Gaslighting: When our perception is controlled by others

Gaslighting - a condition that feels awful. If a friend or loved one has ever made you question your own sense of reality by intentionally downplaying or manipulating a situation, it is absolutely horrible. Gaslighting is not just manipulation, it goes the way of emotional violence and emotional abuse. It is a type of covert bullying. The gaslighter tries to unsettle the gaslightee and convince them that their view, behavior or motives are wrong and unacceptable. The consequence: we feel unseen, unheard, and begin to believe that we are not in our right minds, despite our best instincts, keen intuition, and personal experience. And what's even more dangerous? Doing it to ourselves.
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It's often not easy to embrace your own feelings and emotions, but being honest with yourself is a critical start to understanding boundaries, setting them, loving yourself, and equipping yourself for personal growth. The American Sociological Association's research explains why gaslighting is primarily a sociological rather than psychological phenomenon. 

Deep self-care that no one talks about starts at the point where we not only take the time to listen to how we feel emotionally in our bodies, but also begin to feel and take seriously physical signals in certain situations. So what does this kind of self-manipulation look like?

10 Signs we're misleading ourselves:

1. Devaluation of one's own feelings

Experiencing a feeling is real. Every feeling in us, no matter what triggers it, exists and is valid. To devalue it, for example, by telling ourselves that it is wrong, even stupid, to be sad or angry, distorts our own human experience. Our feeling is not "wrong" just because it is different from someone else's.

2. Thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with us

Feeling that there is something wrong with us just because we are not super rich, a top model, or married to the person of our dreams is highly self-defeating and degrades our loving self-acceptance, which is what allows us to develop strengths or heal old wounds in the first place.

3. Ignore Intuition


If you ever have a bad feeling about someone, a situation, or a place, and ignore that powerful inner voice because you may feel you are too closed off or need to please someone, you could end up getting very hurt. Listen to what your gut tells you - it's okay to trust yourself.

4. Gas lighting is also finding excuses for the bad behavior of others


We've all had encounters and people in our lives that have hurt us repeatedly. Also in the workplace gaslighting exists. But we tend to downplay it to others by making excuses for them or even blaming us for their behavior. We assume that the problem is actually with us instead of recognizing that the person in question is probably a selfish player.

5. Gaslighting can also cause downplaying our own thoughts and feelings


If we consider ourselves too sensitive or even too stupid, we limit and override our freedom of expression and judgment based on our own life experience. Our own personality development is damaged.

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6. Doubting our own abilities


When we say things like "She's awesome, but I could never do that," we limit our abilities and sell ourselves short. Practice being your own hero. Selfcare is the key here and distancing from the toxic person as much as possible even if it's just for an hour. 

7. Doubt your own memories


We often allow someone else's memory to shape our own, rather than believing and holding onto our own account.

8. constantly comparing ourselves with others

We all do it, and in the age of social media, it's almost impossible not to. We need to get in the habit of loving the unique parts of ourselves - the very parts that make us who we are - instead of hating the parts of ourselves that are different than someone else's. We are all admirable in our own way.

9. Constantly blaming yourself


Self-awareness is essential. Constantly blaming yourself for everything is not a productive way to build, change and develop yourself. More self-acceptance, less blaming - this clarifies the view of your own personality and supports inner growth.

10. Feeling guilty when you need help


If you're unable to ask for help without feeling guilty or feeling like you're massively inconveniencing someone, that's a surefire way to get in your own way and manipulate not getting the support you need. The truth is, we all need each other and it's okay to ask for help.

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"If we believe in our strength, we become stronger every day." Mahatma Gandhi

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