Have you ever 'Gaslighted' yourself?
Do you know what gaslighting is and how it deteriorates your mental health? As much as we talk about mental health and how one should understand the mental state of every person, we should also analyse how much we disregard our own emotions and constantly destruct the peace of our minds. 'Gaslighting' is a term that originated in the year 1938, in the play 'Gas Light'. The husband in the play 'Gas Light' manipulates his wife to throw her in the asylum. In simple terms, 'Gaslighting' means manipulating someone and making them believe that they are overreacting in every situation.
Eventually, a person who's been constantly getting gaslighted believes that 'Everything is in their mind', they question their sanity.
Gaslighting doesn't only ruin self-confidence, it also makes people weak and gradually deteriorates their mental health. Sometimes, we tend to gaslight ourselves unconsciously too.
CONSEQUENCES OF GASLIGHTING
One day, I came across the term 'Gaslight', I read my journal that day and discerned how I gaslighted myself while journaling. I was constantly invalidating my emotions and manipulating myself into believing that I overthought everything! The phrases I relentlessly repeated in my journals were, "I am not supposed to feel this way" , "I overthink a lot. Maybe everyone is right and I am imagining things" , "What if I am wrong, why do I feel like this." The thoughts were haunting, I realised how gaslighting yourself makes you feel unsettled.
Gaslighting is not only about manipulating things, it has several dimensions. You create another version of your emotions and ardently believe that it is 'You'. You apologize for everything and disregard your thoughts. Gaslighting doesn't necessarily happen from others, like I mentioned above, we tend to gaslight our emotions frequently. It's high time, we learn about gaslighting and how it affects our mental health.
I learned more about gaslighting when I read the novel 'Milkman' by Anna Burns, the plot of the novel 'Milkman' revolves around a young girl in her early twenties in Northern Ireland. The whole town in Northern Ireland gaslights her. Since the plot moves with the background of the insurgency period, the novel is extensive and mercurial in narration.
1. You don't sound crazy.
When you try talking about your feelings, you always feel like you are sounding defensive. If you are a victim of gaslighting, you invalidate your thoughts and emotions.
2. It is not your fault.
Victims of gaslighting constantly apologize for everything. When something goes wrong, they immediately feel that it's their fault.
3. It's not in your head.
A common phrase that every abuser use to gaslight the victim is 'It's all in your head'. Victims of gaslighting feel that everything is inside their heads and they are imagining things. If you have read my journaling experience, you would have come across how I repeated 'overthinking' several times while talking about my emotions.
4. No drama! Not sensitive.
'You are sensitive', 'Stop the drama', if you are constantly hearing these words in any relationship, this is your red alert. The abuser makes you believe what he\she thinks is true, even if they know the truth they manipulate you into believing that you are overthinking and being extremely sensitive.
In a nutshell, your mental health matters! Validate your emotions and distance yourself from the people who gaslight you for everything. Remember, gaslight doesn't necessarily come from other people, at times, we gaslight ourselves too. It is significant to understand the term 'Gaslighting' and educate people about the consequences. You are strong and you are allowed to feel every emotion.
Written By - Kavitha Ashokkumar
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