What Are the Common Patterns of Gaslighting That You Should Look Out For?
It is important to be on the lookout for patterns of gaslighting in your relationships, as, unfortunately, they are much more common than you might think. Have you ever been made to question your judgment, and did you feel disempowered? It's important to protect oneself from emotionally abusive behavior, and one can start by identifying common patterns of gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation when your judgment or intentions are systematically questioned. This is a vicious way of controlling you so that your concerns won't be valid anymore. It ensures that the gaslighter doesn't need to take ownership or accountability, since that may feel too threatening to them as it often equals rejection or abandonment. Generally, a victim can recognize that they are being gaslit if they notice certain behavioral patterns.
What Are the Common Patterns of Gaslighting?
How do you tell if someone is gaslighting you? Some things that a gaslighter may say are: "You are so insecure," "You are overacting," "There you go again." These statements alone aren’t necessarily a reflection of gaslighting. These are the times when the gaslighter uses a methodical approach to undermine your confidence in your own judgment so that they won't take you seriously and exert control over you.
One of the most common patterns of gaslighting is invalidation. Everything you say or share is discounted and considered insignificant. Your needs and preferences are not taken care of. Even if you make a confident choice, you are made to question your decisions again and again until you let go of your belief system.
Another common pattern of gaslighting is love bombing. They may shower you with excessive love and affection in the beginning to ensure that you remain close to them, even if you experience emotional abuse. A lot of victims justify their partner's behavior by saying that they are not always like that or that it is their way of expressing love.
How Common Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is common, but it can only happen when you allow it to happen, which is when you start to abandon your own viewpoint or judgment. The point with any kind of manipulation is not whether the statements are true or not, but it’s whether they’re unconsciously used to make the other person insecure about themselves.
A lot of times, the patterns of gaslighting go unreported. People think that there is no way out of these relationships. In reality, you can work with a professional to break free from these patterns. Individuals with narcissism are more likely to gaslight their partners.
Gaslighting can be tricky to identify and also exists outside of romantic relationships. You may have family members who question all your thoughts and beliefs or you may work for an organization that may withhold information that hinders your growth. On a bigger level, patterns of gaslighting also exist in society.
By recognizing patterns of gaslighting, you empower yourself to step out of toxic relationships. Breaking away from any relationship can be difficult, but staying in one that challenges your beliefs, identity, and values as a person is a relationship not worth pursuing.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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