Episode #32: All About Gaslighting & How To Get Through It

Episode #32: All About Gaslighting & How To Get Through It



Have you ever been gaslit? Perhaps you’re struggling through the gaslighting experience right now o maybe you’re learning more about something that happened to you in the past.

As anyone who’s experienced it knows, gaslighting feels horrible. It makes you question yourself and your reality, and can truly damage your sense of self-trust over time.

But the more we learn about this, the more we’ll be able to notice it when it happens. Today I’m giving some tips on how to reframe gaslighting and get your power back!


In This Episode:


  • Find out what gaslighting is
  • Learn why gaslighting is SO common
  • Get tips on how to handle it when it happens to you
  • Much more!


Listen Here:





All About Gaslighting & How To Get Through It | Episode #32 Transcript


Hello, Gorgeous and welcome back to another episode of the Self Worth Project podcast.
It’s your girl Jenn, I’m a coach and healer and this podcast is here to help you on yourself
healing journey so that you can unlock the truest, most powerful and authentic version
of you.
Today we are talking about one of the hot topics of the blogosphere over the last few
years or at least it seems to be in my corner of the world.
And that is gaslighting.
Gaslighting is such a huge topic but I really wanted to make an episode for you to listen
to today because for me personally the concept of gaslighting was so illuminating when I first
found out about it.
One of the things I’ve spoken about many times before is that having the correct language
for something to describe a certain experience is so empowering.
So for me when I first discovered the word gaslighting and figured out what that was I was
like completely shocked because I had no idea that there was a term to use that was
describing what was happening to me at the time I felt like I was going insane and I
really didn’t think that people understood what I was trying to tell them and that again
is because I didn’t have the language.
So part of the reason why I’m making this podcast today is because I want to educate people.
And yes maybe it seems like everyone and their dog knows what gaslighting is right now but
just in case you don’t or in case you want a little update or a mindset shift around it we
are going to get into it today and I’m going to give you some tips at the end to help
you become ungaslatable.
Okay so what is gaslighting?
The definition of gaslighting from the Oxford languages dictionary is manipulation.
Someone using psychological methods calling into question their own sanity or powers of
reasoning.
Merriam Webster dictionary goes on to site deception of one’s memory, perception of reality
or mental stability.
This term gaslighting in case you’re wondering it comes from a film from 1944 called gaslight
in which a husband is basically gaslighting his wife trying to make her feel insane.
So if you’re wondering where the term came from it is from a film.
It’s not just a normal thing happens when somebody tries to deny your reality but they’re
doing this in a very specific way right.
So this is not just a normal disagreement like it is not gaslighting.
If you say something happened and someone else is like no that’s not what happened that
isn’t necessarily gaslighting right.
Many times we have different takes on situations and of course we only have our own perspective
to rely on.
And humans are fallible.
So that means even if two people experience the same situation we might have vastly different
takes on what actually happened.
So somebody disagreeing with you even about something that happened to you specifically
is not necessarily gaslighting.
Somebody that is telling you that they don’t agree with your opinion also not gaslighting.
Many of the things I’ve seen out there in the world where people are accusing people of
gaslighting is not actually gaslighting.
It’s a difference of opinions.
So that is quite different like that is a normal thing that happens in the world.
We are never going to have everybody believe us and have our same opinions and experiences
of the world.
That is just not possible.
We are humans.
So there’s going to be some differences of opinion and people aren’t always going to see
things 100% your way and that is okay.
What happens with gaslighting though is that they are trying to change the way that you see
the world.
It’s not just the two people are having a difference of opinion about something that happened.
It is that somebody is trying to get someone else to disregard their experience or their
memories or something.
So that is where it gets a little bit crazy.
This experience does not feel good.
As somebody who has lived through the gaslighting experience it feels pretty horrible.
And we’re going to talk a little bit about how gaslighting happens, why people do it, etc.
But I just want you to know this is a real thing.
Somebody undermining your version of reality.
It is extremely confusing.
It can create a lot of self-doubt.
If this situation happens over a long period of time, like if you keep coming back to the
same thing and somebody keeps on gaslighting you about it, it is going to eventually create
self-doubt within you.
It might lower your self-esteem because you start to think of yourself as not having
a true amount of power in the world.
And it can just cause you to question your entire world.
It is just not a fun experience and it is not something I would hope that you would ever
