Do you ever leave a conversation feeling like you just got hit by a bus or you feel dizzy and confused? As if everything you know to be true has just been brought into question and, sometimes, even negated by someone else? Perhaps someone does this to you often: a partner, family member, boss, or friend? How does this make you feel?
Sometimes this manipulation is deliberate and used as a tool for controlling and manipulating people. It is used by some (if not all) abusers to dominate and degrade their victims. It makes the recipient question their reality, their memories, their sanity.
There is a name for this: gaslighting. From a 1938 stage play called Gas Light, in which the husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by periodically dimming the gas lights, the term describes the experience of many people.
While researching for the show, we had lots of “Aha!” moments about our own interactions, past and present, and realized that, although gaslighting is typically done deliberately, sometimes human beings speak without fully understanding how our words affect others and we unintentionally begin to dance the “Gaslight Tango” with people we love. We think it’s important to recognize the subtle ways that many of us manipulate without malice, but with very real consequences for those we are interacting with.
In this episode, we share the ways in which gaslighters manipulate and how to recognize the signs. We also discuss how you can begin to extricate yourself from an abusive, or potentially abusive, situation and begin to reclaim your power.
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Have you ever experienced gaslighting? What do think about this manipulation tactic? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.