Gaslighting: Playing the toxic cards

Gaslighting : Playing the toxic cards

Have you ever felt so doubtful of yourself !? and stuck in the constant seeking of reassurance from the people around !? 

Feeling guilt for not a mistake of yours!? 

You have absolutely no idea if you really are insane!? And constantly questioning your sanity, beliefs, emotions, decisions etc.,!!? 

You can now recall the moments, when many of your loved ones told you that, you change not for your own good!? 

Then you were in constant need of assertion for everything you do as if anything you do is going to be a mess!!!         

                            Well, if you’ve gone through any of the above phenomenon, after an encounter with a new person or frequent, close interaction with a known person, yes!! You were there! You were gaslighted! By this time, you got to feel that in your gut, what’s ‘gaslighting’, and for sure you know that,  there’s no element of ‘ light’ in  ‘gaslighting’, it’s really dark, so dark that it is no less than a drug overdosed.  

                     Now, let’s dive into the research-based evidence of  ‘gaslighting ‘ and the nuances involved. 

Gaslighting can encounter you in any form. 

Be it a co-worker or boss doubting your performance, be it your significant other questioning your desirability as the partner, making you doubt if you really are careless and not paying heed to them enough, be it your high school teacher undermining your mettle as a decent performer in academia, it could be your childhood friend, complaining that you can’t take a joke, and you are too emotional, and none the less it, unfortunately, could be your parents, siblings or a close relative questioning your sanity and decisions. So, now that it’s clear that anybody can gaslight anybody! Just accept the fact. 

I know,  you are now curious about how it really sounds!! just get on! Recall some of the phrases you received, and let’s check , if they match with the most popular, research-based ‘gaslighting phrases ‘ ever. 

Come on! You are way too dramatic

You should reconsider your project and in fact this profession itself. 

You should be patient enough

I never said that, I never did that

I didn’t remember saying so

You are not feminine enough

You are reckless

‘You are assuming all the stuff, you are magnifying everything, not a big deal’

You need a therapy’

‘You are too emotional’

‘Sorry if you feel so’, and the list goes on as the gaslighter wants it to be.  

                 Disagreeing is okay, it’s not hatred after all. We all have differences of opinions and perceptions, but gaslighting is not mere expression of opinion, its absolute despise of the receiver’s state of mind, and not taking responsibility for the undesirable consequences of a gaslighter’s actions. absolute denial is not good for any human interactions. When called out on their unacceptable behaviour, the gaslighter can go to the next level of manipulation. 

And with empirical data and evidence shown, the sorry of a gaslighter often goes out conditionally, metaphorically they consider their ‘sorry’, as a precious princess so can’t send the sorry out with Z+ security ‘if’. Gaslighting is often intentional, even if it’s involuntary and they are unaware of the manipulation, the toll it takes on the receiver’s psychological well-being and the toxic impact it creates remains unchanged in its intensity. 

You may feel like your boundaries are porous and you are not confident enough are the reasons why someone could fatally gaslight you. If yes! Calm down! You are not alone in feeling so. But it’s not true. 

In fact, a 2013-based study on ‘psychological manipulation’ at Yale University backed up the fact that, ‘ the most charming, confident, leader-like personalities, who go out to rescue others are more prone to gaslighting’ by their close acquaintances. The reason for this is people who are empathetic and sensible give others the time and space and empathize with others, which in turn makes these worthy persons vulnerable to gaslighting. 

So, what really matters is, that we should be deeply aware of the phenomenon, in order not to play their toxic cards the next time we encounter such. You’ve already suffered enough from the gaslighter’s apathy towards you, now play the cards to your favour and know their number, be empathetic with yourself own self, as you empathize with others. 

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Author:  K. Chandini, mechanical engineering graduate, passionate about psychology and people. Avid reader, Green lover, Happiness addict from Srikakulam, A. P.

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