have to go through.
However, let’s talk a little bit about how gaslighting occurs.
I honestly think gaslighting is so common in this world.
It has probably happened to you because we’ve learned it.
We’ve all learned what this is and perhaps you’ve even done it to somebody yourself without
even realizing what you are doing.
Gaslighting to a certain degree was acceptable by society and it still is in many different
ways.
So we have to understand that this isn’t something that somebody necessarily is doing because
they’re sociopath or because they specifically want to hurt you.
This might be something that they are doing because this is what’s been done to them.
They feel like acting like this is okay and because it’s commonly accepted.
So one common way that you might have seen it gaslighting in the world is when it comes
to emotions.
I’ve seen this happen so many times.
Somebody will say, well, I’m really angry that this thing happened and I’ll see somebody
else say, oh, you’re not angry.
You’re not upset.
You’re not mad.
You’re not feeling that right now.
And that is a very sneaky and subtle form of gaslighting.
If somebody is telling you their lived experience and their true emotions at the time and you
were telling them that that is not how they actually feel, that is a form of gaslighting.
And I’ve seen this happen in parenting situations.
I’ve seen this happen in romantic relationships.
I’ve seen this even happen in friendships like not everybody in the world is really emotionally
tuned in.
We live in a world that is lacking in emotional intelligence and many times emotions because
we can’t see them because we can’t label them.
We are not really good about acknowledging other people’s emotions and that can lead to
behaviors like gaslighting.
Gaslighting is also super common.
Gaslighting is very common in situations where there is a difference in power.
So this can happen especially in religious relationships like a pastor in a church gaslighting
one of their churchgoers.
It could happen in a work situation where a boss is gaslighting their subordinates.
Gaslighting can also occur through our parents like our parents telling you no you’re not
really upset when you’re a kid when you clearly are like that is a really common form of gaslighting
that can create more emotional problems down the road and actually something that is
very common especially here in Germany.
I just saw a video that was all about this was doctors gaslighting patients like telling
your patient know you’re fine when they tell you their symptoms and actually it turns out
that the patient was not fine at all.
So there’s many different areas again where gaslighting is common and even socially acceptable.
Not to say that this is okay not to say that we should continue doing this but just to
show you the extent of this situation.
Sometimes if there is a perceived difference in power the person with the power maybe knowingly
or unknowingly gaslighting the other person maybe without even realizing it or perhaps on purpose.
So gaslighting is common.
I think gaslighting comes up a lot when it comes to emotions because we’re just emotionally
illiterate as a group and gaslighting is especially common amongst dynamics where there is a power
imbalance.
So I’m telling you this because just to really get you that point here that gaslighting
is common and if it has happened to you is a horrible feeling.
Like nobody wants to question their own emotions.
There’s sanity any of that but we collectively just did not know what this was.
It is something that is out there in the world and that is part of the reason why it is
so important to talk about it and think about it so you can start to notice when it is happening
to you and you can consciously disengage from it.
Another point that I want to make with gaslighting is because it is so common and because it is
out there in the world gaslighting isn’t always done with ill intent.
This is another key piece of information that I think a lot of people get wrong.
For example I’ve seen so many arguments online of people accusing other people of gaslighting
them and it is always coming at them with like you are wrong, you are abusive, you know
I’m going to cancel you, etc.
Like that kind of vibe.
However, not everybody who engages in gaslighting behavior really has your worst interests
at heart.
You might not be able to see what someone’s intentions are.
My personal example of this, my ex-husband was gaslighting me about cheating on me towards
the end of our marriage and actually well beyond that through the you know break up divorce
of face.
This went on for quite some time.
I’m like I know you’re doing this and he insisted no I’m not to the point where it made
me feel like I was losing my mind, right?
So at the time and after I figured out what gaslighting was I was like okay there is a word
for this and it felt so nefarious.
It felt like this person is out to get me out to make me feel crazy out to do this and
out to do that.
And later on he actually admitted it to me that quote unquote the only reason why he did
that was because he didn’t want me to think of him poorly.
Of course I was still angry and upset about that because you know how dare you deny me
reality when you are just when it’s just your ego and your pride at stake, right?
Like that is not really worth it to me and that seemed to very nefarious.
But with a little bit of distance in time I can look back at the situation and see that
yeah okay it was his own self as reasons that he was doing this.
