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  • Writer's pictureTeesha Aurora

WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?



“You are being too sensitive.”

“Come on, don’t lie, that never happened!”

“Everyone thinks you’re going crazy.”


If you have heard any of these sentences, and have questioned yourself after hearing these sentences, you might have been gaslighted.


Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse where the abuser makes the victim question their own reality, perceptions, or memory, making the victim feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves. It can negatively affect the victim’s well-being, and their ability to focus and make a decision. It undermines the victim’s confidence in their ability to distinguish reality from fiction, truth from lie, and right from wrong, rendering them psychologically dependent on the abuser. Gaslighting can be institutional, racial, political, medical and within the context of a close personal relationship.


People who gaslight others know precisely how to push their buttons, and take advantage of their insecurities and vulnerabilities. Gaslighting can take place in personal, professional, cultural, and political contexts.


In our culture, we have phrases created for the sole purpose of gaslighting. Have you heard of ‘boys will be boys’? Both imply that certain misogynistic behaviours are forgivable and even inevitable, so if we take issue with them, we’re just being too demanding, dramatic, and sensitive.

It can be difficult to know if you are being gaslighted because it would usually be by someone you are close to, and it may not even be intentional. However, if you feel anxious, withdrawn, scared, worthless, incompetent or are unable to make decisions and keep second guessing-yourself, you might have been gaslighted.

If you feel like you are being gaslighted, the most important thing to do is recognize you are a victim. Seek help for what you have experienced. Understand the reality of what you have experienced. Learn that your feelings are valid, and you deserve better.


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