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  • Are you Gaslighting Yourself? A Common Response to Emotional Abuse.

    Emotional AbuseGaslighting occurs when one person psychologically manipulates another person, causing that person to doubt their perception of reality. Gaslighting is used to gain control and power over another person and creates 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. 

    Self-gaslighting occurs when an individual manipulates and argues with their own emotions, thoughts, and perceptions, making themselves doubt their reality.

    Examples of Self-Gaslighting:

    • Telling yourself you’re overreacting.
    • Convincing yourself that 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?

    If you have been emotionally abused by a caregiver or partner, you may have a tendency to self-gaslight. Self-gaslighting develops as a form of protection against re-victimization or further abuse. For example:

    A child learns to criticize himself to correct behaviors that could cause a parent’s anger.

    A woman tells herself she’s being dramatic 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 your awareness of self-gaslighting will help you 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 for you 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 the abuse they experienced. 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

    Request a Therapy Appointment!