mental health over time.
Gaslighters are exemplary liars.
They can lie through their teeth and make it believable. Whether they are telling little white lies or spewing massive, brain bleed busters- they are good at coming up with story after story to explain every argument you make in rebuttal. They will lie about little things, like when they got off work or if they took a lunch break, to big things like who they went out with or why their phone was off.
They will lie about things that don’t even seem worthy of lies- like what they had for lunch or what they really think about your dress.. and in doing so, they are purposely creating an environment that leaves you second guessing their every little move. When this happens, they talk their way out of it in true manipulative fashion- making you feel crazy and over-reactive, like you’re ‘the problem,’ because you won’t believe their every word.
Gaslighters are maniacal manipulators.
They know exactly what makes your heart beat- your family, your job, your friends.. and they will use that to their advantage. They will play with your emotions and make you believe that they only want what’s best for you (but I’m telling you, this isn’t the case).
They only want what’s best for them.
A gaslighter knows how to get your attention by pulling on your emotions to make you feel like the bad guy at every turn. If you feel skeptical, they make you feel guilty. If you feel hurt, they make sure to mention how you hurt them. If you contemplate moving on in any way, they will do everything they can to make sure that cannot (and will not) happen.
Gaslighters are demonically degrading.
Just as a gaslighter knows what makes your heart beat, they will use those same things to degrade you. Enjoy writing a blog? They will put you down for it.
Take lots of selfies because you feel confident? They will slut shame you.
Like eating fast food? They will fat shame you.
House isn’t clean 24/7? They will call you lazy, ask you what you’ve done all day, and make you feel as worthless as the dirt on the bottom of your shoes.
The saddest part?
You will believe them; because this is someone you love- and you want to keep them happy.
“If he thinks I’m fat then I probably am..”
“If she thinks my writing is annoying & fake then others probably do too..”
Before you know it, your gaslighter will have you doing exactly what they want- because they know your heart and your passion to please. They saw your spirit break when they said those torturous words to you. They saw how they hurt you. But they don’t care, because now.. they can use it to their benefit.
Gaslighters are easily isolating.
Now that your self esteem has taken a blow, all a gaslighter has to do is tell you what they think (and you’ll believe them). You’ll believe them because you believe that this person has your best interest at heart. You’ll believe them because they have made you feel so worthless before that you need their gratification to feel whole again.
They will isolate you from any and everyone you love and care about; especially those who threaten them. They will isolate you from anyone who may see them for who they are- and convince you of what they are, too. They will isolate you from powerful people who pose as good examples for you.
They will pull you away from any and everything you care about because your world is supposed to revolve around them, and when it doesn’t.. well, they will still make sure it does.
Gaslighters are wonderful deflectors.
Questioning their behavior? Feel like they are lying? Wondering if this person is abusive?
No, you are the problem. You are the sketchy one. You are the liar. You are the abuser. But are you?
No, you are not. But they will make sure you think you are. They will deflect from the real problem (them), while projecting a new problem on you. They will make you forget why you were mad at them, and suddenly.. they’re convincing you why somehow, in some way, this argument is your fault.
After a period of time, you won’t know which way is up and which is down. They will have told you otherwise anyways, and like always.. you will struggle to believe them.
See where this gets hard?
Gaslighters are fantastic flatterers.
They know how to flatter; not only you, but everyone outside the home as well. People at work usually love them, they are involved in activities, have friends, and your family will think they are just wonderful for you. They will flatter you and everyone around you to create this fantasy world that you are treated so well. They create this confusion for you, because now, they are saying nice things to you.. but before, they were degrading you.
Which do they really feel?
By being so fickle, they create even more insecurity inside you and leave you seeking further validation from them, and them alone. This is what they want, and they can obtain it relatively easily.
While they are flatterers to others as well, they still maintain a distance because they don’t want to blow their cover. People can’t know how they really are.. People can’t really see that their manipulative nature comes from insecurity.. People can’t ever think they are the source of the problem..
Gaslighters are continuous controllers.
Amongst all of this mess that consists of a gaslighter, it is important to remember the major thing that they all try to gain from these tactics:
Your gaslighter wants to have you right where they want you- and by lying, manipulating, degrading, isolating, deflecting, and flattering, they can very easily maintain this goal. As long as you don’t see their behavior; it works, without fail- every time.
Gaslighters function off the confusion and absolute mayhem they create for you- the hysteria that consumes your brain because while red flags are going off everywhere about this person, for some reason.. you believe it is your fault. You must be the reason they are treating you this way. Everyone will always treat you this way. You are the one who needs to fix the problem.
They begin to control your life simply by playing mind games. How heartbreaking and cruel is that? But it happens, and it happens to so many of you.
Since I wrote my first post about gaslighting, I have come to realize that a gaslighter can be anyone in any role or any position in your life; it isn’t always a spouse. It can be a close friend, parent, sibling, or even adult child.
It’s important to know that gaslighting is abuse, and you do not deserve it. It is surely hard to recognize and even harder to admit, but if you suspect someone in your life is intentionally inflicting this kind of mayhem on you- please, please consider that relationship to be toxic.
Gaslighting is a tactic that abusers use to keep you, manipulate you, and control you.. and by staying, you are showing them that what they are doing is working.. and that it is okay.
They will never change. It will never go away. It will only increase, become more intense, and you will lose yourself more and more until suddenly..
You aren’t you anymore.
And that is the most horrible, gut-wrenching thing that could happen.
Please, if you or someone you know suspect you may be victims of gaslighting, inform yourself. Ask questions. Seek resources and get help. Because you deserve so much better.