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Am I Crazy? Or Is This Gaslighting? 

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse or psychological manipulation in which the aggressor will convince the victim that they are crazy in order to get their way. The term “gaslighting” was coined by Patrick Hamilton in his 1938 play, Gas Light. In the play, a husband manipulates a wife into thinking she’s crazy in order to continue to steal money and goods. Part of his efforts includes his playing with a gas-lit lamp to make it flicker. 

In recent years, gaslighting was brought up in politics with verifiable facts being called fake. Many people also believed verifiable facts to be considered an overreaction. Read on for common gaslighting situations, and how to call out gaslighting when it happens.

Gaslighting at Home

Much like in the play, there is a lot of potential for gaslighting at home. While harmless pranks are okay within the home (with consent), true gaslighting is a problematic form of abuse, as no person should be made to feel like they are crazy for what they see happening around them. Common phrases and events that can be seen as gaslighting include:

  • “You don’t actually think that. That’s crazy.”
  • “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but this would never happen.”
  • “Stop overreacting.”
  • “You’re just too emotional.” 
  • “Stop taking things so seriously.”
  • Making threats when not believing a lie
  • Bringing up past stories where you were wrong and applying the past to current situations
  • Constant talk about how exes, friends, or anyone in general who they do not agree with are “crazy” and that, by association, you are crazy for agreeing with them
  • Belittling your efforts or disregarding requests
  • Making claims like, “they know you” and “this isn’t you” to ask why you are confronting them

Gaslighting at Work, School, or Life

All professions can see forms of gaslighting for different areas. Although work colleagues have human resources to keep things cordial, gaslighting is sneaky in its passive-aggressive nature. Gaslighting can be used in many ways. Some common phrases and scenarios where gaslighting is seen at work, school, or life include:

  • “Wow, you can’t take a joke.”
  • “You’re misconstruing my intentions.”
  • “That’s fake news.”
  • Belittling efforts or concerns in order to deny a request, despite evidence
  • Lying about people being “crazy” or “lying for no reason” about work done or not done
  • Swift action to undermine someone or throw them under the bus in front of superiors
  • Constantly bring up past mistakes or misjudgments as evidence against a current viable opinion
  • Disrespect for professional opinions
  • Disrespect for a person’s time or believing that their time is more valuable than yours 
  • Accusations of overreacting to evidence or “making things a big deal” 
  • Claims that you are making things up or exaggerating 
  • Claims that concerns you have regarding work or school are due to your own “insecurity”
  • A doctor blowing off a patient’s concerns, or telling a patient that they are exaggerating or not actually having symptoms or pain

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Gaslighting

Unfortunately, gaslighting is a form of manipulation that is not always easy to catch and may have long-term consequences if not dealt with. Gaslighting victims may feel frustrated, confused, upset, or embarrassed. It is hurtful to be gaslit, and even more hurtful to find out that the feelings of being crazy were due to a manipulative act by a trusted individual. Here are a few common phrases to help identify gaslighting and put an end to a gaslighting confrontation:

  • “I’m not crazy, and when you’re ready to have a real conversation you can come back to talk to me. Right now I need space.”
  • “I know you’re lying right now because I have evidence. Until you’re ready to speak truthfully, we can’t continue this conversation.” Proceed to lay out the evidence if they can’t accept this.
  • “I don’t appreciate when you insinuate that I’m crazy or too emotional when I call out your poor behaviors. Your actions have consequences too.”
  • “I’m going to ask a human resources representative to be present during our future interactions and meetings until we’re able to work together with mutual respect and equal dignity.”
  • “This is real, and I have the evidence here. You’re going to have to accept these facts or accept the consequences. I can’t continue this conversation with you.” 
  • “I’m not feeling that you have the same mutual respect for my thoughts and ideas as I’ve had for yours. I’m asking you to change this, as we need to work together here.”
  • “I don’t appreciate your condescending tone. Please stop.”
  • “When you say things like this, it’s called gaslighting. I’m asking you to stop trying to gaslight or manipulate me.”
  • “I don’t feel you’re actively hearing my concerns. I’ll be getting a second opinion.” 

Gaslighting individuals will not like being called out, and a simple phrase may be all it takes to get their behavior to change. If a person turns violent, leave the situation and call authorities immediately. 

Gaslighting is a form of emotional and psychological manipulation in which a person makes another person doubt the validity of their senses, experiences, and feelings. This can make a person feel like they are “crazy” and is abusive.

If you’re struggling with your mental health or addiction issues due to the effects of gaslighting, give us a call at RECO Intensive. At RECO Intensive, we understand that emotional abuse is real and it can take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health. It’s not fair that you’re experiencing this, and with the help of our professional staff and experienced alumni, we can help you come out of treatment a stronger, healthier person. Here at RECO Intensive, we offer a myriad of therapies and treatments for addiction, mental health, and even sober living facilities for after-care. You deserve to be believed and your feelings are important. Call us today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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