Since the term “Gaslight” was derived from a 1938 British stage play which later went on to become a feature film, I thought I would give this piece a quirky and comical title and spoof the utterly horrific act of “Gaslighting.” I don’t remember exactly the first time I actually heard the word, but I am confident it was from one of my therapists or Life Coaches—because yes, there have been a few due to the fact I have been so heavily Gaslighted the majority of my life! The term perfectly illustrates how someone else (usually a narcissist) creates a false illusion of one’s own reality. When I was experiencing it, the full understanding of Gaslighting was not in the realm of my warped mental self-awareness. At the time, I actually believed the nonsense that the Gaslighters in my life wanted me to believe. With the help I received, the TRUTH cut through their illusion—and when it dawned on me, the first thing I felt was, “So I am not crazy, or wrong, or bad, or whatever the heck it is you’ve been telling me for all these years!” If you’re in that space now, have been, or are wondering if there’s a spectrum to Gaslighting (the answer is yes!), here are some frequently used tactics:
- Withholding truth
- Discounting facts
- Countering valid reasons
- Trivializing feelings and opinions
- Blocking or Diverting you in order to impose their way or version of events
Here is the thing: if you live on planet Earth, then at some point and time in your life you’ve had the VIP pass to encountering Gaslighting. Maybe it was brief. In fact, so brief you were completely oblivious to it, or maybe like me you endured it tragically the majority of your life without having a clue as to how destructive it was. Or maybe you experienced it and immediately knew something wasn’t quite right, and you found the tools and footing you needed to address it swiftly. My guess is it’s a mix of all of the above. But for a word and a term I heard years and years ago that didn’t quite stick, I’ve become a black belt in Gaslighting detection and you can too. Truth extinguishers unite!
A key question to get familiar with is, “Does the Gaslighter seek your weaknesses to play off of?” I believe they do. They pinpoint those target areas where we have wounding, insecurities, sensitivity, whatever we expose about ourselves in vulnerable moments and they feed off of it to experience their own false empowerment. It’s like a drug for them. I like to call this the mirroring effect. Those who can’t look at their own issues need to create them in other people in order to feel better about themselves. In desperation for their own internal euphoric hit of ok-ness, they go down the rabbit hole of ways to convince someone else how not ok they are. Ick. Just straight up ick. We are all way too familiar with this.
But here is some great news. There are steps you can take to protect yourself:
1) Write down what happens with a person that you believe is Gaslighting you in a journal
ASAP. This documents exactly what was said and you have a clear record to support your sanity.
2) Keep exchanges strictly to email or text so you have documentation of the correspondence.
3) Talk to someone else you can trust about what is happening and get their outside perspective. It is so important that you know you are not alone and feel supported.
4) Establish firm boundaries with the Gaslighter in order to create safety for yourself. When they disrespect or ignore your boundaries, disengage completely (abort ship).
But here is the greatest news. The Gaslighter has actually given you a precious gift. They’ve served up a primo opportunity for you to step fully into your power. Once you can see clearly what you are encountering, it is the moment you meet yourself in a place of divine truth and strength. No one can take that from you unless you let them. A Gaslighter would love nothing more than to drain every ounce of your Light in order to fuel their hollow crevices. So by standing in your truth and power, you not only reclaim yourself but you ignite an opportunity for another human being to find that in themselves. How amazing is that? That doesn’t mean that the other person will do the self-reflective work, but it’s still honoring yourself in the best possible way. That is how we show up for ourselves, grow, evolve and heal.
When you look back on past relationships, be it friendship, romantic, or professional, can you identify when or where someone was Gaslighting you? If you couldn’t or didn’t at the time, can you now? What key tools would you utilize to protect yourself most?
I’ll be appearing on the Almanac’s IGTV today to remind you that there is only one you, and that you are a divine being of light and love! Come join in the discussion with me and other fellow truth warriors!
Jessica Johnson is an Intuitive Life Coach offering psychic/mediumship readings, instructions on how to connect with your guides, manifestation exercises/groups, and creating sacred spaces in your home or office. Find her on IG @jess_m_johnson or visit liferedesignedbyjj.com