What is Gaslighting? | Kati Morton on mental health | Kati Morton
Hey, everybody. Thanks for checking back. So today we’re going to talk about gaslighting. What is it? How do we know if it’s happening to us and what can we do to heal afterwards? Firstly, I want to start by defining what gaslighting is. If you haven’t heard that term before it comes from a movie Gaslight that came out a long time ago. Where a guy was manipulative to a woman in order to get some jewels, I think. But either way that’s where that term came from, that’s why we have it today. But what gaslighting is is a form of manipulation. The reason that someone will even gaslight someone else is because they want to manipulate them and make them question their perception, their sanity and even their memory. Sociopaths of Narcissists are known to use gaslighting in ways to get their needs met and you can see why if you want more information on those two diagnoses you can click the links in the description. I’ll put them down there. But the reasons that people who struggle with those different diagnoses use it is because [a] Sociopath will use it to gain something. They will want to control you or change your perception in order to get what they want. If you remember people who are sociopaths can be extremely charming and they can be really friendly and make us want to trust them and so they’ll use that to their advantage and make us question our memory our perception and even our sanity. And Narcissists would you use it in a different type of way where they would use it to make us depend on them So they would make us think that maybe we just have a terrible memory Maybe I’m going crazy. Something is wrong because I swore that happen that way. And therefore we will rely on them to make more choices and do things for us, because we’re just not sure what’s going on with us. And interestingly enough: this is even something that can happen in therapy. And as a therapist we have to be hyper aware of it because when we’re challenging a Client’s faulty thinking. That’s what we call it when the client will have a thought about something about themselves or a memory where it’s just not quite serving them or it’s very negatively focused on them. Or maybe it’s a memory that they’re confusing because it’s a trauma memory. Do you remember when I talked about this with Alexa? Like trauma memories are like marbles that explode like they splinter and they’re fragmented all over the place. Because of that people may have memories that don’t fit into the file that they’re in. Like that part of the memory isn’t a part of the rest of that memory. That belongs over here. And so when we’re working with clients to try to put cohesive narratives together to heal from a trauma or to retell a story we have to be really careful how we go about it. So that we’re not causing them to be gaslighted. We’re not making them wonder if their perception is off or if they have a bad memory or if they’re just going crazy. As a therapist this was really interesting to me, make sure that you’re super cognizant of it and being very careful with how we challenged those faulty thoughts and memories. And the reason that this is so important in therapy is because the whole goal of therapy is to empower our patients and to get them to do things on their own and feel better about themselves. And so that’s just another reason why we need to be really careful. Now moving into how to know if you are being gaslighted and as always I have my notes so I don’t lose track, and I wrote down five. And I’m sure there are more. But these are the most common signs that you are in pretty much an emotionally abusive relationship And they’re being gaslighted and the first is you always second-guess yourself And you can see why that I put that as number one, because if someone’s telling us the way that we remember things, the way things happened is simply not true. We’re definitely going to second-guess ourselves and wonder if what we’re doing, and the choices we’re making and the things that we’re thinking are even correct at all. And if we should be even in a position to make decisions in the first place. And the second way to know that you’re in a gaslighting relationship is that you find yourself excusing their abusive behavior We’ve all seen this and yes as part of the abuse cycle, but if you notice even in your own head thinking: “Well I don’t want anybody to find out because you know, then they’ll think badly of them, and they’re such a nice person” Just be aware because that’s a sign that something bad is happening that you are being abused. And because you trust and love them so much Because you’re being gaslighted you’re wanting to protect them. And the third way to know that you’re in a relationship or gaslighting is happening. Is that you lack self-confidence. You can imagine if someone is telling you that everything you remember and what you thought was going to happen didn’t happen or that you’re crazy, you’re going to slowly start to question yourself and feel bad about yourself. And the fourth is that you struggle to make decisions on your own. You can see how these all tie together because again if we lack confidence, if we’re constantly second guessing ourselves. And someone’s telling us that we’re crazy and remembering things wrong. Then we’re obviously not going to feel like we can make decisions on our own. We’re going to think that we’re not in a safe place or in a sane mind to do so. And the fifth and final way to know: That you often feel like you can’t do anything, right? People who are in these types of relationships are in these types of situations will often just feel like everything they touch everything you remember every event that happens to them is just terrible and that it’s not going the right way, and “oh I can’t do anything, right! I’m the worst!” And you can see how all five of these are very similar because they’re coming out of this place of: Questioning your memory, questioning your perception of situations in the world and maybe even questioning your sanity. But luckily there are ways to overcome it and to heal from these relationships and obviously the first step that I’m gonna ask you to do is to get rid of these people. If someone is telling you that everything you’re remembering, everything you’re doing, your perception of things, your decision-making skills… If they’re like putting you