We hear a lot of different terms and phrased everyday, and they just become a normal part of our vernacular. Over time, you’ll more or less know what a word of phrase means because you have context clues of hearing it over and over for years, but are you able to explain what it means? In the case of the phrase ‘gaslighting’, you’ve probably heard it plenty of times in recent months and years, but what does gaslighting mean and what does it mean when someone is gaslighting you? We’re here to help you understand this dark mind control technique in order to help yourself avoid having it used on you.
Gaslighting is often used as a form of mental or emotional abuse, and it can be a form of mind control. Gaslighting, at its core, is when somebody is taking steps to cause somebody else to question their own sanity.
When somebody starts to question their own sanity, they become more susceptible to mind control, or being manipulated, or not realizing that they are a victim of abuse. Obviously, you want to avoid having people use this dark mind control technique on you, and you should be very mindful to avoid using this technique on other people in your life. Sometimes, you could be gaslighting someone without even realizing it.
Examples of Gaslighting and What It Means
The most common example of gaslighting that you’ll hear people use to illustrate this a form of abuse where one person will simply move or displace another person’s belongings, day after day. The victim will think, “I could swear that I put my keys down next to the phone,” but the other person is moving their keys into their drawer. The victim has no idea anyone moved their keys, so even when they start taking mental note of where they put their keys, they’ll still find their keys in their drawer, and they’ll start to doubt their own sanity because the reality they can see with their own two eyes is different than what they’re remembering in their head.
How To Stop Getting Gaslit
If you think you’re a victim of gaslighting, it’s going to take all of your mental strength to overcome this, but you can do it. According to an in-depth piece published by Vox, “The antidote to gaslighting is greater emotional awareness and self-regulation — both the knowledge and the practice.
Using these emotional skills, gaslightees come to learn (or accept if they already knew and were caused to forget) that they don’t actually need anyone else to validate their reality, thereby building self-reliance and confidence in defining their own reality.
They will also learn that is possible to manage those uncomfortable feelings of standing in their own certainty in opposition to a gaslighter. This can be especially challenging if the gaslightee is a victim of abuse and requires a significant shift in mindset and skills through therapy.” (source)
Final Thoughts: What Does it Mean When Someone is Gaslighting You?
It means that you’re in a bad situation.
It means that you need to overcome this mental and emotional abuse.
The person doing this to you may or may not be cognizant about what they’re doing, but either way, they’re still doing it. Whether it’s something they do on purpose, or something that’s built into their personality, it’s still a bad, bad situation.
But you can get out of it.
Many victims of gaslighting have escaped.
It’s a process. You have to believe in yourself, you have to learn not to doubt yourself, and you have to make sure that you get away safely and once you’re gone, it has to be a clean break.
Taking notes can help, like “June 23rd, 3:50pm, I put my keys on top of my desk.”
Keep that note with you, and when you see that your keys have moved, you can look at the note and remember that you felt perfectly fine while writing it, and that it’s true.