Recognizing gaslighting(DW# 787)

Here are some more uncomfortable truths about gaslighting:
The gaslighter is typically a man and the gaslightee is typically a woman.
Why? In part because women are generally socialized to take the responsibility for making relationships work. If their partners are upset with them, they will often doubt themselves and continually apologize for disagreeing or upsetting their spouses. Men generally do not get this message when growing up.
Also, gaslighting is most likely to happen when you bring up issues of conflict or disagreement. Typical triggers that create a stressful environment that can lead to gaslighting include topics such as money, sex, secrecy around other relationships or finances, successful careers which cause the other to feel insecure, families of origin, or habits you came into the relationship with.
Given that the process of gaslighting often results in the person second guessing their own sense of reality, it is important that we recognize when we are the targets of gaslighting.
Here is what it can sound like:
You are overreacting
This is in your head
You are imagining things
You are your own worst enemy
Just calm down
Why are you sensitive
You have always been oversensitive
I never said that/did that
I don’t know what you are talking about
Stop imagining things
I was just joking
You are remembering things wrong
It’s always something with you
You are impossible to please
You should learn to appreciate me – look what I do for you
You are being dramatic
You are upset over nothing
You must be confused again
You have a habit of twisting things to make me look bad
You need help
I don’t need help but you should go ahead as you clearly need it
You have a really bad memory. Hasn’t that already been established?
You are always reacting negatively
Why must you always bring up negative things to spoil my mood?
You have an overactive imagination
You have always been suspicious for nothing
You know that’s just because you are so insecure.
Stop acting crazy.
You sound crazy, you know that, don’t you?
There you go again; you are so ungrateful.
You love to pick fights for nothing
A one off statement such as the above may hurt but it does not turn a person into a gaslighter. However, when such statements are made each time you bring up an issue of conflict or disagreement to the extent that you learn to silence yourself to keep your dignity and to stop being attacked, is a big sign that you might in fact, be the target of gaslighting.
Tomorrow let us discuss how to cope when you are the victim of gaslighting.

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