What is gaslighting?

Hello everyone! :wave:t2:

Today I want to talk about gaslighting. For those that are curious, gaslighting is a continuous manipulation on someone that causes the person to doubt themselves, and to lose their sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. The person doing the gaslighting typically uses statements and accusations that are blatant lies, or exaggeration of the truth. However, gaslighting is not someone…

  • disagreeing with you or having a different opinion from you
  • viewing a situation differently than you, especially due to their past experiences influencing their perception
  • telling you that you hurt their feelings or offended them, even though you did not realize you had done so or disagree with them
  • forgetting they told you something or having a poor memory due to stress, sleep deprivation, or mental health issues

And, below is a list of gaslighting statements along with what it sounds like translated and how the person can try to counter its effects:

“That’s not what happened.”
Translation: “Your experience is invalid.”
Counter: “I’m the one who decides my own experience.”

“You’re too sensitive.”
Translation: “Rather than take responsibility for my own behaviour, I’m going to distract you by putting you on the defensive.”
Counter: “Lack of sensitivity is the issue here.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”
Translation: “By minimizing the event, I absolve myself of responsibility.”
Counter: “Minimizing my experience doesn’t solve the problem.”

“I don’t understand why you’re upset.”
Translation: “I refuse to have empathy for you.”
Counter: “The first step in understanding is to accept that my experience is valid.”

Do share what you think about gaslighting, and feel free to share any questions that you might have about it too! :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks @BKT for this post. As a child, I had an introverted personality in that I wasn’t quick to socialise and was often deemed to be sensitive when given negative remarks. I was also often told to change my attitude towards life simply bcos refusing to leave my comfort zone would cause me to be disadvantaged.

Over the years, I feel that my personality has changed from being introverted to extroverted. I do not feel shy to initiate conversations with new faces and am rather open to improvising based on negative comments. I even scored well for my oral exams in secondary school and scored As and distinctions for communication modules in poly. Moreover, I had a largely positive experience during my final year Internship programme. I feel that they are useful validations with regards to my ability to socialise within the “real-world context”.

However, I feel my family members are not able to outgrow the negative impression that they have with respect to my social skills cos they often tend to claim that I am too sensitive to negative remarks and tend to validate my experiences by comparing with their experiences.

I understand that this may be due to the fact that my paternal relatives are prone to suffer from superiority complex .this is because since young my father, my aunt and my grandmother have encountered large phases of uncertainty which I suspect has caused them to develop this complex overtime.

After reading your post, I feel that I am able to relate to it. It also makes me wonder if gaslighting is a symptom of superiority complex. :thinking:

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