down and talking poorly to you, please get out! I’ll link in the description of my videos about: Emotional abuse as well as physical abuse and I even have a video about boundaries and building self-respect. And so all of those tools and all the information combined I believe should arm you with the strength and understanding to be able to leave those unhealthy and abusive relationships. And the first way to overcome gaslighting, the first tip I’m gonna offer is to seek support. And this can be a friend or a professional, but I would prefer both and here’s why: Number one: I think we should see a professional Because they’re going to be able to help us heal from this abuse Because gaslighting is really part of emotional abuse. They’re putting us down, they’re making us question ourselves. We feel, start to feel we can’t even make decisions on our own. We’re completely dependent upon them. All of those components are emotional abuse and working with a trauma specialist can be really really healing as we try to manage all of the things that happened to us over the time that we were in that relationship. and then the second part of that is I think that we need to have friends support. Because I always encourage my clients when they’re going through something like this to do what I call like fact checking or reality testing. Because if you have a friend who is in that situation or was at that party with you. Or went on that vacation. If you’re questioning your own sanity your own memories, especially as you’re starting to heal it would be great to have a supportive person in your life. You can say: “No you were there too, right, that guy came up and he said this and they went and did this”, and they can affirm or tell you “oh, well that remember, no that was first and then this happened”. They’ll be a great resource for you to do some of that like reality testing as you learn to trust yourself again and heal from the past experiences where you were told that your perceptions were invalid or completely wrong. And the second tip that I’ll offer is to start doing Feelings Charts, I know that some of you may hate those or you haven’t heard me talk about them in the past. But these are lists or charts or circles with feelings on them. Just the words. Feelings: angry, mad, sad, irritable, whatever. It’ll have all these different feelings listed and I’d encourage you to print out a bunch of them and each day circle how you feel, maybe in the morning, in the afternoon and at night. Or maybe just once a day and read through them and say you know I do feel upset today. And I accept it and it’s okay to feel that way. I know this sounds really hokey, but jokey and silly. But when we’ve been put down, when we’ve been told how we feel isn’t valid or what we’re experiencing didn’t really happen. It’s an important part of the process for us to say the feeling word to understand how we feel to even realize how we feel and say we accept it. It can be really healing to do that everyday. And the third tip: Because we’re working on building up our self-confidence is positive self-talk, and I know all my Kinions out there are like “oh my God Katie, if you say that one more time…”. But you’d be surprised how effective it is to just change the way we talk to ourselves. We talk to ourselves all day long in our head, that doesn’t make you crazy, that makes you human. And so changing that conversation to be something more positive, to be confidence-building I would encourage you to try to come up with five things each day. That you’re proud of, that you did well in. Because that will help you start to feel better about yourself, start building up a healthy self confidence. So that you can start to heal from all of the emotional abuse that comes along with gaslighting. The fourth tip: Set boundaries and say No! Say it with me! No! That’s something that I’m working on.
I know I’ve said that in other videos, but it’s hard to say no sometimes when we can feel really pressured to do more and to say yes to more and to not let people down and oh my God if I had a few more hours each day… We can do this to ourselves and so I would encourage you to as you’re starting to recognize those feelings that you have and how upset you may be or how stressful the situation can be. To know that you may need a little more time. To know that you may have to take full days where you’re not on your phone, and you’re not reachable. Whatever it may be. Make sure you know you have my full permission to say no, it’s completely okay! And understanding also if people are trying to cross boundaries again, and it feels awfully familiar like that old relationship we just got out of that you can say no then too! And the fifth and final tip I have is mindfulness Because a lot of what happens in gaslighting is focusing on the other person trying to make them happy, trying to understand their situation, trying to check in with them before we make decisions. A part of healing from gaslighting will be going back inside and listening to yourself. And I think working on those feeling words will come in handy when you’re trying to work on the mindfulness component. And so it takes some time. I honestly think the headspace app is really great, because it’s ten minutes of meditation But even furthermore journaling can help. Even just 10 minutes, 15 minutes, bullet pointing out what happened today. And maybe how you think you might have felt about it. Even if it’s just writing down those feelings words and putting the sentence with them of today. You know upset. Today I did feel upset because so-and-so was rude to me, whatever it is. Practicing that, practicing going inside, checking in with ourselves, feeling how we’re feeling and knowing it’s okay can be extremely healing and also build up our confidence. So all these five tips kind of culminate to help us heal from the gaslighting. And I hope you found this helpful! This was one of the things that you recommended on my YouNow livestream. So leave in the comments are there other tips and tools and ways that you found yourself coming out of unhealthy relationships like this and healing. I would love for you to share in the comments. And if you’re new to my channel, click here to subscribe, I put out videos on Mondays and Thursdays! And you don’t want to miss them! And click over here for more about these sorts of topics, and I will see you next time. Bye!