He probably wasn’t thinking so much about making me feel insane.
He just was a very cowardly person and so he chose to do gaslighting because that seemed
like the easiest and most obvious answer to him and his little brain at the time, right?
So like I said it isn’t always done with ill intent even if it is hurting you even if it
does seem malicious people are just doing what they want to do.
And in that situation my ex-husband was trying to protect himself and his own ego.
He wasn’t necessarily thinking about me and my life and the way I perceived reality.
He wasn’t thinking about any of that stuff.
So it is really important to understand that there is a difference here.
Most of the time when you were being gaslit the person like my ex-husband probably has their
own best intentions at the forefront of their mind and even if they’re hurting you and making
you feel insane and making you question your reality it isn’t because they’re thinking
about making you do that.
It is just because they are focused on themselves and not thinking about whatever else that they’re
doing.
This is not giving anyone free reign to go and do this to anybody by the way.
Definitely do not recommend gaslighting anytime anywhere.
And again the whole point of this podcast episode today is to create awareness mostly so that
we can create awareness in ourselves so that we are not doing this behavior to somebody
else but also so that if we can see somebody doing it to us.
We have the tools to know it, to notice it and to stand strong against it.
I’ll give you one more example here.
I had a friend once that was meeting another acquaintance of mine and the friend was saying
that they suffer from anxiety.
They were talking about a situation that made them feel very anxious and my newer friend
said to them, “Oh yeah, you don’t have anxiety.”
So in that situation my friend was very upset like, “How dare you tell me that I don’t have
anxiety?”
This is just not something that you should be talking about and yeah, I can see how that
could be construed as gaslighting.
However, in this particular situation I know that the other friend, the newer friend,
they weren’t doing that with malicious intent.
They weren’t trying to emotionally invalidate somebody just to hurt them or just out of
needlessness but they were saying that maybe there’s other factors at play and whatever.
Perhaps we should not be commenting on people that we just have met on their emotional
status because we just don’t have enough information to do that but in this particular situation
I can see why one person was upset and I can also see how the other person just really
wasn’t thinking about it, how it was just something that they said, probably shouldn’t
have said but definitely wasn’t meant with ill intent.
So again, really important to understand gaslighting isn’t always about ill intent.
It is not always designed to hurt you.
Okay, so now we understand what gaslighting is, we understand how it hurts, how it feels
and makes you feel insane, we understand that this is a common practice in society and we
understand that gaslighting mostly I would say isn’t done with ill intent or malicious intent.
So let’s talk now about how to protect yourself from gaslighting.
One of the things that my experience with gaslighting just really showed me above many other
things in my life and like I have to say this is perhaps one of the spiritual lessons that
I was sent here to learn and that is how to trust myself.
At the time I did trust myself, I kept trying to trust myself and then I kept coming back
to this wall where I was being presented with something that just didn’t make any sense
to me, right?
And that is really crazy making and furating, horrible feeling.
But if I look back at that time, I was just letting words get in the way of what I already
knew.
I already knew it, I already saw it, I already had proof of it.
Why am I even asking a question?
Why are we even having this conversation?
Why am I giving this person the chance to say something that I know isn’t true?
Those are the things I would like to go back and ask myself at that point in time.
So I have to look back at that situation and see that I was still outsourcing my power.
I give myself grace from looking back at that particular moment in time because I was
still in love.
I was still in love.
I was still hurting for a long time.
I still at the core of me.
I think I wanted to believe the best about this person.
And so I was constantly in this wave of going in between trusting myself, knowing reality,
being pulled down into this life and then coming back out again.
And it was again, very confusing, disempowering and just not a fun place to be.
But again, I did not have to outsource that power.
I did not have to get sucked into this dance because like I said, I knew it from the beginning.
I knew it from day one.
I knew it from square one and me bringing it up and it wasn’t always me bringing it up by
the way.
But having that situation come up multiple times where this reality was denied multiple
times, I just did not have to be within that because I already knew the truth.
I already had it in my head.
And if I was able to trust myself, I would have taken myself out of quite a few disagreements
about it, right?
So in the end, that was just creating extra drama and stress in my life.
And I should have just trusted myself.
I still was trying to outsource power.
I was still trying to take at base value something, somebody that I loved.
I was trying to take that word, but I just, you know, it was not worth taking that word.
