We become unhappy if we ignore our feelings. It is important to recognize this attitude in time and try to correct it.
Gaslighting is such cunning manipulation and a type of psychological violence. The aggressor first violates the victim’s personal boundaries, says or does things that offend her, and then tries to convince her that she has it all wrong, has gotten herself all wound up and is generally too vulnerable and sensitive.
It is traditionally believed that only the other person can gaslight: a partner, parent, friend, or colleague with abusive tendencies. But sometimes we are our own enemies and aggressors, and we handle self-deprecation just fine. We tell you how to recognize self-abusive behavior, what it can lead to, and how to deal with it.
How does Self-gaslighting manifest itself?
It is the same gaslighting, that is, devaluation, denial of emotion, but the only person directs it to himself. Psychologists identify several basic “symptoms” of this destructive behavior.
You have been told or done something unpleasant, but instead of being outraged, at least mentally, you say to yourself:
- “No, I must have misunderstood something.”
- “The person certainly didn’t mean any harm, and I’m always making a big deal out of it.”
- “It’s embarrassing to worry about something like that. People have bigger problems.”
- “You have to look at life more positively! And those who are offended are the ones who get hurt.”
That is, you do not allow yourself to experience negative emotions, to live through them. On the contrary, you hurry to block such feelings as soon as possible, to hide them, to find an acceptable and comfortable explanation.
Not trusting yourself
Suppose you remember that a loved one behaved incorrectly in relation to you. But you convince yourself that you imagined everything and he probably did not do anything wrong, and you remembered incorrectly. For example, parents allegedly could not hit, a loved one – to call him names, a friend – to laugh.
This technique, “rewriting memories,” is often used by real gaslighters. They try to convince the victim that he heard, dreamed, dreamed.
Doubt in their abilities
You convince yourself that you are not good enough, smart or talented to qualify for a new job, an interesting hobby, to enter into a relationship with a good man. And you also devalue your achievements: “So what if I got a promotion at work (I lost five pounds, started to learn English, saved up for a vacation). What’s so special about it, and what is there to be proud of?”
- “He probably called me names because I did something wrong.”
- “It’s my own fault that people treat me that way.”
- The ability to take responsibility and not try to blame the whole world for your troubles is certainly a good thing. But insults, trespassing, emotional and physical abuse are most often only the abuser’s fault. If you didn’t attack first, it’s not right to look for the problem in yourself.
Where does self-gaslating come from. There are several reasons.
- Parenting. Parents did not allow the child to express his emotions freely, seeking to suppress them. As an adult, the person continues to do the same thing.
- Emotional Abuse. If the person was in a relationship with a toxic partner or friend who devalued their feelings, they may have difficulty trusting themselves.
- Defensive Reaction. Sometimes it’s easier to blame yourself and turn a blind eye to unpleasant events than to admit that a loved one hurt you or something else bad happened.
How to stop devaluing yourself
At first glance, gaslighting seems harmless, but it can drive a victim almost to madness. People who experience this type of abuse develop depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Self-esteem can also take a toll on you. It lowers self-esteem, steals joy, and drives you into manipulative relationships.
To cope with self-depreciation, psychotherapist Rachel Otis recommends keeping a journal in which you write down your emotions and learning to change attitudes.
If you’re prone to self-depreciation, you almost certainly repeat similar phrases to yourself:
- “I over-dramatize everything.”
- “It’s all in my head.”
- “No one meant me any harm.”
- “I made it all up.”
- “Nothing bad happened.”
Rachel Otis suggests keeping track of such thoughts and attitudes and replacing them with others. For example, repeating to yourself or writing down such statements:
- “My emotions are important, and I have a right to feel what I feel.”
- “I trust my feelings and know for a fact that I was told something unpleasant. So my reaction is justified.”
- “My experience is real, and my memories are not fiction.”
- “What happened is not my fault, even if someone tries to convince me otherwise.”