I saw something today about self gaslighting and I realised I’ve never realised how much I do it and how much other people probably do it without realising.
For those who don’t know or aren’t sure, gaslighting is where someone will manipulate you emotionally until you’re questioning your own sanity. Some of the signs of this are questioning your memory or perception of an event, not feeling like the person you used to be, feeling like something is wrong but not being able to place what that something is, making excuses for the person gaslighting you, and questioning your feelings, amongst many other things.
I guess gaslighting is fairly common and I know I experienced it a lot when I was with my ex. He would constantly make me feel like I was imagining the abuse, make me feel like I’d driven him to it, or point blank deny any knowledge of him having done anything. It led to me not speaking about it to anyone for the longest time because I truly believed I was at fault and that nobody would believe me.
Gaslighting is bad enough when someone else does it to you, but I think doing it to yourself can be just as bad. We’re all being told we should love ourselves and speak to ourselves the same way we’d speak to a friend but it’s something that rarely happens.
I’m guilty of feeling more than one of these things, especially when I’m thinking about what I went through with my ex. I used to discount it all the time because other people got killed by their partners and I obviously hadn’t been killed so I wasn’t being subjected to “proper” abuse. This led to me feeling like I was being too sensitive whenever I felt upset about it, even though I had, and still have, every right to feel upset.
Even with my mental health, I’m always gaslighting myself without realising. I berate myself for not being “normal” and for being depressed or anxious in the first place because someone somewhere has it worse, so I should be more grateful.
This way of thinking is so ridiculous, especially when you know you would try and stop your loved ones from talking about themselves in that way. It’s definitely easier said than done to speak to yourself the same way you would to a friend and I definitely know this from experience. I’m not completely there yet, but I’m starting to notice when I’m having these thoughts and I’m beginning to start challenging them. I think it’s important to acknowledge whatever you’re thinking, just because you’re acknowledging it, it doesn’t mean that you’re allowing it to have space in your mind all day.
I definitely need to put more practise into challenging my thoughts and maybe putting a better spin on them. I think some of these phrases might be a good starting point, especially if you’re struggling to come up with something. We all deserve to live our lives without that little voice telling us all the bad things about ourselves that it wants us to believe.
It may feel weird at first, especially if you’ve had someone make you feel so bad for so long but eventually it becomes second nature to question why you feel bad and to turn it around. I guess it can also feel empowering to know that being gaslit doesn’t have that power over you anymore and you have the freedom to live your life with at least one less thing to stress you out.
As always, I’m happy to help with anything if that’s what you need, just let me know! 💜