It was already over.
I just hadn’t, you know, I hadn’t been able to catch up to it at the time.
So that is the lesson that it brought to me.
But even more than that, I can now see what that feels like in my body.
I can see what that feels like when I’m getting into that inner conflict mode.
I know what that feels like now.
And if you have ever had the experience of gaslighting, you know what that’s like as well.
So I want you to think about a time in your life where you were experiencing gaslighting.
Come back to that situation with love.
Like, remember what that felt like and really think about what that feeling was like in
your body.
And me again, it was this emotional wave, an emotional roller coaster.
It was this feeling of tension.
I really just wanted this person to tell me the truth.
And obviously that was just not going to happen.
But I kept coming back to that.
I kept coming back to it over and over again.
So there’s this feeling of this dance of power inside of me, this emotional wave of going
in and out of it.
And now I know that if I feel those symptoms again, if I feel those emotions in that wave
and that struggle within my body, that is a pretty good sign that I’m being
gaslit because again, that is just showing me that I am having an argument within myself,
within my energy within my self trust.
And again, the most important lesson here is that we need to learn how to trust ourselves.
We need to stop outsourcing our power, stop giving so much weight to this other person and
start to trust ourselves above all else.
But finally, if you are recognizing this as coming up within you and mean this is so
situation dependent, but many times you’ve been in the same situation.
You can bring this up to this person.
So if it is something kind of minor, I would especially consider bringing this up.
You tell a friend how you’re feeling and that friend tells you, no, you’re not really upset
or a parent or whoever.
Can you bring up that situation and say to them something like, hey, look, the other day,
when I said this and you told me that I wasn’t really upset, it felt like you were gaslighting
me.
I just really need you to hold space for me.
You don’t have to agree with what I’m telling you, but you should not be trying to make
me question my own feelings or you should not be making me question my own reality.
Like that is a boundary.
I’m going to have to draw here.
It honestly depends on the person.
Of course, I know many of us are dealing with baby boomer parents that are very set in their
ways that might not be so receptive to thinking in a new way around emotions.
And that’s fine.
So it really depends on the situation and the person and the area where you can have this
conversation.
Another example, if you are going to the doctor and you have this recurrent symptom and
they keep telling you, you’re fine.
And I was going to say and making you drink tea, which is what they do here in Germany.
Yes.
If you go to the doctor and you are wanting antibiotics, they will tell you to go home and
drink tea.
That is something that happens a lot here.
So if you have been gassed by your doctor, you go home and you’re still having the symptoms
three days later and you have to go back, you can bring that up to them.
Again, maybe not with every doctor.
Perhaps not here in Germany at all.
But many times if you just tell them like, look, I’m here.
I have these symptoms and I really feel like you aren’t listening to me or you’re denying
the fact that I’m having them.
Sometimes they just need to get out of that mode and just get that little reminder.
They are supposed to be putting the patient first.
They are supposed to be prioritizing your health and your care above everything.
And I know that that’s idealistic and that isn’t what happens for many of us.
But sometimes people, even professionals, they need that reminder that they need to handle
the situation in a different way.
Okay.
So I hope this episode today has given you some tools, some new ways to think about gaslighting.
I hope this has inspired you to trust yourself above all else and to take action and to really
lean into that trust when you feel like you’re being gaslit.
Again, gaslighting is a huge phenomenon because so many people are doing it and sometimes
that includes us ourselves.
So be open to the idea that maybe you are accidentally gaslighting somebody else.
Try to look for that in your own behavior and clean that up where you can be open to
feedback around it because of course we’re all just learning and growing and sometimes
you say things without really thinking of the bigger picture.
So if this is happening to you, I am so sorry, I know that it sucks, but I hope that something
here today has illuminated something within yourself and at the very least reminded you
to trust yourself.
So that is it for today’s episode.
Thank you so much for being here.
My beautiful friend.
If you want to work with me and get some more healing tools every single month, then I
suggest you come over and join me in my Healed Membership program.
That is where I’m giving you workshops and tools for every aspect of your life from healing
your actions, attachment, style to creating self confidence and so much more.
So I’d love to see you inside over there and other than that, I’ll catch you back here
in next week’s episode.



Jenn Stevens The Self-Worth Project

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Episode #32: All About Gaslighting & How To Get Through It

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