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As I watched a press conference on the news earlier this week, I acknowledged a familiar uneasiness that reminded me of when I’d been in other situations like it. I was being gaslighted. The person was attempting to shift reality by creating doubt and confusion through misinformation, misdirection, contradiction and centring themselves rather than acknowledge the problem. So… on this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I delve into the subject of gaslighting. I share examples and break down why it’s gaslighting, plus I talk about how to recognise it in your relationships.

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Examples of gaslighting

  • Denying something they said or did even though you witnessed, heard it, or it was done to you.
  • Deliberately altering a piece of work but pretending that they haven’t. Or, telling you to make changes to a piece of work and then denying they did.
  • Exaggerating what you did or straight-up making up something so that, for example, you believe you have a drinking problem or that you did something to someone. They might tell you that you’re not to bring it up with the people in question because they ‘just want to move on’. When you speak with those people and they tell you that you weren’t drunk or that you didn’t do anything wrong, the gaslighter says that they’re just saying that to be kind or makes you questioning their version of events about you not loving and believing them.
  • Flirting or hitting on someone right in front of you. Sending dodgy texts (and you’ve seen them with your own eyes). Somehow, though, they flipped this around and say that you’re jealous, possessive, a psycho, etc.
  • Distancing from/ignoring someone, and basically altering your relationship with them, denying that you are when they ask you about it, but still distancing and ignoring. It’s letting the person believe that it’s all in their imagination especially when it’s become apparent that this person is aware of what’s going on but you’re trying to avoid conflict and play it down.
  • Denying the existence of their problematic behaviour. Next thing, it’s ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. They might claim that they’re okay with what they did and that they have no regrets. They might assert that what they did is okay, it’s other people’s portrayal of it that’s upset you, or your perception of it.

‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ isn’t an apology and it definitely isn’t empathy. They’re implying that your feelings are the problem, not what they did.

  • Denying their involvement in something and making out that you’re the liar. When you’re understandably angry about it, they refuse to acknowledge the problem and insist that you both be ‘adults’ about it.
  • Repeatedly making out that you are the problem by calling you ‘needy’, ‘too sensitive’, ‘paranoid’, ‘too dependent’, ‘dramatic’ and the like, so that they can benefit from you believing it. They also continue being and doing the thing that they claim is your problem.
  • Lying and cheating, but denying they are, and then doing that very thing. Even if you catch them red-handed, they claim that it wasn’t them or that you’re misinterpreting things.
  • Acting like they didn’t say those things at the beginning of the relationship. Rather than own up to overestimating their capacity for a relationship or overestimating their feelings; rather than admit that they have form for getting carried away and being emotionally unavailable, they make out like you’re the one who has the wrong end of the stick.

Links mentioned

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