The undermining of another person’s feelings, or creating doubts in another person’s mind about themselves, is called gaslighting. This is a serious form of emotional abuse. The gaslighted are those who are manipulated into becoming the opposite of how they basically are as people.
Some gaslighters do it intentionally while some do it out of habit, not knowing how their words are affecting the other person’s wellbeing. Sometimes, gaslighters are those who have been gaslighted all their lives and, therefore, subconsciously do the same to others in order to feel ‘in control’ or ‘powerful’.
In life, we encounter different types of people at school, family parties, holy places, clubs, etc. As I was born to be rebellious, I would naturally tend to do things differently and would often be asked the question, ‘What do you think of yourself?’ followed by ‘you cannot do it this way’, or ‘don’t do it if you don’t know how to do it’, etc. Everyone seemed to know it all. These were some of the reasons why I began lacking confidence in myself, which resulted in me doubting my self-worth for a quite a while.
Some people probably thought it was a joke but sadly, their words stuck with me and gave me such low confidence that I could barely introduce myself without a pounding heart. Stage fright was another thing I developed over the years due to this. Even if I thought I could do something, I would feel that I was capable of screwing it up. This is how the both are linked: gaslighting and low self esteem.
This is something I wrote for the gaslighters, intentional or unintentional, in my life…
Then, after I became a mom, I automatically began believing in myself, accepting my capabilities and embracing all my inner qualities. The way my daughter looked up to me made me confident that I was capable of bringing up a good individual. I was a tigress who was an expert at protecting her cub. I was gifted with numerous abilities. I was brave enough to ignore the negative vibes around me. What other proof did I need to believe I possessed all the qualities of a confident young woman?
What I learnt from this episode was that we are capable of gaslighting someone without our knowledge, especially if we have the habit of not thinking before we speak. So, it’s always better to think before you speak to anyone, particularly your loved ones. Having said this, I hope I haven’t by chance gaslighted anyone in my life because that is something I would never do intentionally. If I did, I hope this post inspires them to forgive me.
Do you have any gaslighters who made you feel you were incapable of doing things right? Or make you feel you are imagining things? Think hard and tell us in the comments below.
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :)
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