Families are a tricky business. Some share extreme love and close bonds, while others cannot wait to get rid of their family obligations. And in this spectrum of family dynamics, lies a toxic family trait which believes in gaslighting.
First, what is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It centers around making people challenge their version of reality. A manipulation tactic, gaslighting involves making false realities, misguiding the victim, and making them question their sanity.
While no form of abuse is ever pleasant, but gaslighting takes extreme toll on one’s well-being. Imagine being put in a place where no one believes you, and even you start to doubt yourself.
Often, people who gaslight others suffer from mental health disorders that require treatment from a psychiatrist in Hameed Latif Hospital. However, this should not be used as a form of stigma against people with mental health issues; anyone can gaslight others; evilness does not discriminate.
What are the common forms of gaslighting in families?
Whether it is the family that you were born into, or the family you married into, you can be gaslighted anywhere. Unfortunately, not many people are able to identify that they are being gaslighted. A lack of a name to what they are experiencing makes their state even worse.
Therefore, it is very important to identify the salient signs of gaslighting in the family. These include:
Justification of abusive behavior
A form of gaslighting it to pass abusive, mean, and rude comments, and then to shrug them off as jokes. This invalidates your feelings and gives the impression that you are being oversensitive. There is also no room left for you to feel upset then. Even if people know what happened was not merely a joke, there is still little to no effort regarding making a change.
Another way gaslighting is common in families is by lying to you, but when in public, they conveniently tend to change their stance. It not only works in discrediting you, but you yourself become unsure of what the truth is.
Not allowing change
A tactic that many people can relate to but do not attribute to gaslighting is not allowing change. Families will go to any lengths to maintain the status quo, as it helps in preserving the order of abuse. Some themes of gaslighting include making you think you cannot do things that do not align with your family’s values, making you doubt your talent, etc.
Not allowing harmony within the family
To ensure that the family system stays the way it is, gaslighting is used to prevent families getting together. For example, one child will be rallied against the other, using gaslighting as the manipulative tool.
What to do about gaslighting in the family?
If you can relate to the varied and subtle ways gaslighting tends to operate within families, there are things you can do to protect yourself from its impact.
Some helpful things to do include:
Work on building your faith in your abilities and your cognition so you learn to trust yourself. It helps in prevention of the systematic erosion of your version of reality.
Moreover, even if others do not believe you, at least you know that you are not imaging things.
As a form of evidence for yourself and others, it helps to document yourself. You can maintain a log of what happened, so in case you fault your memory, at least you have things written down. If there are, keep the messages and emails preserved to serve as evidence.
Confronting might not be helpful
Confronting is helpful when you know the other person is sincere with you. But with people who gaslight and are experts at manipulation, confrontation may even harm you. So, do not randomly confront them, but have a proper gameplan with evidence when you do.
Get professional help
Never underestimate the impact of emotional abuse and manipulation like gaslighting. It wreaks havoc on one’s mental health. So, if you think you need it, do not hesitate in getting professional help by contacting the best Psychiatrist in Islamabad.