Gas Lighting – Something, everyone should know about. Are you a Victim Too ?

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For almost my entire life, I felt as though I couldn’t trust my own memory.

If something happened that upset me, hurt me, or angered me, my reaction was often met with some variation of “That didn’t happen! I never said that! You’re overreacting!”

I would think to myself, “Am I making this up, am I creating this hurt, am I fabricating this anger?”

Parents and partners alike would deny my experiences, washing away painful memories as if I had simply painted them for my own amusement. 

I started to think that maybe I really was “too sensitive,” that I really was overreacting, being unfair, blaming others for something that was happening inside of me.

And that’s a confusing, frustrating, and even dangerous place to be.

Because after years of being told that your memory is not reliable, you begin to depend on what others say truly happened. Nearly every time I felt angry or hurt, it was the person angering or hurting me that I believed had the “real” knowledge of what had transpired. 




And even in the moments when I began to believe myself, I’d feel a pulling in my brain: “You’re hurt—no, you’re just imagining things” or “You’re angry—no, you’re just too sensitive.” This tension nearly pulled me apart.

But one day, I pushed back.

I had gotten into a huge argument with a family member. As per usual, this family member entered my home making homophobic comments as hellos, which then escalated to a full-blown argument.

It was me against Fox News and her mouth, and it ended with both of us leaving angry – and me spending Christmas with someone else’s family.

When this argument ended, I was told I was the instigator (even though I remembered simply reacting); I was told I was the one who was being hurtful (even though I remembered being hurt the moment the conversation began). Suddenly the world shifted, and again what I remembered seemed to be only in my own head.

But I caught it this time. So I stood my ground – and eventually, those who told me I was the instigator admitted I had actually been the victim.

Later that night, when I called my partner to vent about what had happened (and to let them know I would be spending Christmas at their place), they stopped me mid-conversation and asked: “Do you know what gaslighting is?”




And that changed everything.

Wait—So What Is Gaslighting?

In short, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse “in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.”

Essentially, gaslighting is a tactic used to destabilize your understanding of reality, making you constantly doubt your own experiences.

Most of the time, this tactic is used to further uneven power balances with abusive partners, making you second guess yourself when you feel as if you are being abused or attacked.

Even if a relationship seems otherwise non-abusive, gaslighting is emotional and mental violence. This process in and of itself is toxic and unhealthy, regardless of whether there are other abusive behaviors taking place within the relationship.




19 COMMENTS

    • In what I experienced growing up. This would not have helped. My mother would say that's not true. Even though I called her out on something while it was happening. I was told that I just didn't understand what was happening, or I was being too sensitive or she denied what she was doing. No I'm not she'd say. The truth never mattered. It was very confidence shattering.

  1. I've always been told by my abusive mother that I remembered everything all wrong, that I was the problem not her. She was horribly mentally and emotionally abusive to me. I hate her. I wish she'd die. My family members have told me that I'm not crazy, it was the talk of the family. Her own sister wanted me to know, when she died, how sorry she was for the way I was treated.

  2. Omg, thank you so much for this article! I can completely relate to this, I went through this myself and it was always blamed on my Bipolar disorder, I'm only learning now to know it wasn't my fault & I can trust my own judgement, I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone , it's soul destroying !