Gaslighting is the buzzword in the recovery and personal development space right now. And I couldn’t be happier about it. The more aware you become about gaslighting, the more you see it.
I’ve caught myself doing it to my son, I see it in the way adults communicate. I see it in how people communicate on social media, I see it in the dating world. It breaks my heart to know that I’ve contributed to this.
But the thing that we hardly recognize is when we gaslight ourselves.
So first off, what is gaslighting?
I go deep into gaslighting in this blog post, but I’ll share a quick recap.
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic when the abuser will try to convince the victim that their reality is not true reality.
Another form of gaslighting is making the victim feel guilty for their emotions or even having a normal response. That’s when they tell you that you’re overreacting, that you’re making it up, that you just need to calm down. That if you just wouldn’t have done X, Y and Z, this wouldn’t have happened.
When gaslighting happens on a consistent basis, it actually begins to change the way your brain functions and how it sees the world.
You begin to question themselves and fall into this trap of thinking that they’re right, that you are exaggerating or wrong.
This is exactly what self gaslighting is.
This isn’t limited to when you’re currently involved in relationship. Self-gaslighting is a pattern of thinking that can follow you for years.
Personally I catch myself doing this on a regular basis. I didn’t realize how this was impacting my life until just a few months ago.
In fact, I was in the middle of a panic attack a few weeks ago and all I could think about was that it was my fault. That I was overexaggerating and I was making it up. This is how self-gaslighting works.
I was telling my brain that I was having a physical reaction to whatever triggered a panic attack.
You manipulate yourself into thinking that what you see around you isn’t reality, that your feelings are invalid and that you’re over exaggerating and unimportant..
You begin to lose trust in yourself and begin to see the world through the lens of “maybe what I think I’m seeing isn’t actually happening.” Our brains will begin to tell us that reality just isn’t real. This is a very dangerous cycle to be in.
The less trust you have in yourself, the more at risk you are to end up in another abusive relationship. But you also won’t be able to trust yourself at home, with family, at work.
Your own dreams become questionable. Your desire to function like a normal human lessens and you begin to ask yourself if you deserve things like a shower. Questioning your worthiness even living becomes the norm.
This is crucial for us to understand and recognize.
We need to recognize when it’s happening, whether someone else is doing it or we are. Once we get an understanding of this, our brains can begin to heal and process what’s happening.
This is especially dangerous when it comes to abusive relationships. Once your perception of reality gets distorted, the abuse becomes normal. You begin to justify it and even think you deserve it.
This sends us down a cycle where we question everything. This puts us in a very dangerous position of becoming a punching bag.
We tell ourselves over and over again that we’re making it up, that we’re wrong, that we’re just over exaggerating.
How do we stop this?
The first step is admitting that you do it. A lot of us don’t even realize we’re doing it, and even if we do we don’t want to admit it. If we’re doing this to ourselves, we were in an abusive situation. Even if the people that we were around were good people family was great, this form of manipulation is abuse. That can be a hard thing to accept.
As soon as you accept that you do it, your brain is going to begin to notice. When you become aware of self gaslighting, your brain will pick up on the situations when it’s happening.
Just like when you make the decision to get a yellow car and then you see yellow cars every where. Your brain picks up on things that are on the forefront of it’s mind.
You’ll become hyperaware of when others do it as well as when you do it to yourself.
Commit to calling yourself out
The next step is to commit to recognizing when it happens.
Before you try to stop yourself, you need to begin to call yourself out when it happens. The more often you catch yourself, the less often your brain will do it.
Becoming aware of it and calling yourself out are two of the most powerful ways your brain can begin to see that it’s not healthy.
Awareness and willingness to recognize the awareness is a lot more powerful than you’d ever be able to guess. Taking personal responsibility isn’t easy, but it flexes a muscle we don’t use often enough.
The stronger this muscle gets, the more skilled you’ll become in your recovery.
Have an accountability partner
I highly recommend having an accountability partner. This means having someone on hand to explain situations, to talk to you, and validate what you’re going through.
For a really long time, I didn’t know what was considered normal when it came to relationships. I didn’t know what was okay, and what wasn’t.
I didn’t know that gaslighting, verbal abuse, manipulation, physical abuse wasn’t okay. This was all new to me.
I had someone that I could reach out to and discuss what was going on. She would help me process what happened and see what was normal and what wasn’t acceptable. It helped me to become comfortable in my own self.
It helped me to see that there is a place in the back of my brain that knows this isn’t ok, I just had to learn to trust it. Having someone to validate my experiences taught me how to do just that.
My brain clicked and went, Okay. You do know what you’re talking about. You do know reality, you do know yourself. And that just goes right into the next step, which is learning to trust yourself.
Learn to trust yourself
Learning to trust yourself isn’t easy, but it’s very possible.
Start with building up a set of affirmations to begin to encourage your brain in this process. I highly encourage you to listen to Affirmation 101. This is where I teach you exactly why and how to do this.
You need to create some affirmations around the fact that you’re recovering from self gaslighting and committed to ending the cycle.
Here are some examples:
- I trust myself.
- I am worthy of love, trust and respect.
- I do not deserve abuse.
- My brain can recognize when it’s not healthy.
- I do not have to put up with this.
- I am strong.
- I am capable.
- I am intelligent.
- I am worthy.
- I am enough.
Reminding yourself of these truths on a consistent basis is so powerful. It’s going to reinforce the work you’re doing when calling yourself out.
Build your confidence
We don’t trust ourselves because we’re not confident that we know ourselves.
That’s why I created my FREE Confidence Course. This is a five day crash course in the skill of confidence with me as your coach.
I share the proven framework that I’ve given to my clients. In less than 15 minutes a day for five days, you’re going to build a solid foundation to take off toward your absolute best life.
You’ve got this, boo! Click here to grab your free course!