Well, hello there, friends. I’m so glad you are here today, and I hope that you decide to stick around, because, Guys…shit’s about to get real! I’m going to talk to you about gaslighting. What it is. How it happens. What it looks and feels like. How to tell if you’re being gaslighted. WHY the narcissist gaslights you. And, most importantly, How to STOP the narcissist from gaslighting YOU!
There are a LOT of websites out there that talk about gaslighting, but they don’t talk about WHY the narcissist does it, and I think that the few sites that DO attempt to theorize on why narcissist’s gaslight, haven’t really hit upon the heart of the matter. Of course, this is just my opinion…
My opinion (just a little FYI) comes from almost a decade of intimate experience dealing with a narcissist, witnessing his reactions, being the target of HIS gaslighting, and also from about 2 years of in-depth study, research, and education on NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), trauma-healing, childhood trauma, abuse, attachment, conflict management, trust, and anything else I could get my hands on, to do with building solid, healthy relationships. So, while I might not have a special string of letters after my name, or any $50,000 certificates, or degrees, even so, I consider myself an expert in the area of romantic relationships, romance, sex, and domestic abuse.
As an expert in these matters, and having many years of personal experience “in the trenches”, so to speak, I have found that a lot of the information out there, regarding NPD, is incredibly vague, and ambiguous- at best. And, if you asked me, I would say that that is a grievous oversight. Why? Because… Narcissists are predators, and there are a LOT more of them than most people realize.
This is vital to know, because as of today, too many of our women (young & old, alike) are at risk of falling victim to these vessels of unacknowledged pain (that’s what narcissists are). Too many women are at risk off being emotionally, psychologically, psychically, and spiritually tortured by narcissists, because they are unaware of just how prevalent the incidence of narcissism is, in our society, but also because they are unaware of the number one way in which these individuals cause us that unbearable pain; GASLIGHTING;
What is Gaslighting?
Simply put- gaslighting is emotional, psychological, psychic, and spiritual…TORTURE.
You might think that sounds a bit dramatic, but trust me, if you’ve ever been the victim of gaslighting, you know for a fact that I’m not exaggerating. Not in the least bit. The anxiety, confusion, shame, fear, doubt, disbelief, disorientation, and pain that is caused by gaslighting, really CAN NOT be understated. I think I read somewhere that gaslighting is a tactic used by our very own CIA, in order to torture prisoners into spilling their guts… and I can absolutely see why it works.
First, I’ll give you the mainstream definition of gaslighting;
- to cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation
Pretty straightforward, huh?
After having endured gaslighting for many years, I decided to write my own definition- one that I think encompasses the entire picture a little more. My definition of gaslighting:
An insidious method of psychological torture, wherein the abuser uses subversive tactics- such as compulsive lying, severe emotional blackmailing, constant undermining of the victim’s ability to make good choices, manipulation, withholding affection/love, and intentionally sending mixed signals to create cognitive dissonance- in order to deceive his victim, and throw her whole world off-balance. By very, VERY subtley employing his tactics, the abuser induces a state of constant chaos, and confusion, which eventually leads his worn-down and exhausted victim to question her mental stability. The victim ultimately ends up doubting her perception of situations, events, people, her life- and even her SELF. The end result is a complete psychotic break where the victim no longer trusts anything she perceives, and exists in a state of constant stress, anxiety, fear, and paranoia.
OK…so, now we get what it is, and that it sounds like a pretty fucked up thing for someone to do to another human being, but here’s the problem with it: How do we know if someone is gaslighting us? What does gaslighting look like? Everywhere you look, you will find articles talking about how the victim most often doesn’t know what is happening, until it is too late…. so…. are we screwed? Is there some place to find real-life examples of what gaslighting looks like? Or how to protect against it? Again, if you Google that question, or read other articles, on the web, you’ll find that the lists of “Signs Your Being Gaslighted”, can be just as confusing as the experience of being gaslit, itself.
That isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, either…confusion.
Gaslighting is such an insidious, subtle, and passive form of abuse that, more often than not, it takes the victim suffering an immense amount of emotional pain before they even think to go searching for answers to what is happening to them. That is when they, usually, come across the term ‘gaslighting’, and start to think that maybe, just maybe, that is what has been happening to them.
Gaslighting takes so many different forms, and styles. The tactics used to gaslight someone, are myriad. In my nest post, I will give you some real-life examples of what gaslighting looks like. I encourage you to comment with your own experiences of gaslighting there, as well…the more experiences and examples we have, the easier it is for others to identify what is going on, for sure…
Stay Tuned for Part 2: Gaslighting: What it Looks Like (In Real-Life)
To your peace & freedom,
~The Narcissist’s Wife
P.S.You can also visit me on Facebook! I’ve started a secret group ‘The Rescue Room’, for victims of narcissistic abuse to share their experience, wisdom, support, encouragement, and love with one another. Narcissistic abuse can make us feel so alone… know that you are not. You are never alone.