What Is the Meaning of Gaslighting: Signs & Symptoms of This Mental Abuse That Made It to the List of Oxford’s Words of the Year 2018

By | November 21, 2018
What Is the Meaning of Gaslighting: Signs & Symptoms of This Mental Abuse That Made It to the List of Oxford’s Words of the Year 2018

What is gaslighting? (Photo Credit: oxforddictionaries.com)

Every year the Oxford Dictionaries are updated with new words. The Dictionaries choose new words annually in accordance with the occurrences in the world. The list of words this year- 2018 happens to be quite negative. The word that was hailed as the word of the year was ‘toxic’ and runners-up were Gaslighting, Big Dick Energy (BDE), Cakeism, Gammon, Incel, Orbiting, Overtourism andTechlash. ‘Toxic’ Is Oxford Dictionary’s Word of 2018: Know the 8 Words Shortlisted for the Word of Year.

What is Gaslighting? Background

While all the words really describe the year more or less, it is the word ‘gaslighting’ that I believe that needs to be given attention to. According to Oxforddictionary.com gaslighting is ‘The action of manipulating someone by psychological means into accepting a false depiction of reality or doubting their own sanity.’The terms come from a1938 play ‘Gas Light by Patrick Hamilton’ and were made famous by Oscar-winning 1944 film of the same title starring Ingrid Bergman – in which a man manipulates his wife into believing that she is going insane. Gaslighting is real and psychologists believe that it is an emotional abuse that has the potential of damaging someone’s mental health completely.

Here are a few signs that you may be gaslighted by someone in your personal life of professional life

Feeling of Sadness- If you see that you are unhappy most of the times you might want to sit and retrospect. While it could be for other reasons too but if a person constantly makes you sad and you see the other signs along with unhappiness you must think regardless.

Threats- If you feel threatened all the time by someone you may be gaslighted. Your abuser will look to threaten you while he is trying to gaslight you. He/She might even blame you for something wrong happening in their life and blame it totally on you very tactfully.

Hampered self-esteem- The feeling that it’s your fault all the time, takes a toll on your mental health and self-esteem as The abuser will make sure that you feel that you are lacking all the time. You might start thinking twice before speaking something or believe that you are worthless.

Disturbed decision-making skills-A lot of confusion about your own sanity will overtake and the confusion will lead to an inability to make decisions. You might start making wrong decisions because baseless, manipulative thoughts have sabotaged your decision-making skills.

Confusion- Are you catching yourself consistently blaming yourself? This will only lead to you feeling so low that you will remain confused most of the times. Even when it comes to things that are really petty you’ll have a confused mind which your abuser will use to question your sanity.

Feeling guilty all the time- Probably the most common sign is a constant feeling of guilt. Ask yourself, have you become too apologetic lately? Feeling of guilt hovering around you all the time is a huge sign that you are being gaslighted.

If you relate to any of the signs mentioned above or simply all of them you might want to meet a psychologist and seek help.

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