Are you Gaslighting Yourself? A Common Response to Emotional Abuse.
Gaslighting is a term used to describe a form of psychological manipulation when one person causes another to doubt their perception of reality. Gaslighting is used to gain control and power over another person and causes confusion, doubt, and anxiety.
Examples of gaslighting include:
Lying, dismissing, invalidating, insisting someone’s memory is wrong, blaming the victim, questioning credibility, denying facts and evidence, scapegoating, coercing, and labeling as crazy.
What is Self-Gaslighting?
Self-gaslighting occurs when an individual manipulates and argues with their own emotions, thoughts, and perceptions.
Examples of self-gaslighting include:
- Telling yourself you’re overreacting.
- Convincing yourself abuse or trauma didn’t happen.
- Convincing yourself your memory is wrong.
- Frequently thinking you’re “making things up”.
- Questioning and second guessing your decisions.
- Excusing others’ bad behavior.
- Invalidating your feelings.
- Arguing with yourself.
- Internally criticizing yourself.
- Blaming yourself.
Why Would Someone Self-Gaslight?
Someone who has been emotionally abused by a caregiver or partner may self-gaslight. Self-gaslighting develops as a form of protection against re-victimization or further abuse.
A child criticizes himself to correct behaviors that could cause a parent’s anger.
A woman convinces herself her emotions aren’t valid to avoid further conflict with her partner.
Individuals who self-gaslight struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Self-gaslighting can become second nature for some, making it difficult to differentiate true thoughts and feelings from the gaslighting thoughts.
How to Minimize Self-Gaslighting
Recognize it: Increasing awareness of self-gaslighting helps separate true feelings and thoughts from gaslighting ones.
Be compassionate: Self-gaslighting is a coping skill to protect from further emotional abuse. Practice compassion and appreciation for why you self-gaslight and remember it served a purpose at one point.
Journaling: Self-gaslighting causes severe doubt and confusion. Keep a journal documenting facts and events to build confidence in your memory.
Seek counseling: Therapy can help you recognize self-gaslighting and learn tools to minimize its effects.
Get Started with Psychotherapy for Emotional Abuse
I specialize in therapy for emotional abuse recovery. Many of my clients use self-gaslighting as a subconscious tool to cope with emotional abuse. Contact me to learn more about self-gaslighting and how therapy can help.
Online Locations: Nashville, Tennessee – Brentwood, Tennessee – Atlanta, Georgia – Sandy Springs, Georgia – Greater Tennessee and Georgia Area