As you know I’ve been reading more about Gaslighting lately and have come to learn that true Gaslighting is a type of communication that is done with the intent to create confusion and self doubt so the gaslighter can gain power or mastery over another, with the intent to wield power and control. Basically, what this means is that having this sense of power while destroying another individual gives them a “high” of some sort. Emotionally beating you down feeds their own fragile ego and insecurities. In the world of narcissism, it’s called being their ‘supply’. They need your submission and lack of confidence to “prove” their superiority over you.
Now I cannot read another person’s heart and I am careful about imputing wrong motives in an individual. However, I do know my own physiological response to various words and phrases that were said to me while growing up.
Here are some of the things that were said:
Oh, I didn’t say that!
Why would I say something like that?
Stop your whining.
Quit your whining.
It wasn’t that bad. S
top your complaining or belly aching.
You always make a big deal out of nothing.
You’re making a big deal out of nothing.
I said nothing of the kind.
Here we go again!
You’ve got it all wrong.
How could you think I’d do such a thing?
I never said that!
You’re such a baby.
You need to toughen up.
You’re too sensitive.
Oh, for Pete’s sake.
You’re blowing this out of proportion.
You’re just trying to get attention.
Your perspective is all skewed.
That’s not how I remember it.
These words still…. I can feel a sensation go up and down my spine when I recall some of these being said. Definitely a visceral response I have.
Now were these said to me purposely so that I doubt myself, so that I think that I am losing my perspective- that my experiences are not “right”? So that someone could have control over me/my thoughts, etc? Or were they said to me because the other person was in their own denial and or didn’t want to be held accountable for what they did? Or that they lacked emotional intelligence, or in such a state of disconnect that there is little or no empathy or compassion? Regardless of the reason why – the key is – the pain inflicted on the receiver is what causes trauma.
Trauma is not the event, it is the wounding that stems from the event or circumstance. As Gabor Mate says: Trauma isn’t what happened to you, it’s what happens INSIDE of you because of what happened to you.
Do you find saying these words to yourself – you may be gaslighting yourself.
In other families or relationships victims of emotional abuse have heard the above and or the following and more:
I can’t stand the sight of you!
I wish you were never born.
If it wasn’t for you, I’d have ……..
I’m stuck here because of you!
Just be glad that I didn’t give you away!
I criticize you because I love you.
I am not arguing, I am discussing this with you…
You are crazy.
You’re such a loser.
You owe me.
You’re costing me money, raising you.
Reading this may be upsetting or triggering to you – so please pause and take a breath.
So what do you think? Have you experienced Gaslighting or would you call it Emotional Abuse? Either way – you may have noticed that it’s created a lot of self doubt, second guessing, insecurities, hesitancy, lack of confidence, an inner critic and other emotional or psychological challenges.
And that’s OK – it doesn’t mean that your bad or that you’ll never be able to heal from these wounds. Now is not the time to judge yourself harshly. What happened to you IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
Healing starts with awareness.
There is hope. We can work through this together.
As a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach I offer 20-minute Discovery sessions if / when you are ready to move forward and are committed to your own trauma recovery process.
My name is Lisa Hilton and I am the founder and CEO of Hilton Coaching & Consulting. I coach, educate, consult. I work with adult survivors of childhood trauma and those suffering from Complex PTSD so they can Transform their Travesty into Triumph one step at a time.