Meaningful Life Coaching for Personal & Professional Growth

“I Have Been Gaslighted”

… You are being too sensitive / overreacting / dramatic / needy / insecure

… This is not a big deal, why are you always acting this way?

… I am sorry you felt this way

… You don’t remember, it never happened

… You are not making any sense

… I did this because I care for you

… You should have known how I would react

… It’s not that bad, other people have it much worse

… You are the issue, not me

… I was just joking


And the list could be continued with false promises, blame shifting, fact twisting and masking real negative attitude in the form of the jokes. At the fist glance these phrases look quite innocent, but you put them in the right context and make them as a communication pattern of your boss/partner/colleague/friend behavior and you end up in a rather toxic relationship.

I am writing this post as I have been receiving lots of messages from my clients recently, that they have been gaslighted, especially at the workplace. The problem is that many of us still struggle to recognize gaslighting and identify it at the right time, rather we are are left anxious and confused of what has gone wrong. We end up not knowing that we have been gaslighted or we do not even know that we are gaslighting someone right now…

What is #gaslighting?

The film “Gaslight,” directed by George Cukor in 1944, is a classic portrayal of gaslighting in a relationship. Paula has been manipulated by her husband Gregory and his tactic. He makes Paula believe she is going insane by dimming and brightening the gaslights at home and then convincing her that she’s imagining these things.

Gaslighting makes you feel confused with your own self and makes you doubt your perceptions of reality, you might feel guilty more than usual, question your own thoughts and emotions, as you have been consistently invalidated by the gaslighter and somehow convinced that you are not thinking clearly or exaggerating things.

Gaslighting comes in many subtle shapes and forms. In its pure form it is a psychological manipulation, which could be intentional and not. Once being exposed to gaslighting and not being aware of it – we can unconsciously pick up these tactics and use them as a coping or defense mechanism in the future.

It is easier to shift the blame and tell your side of the story instead of taking time to talk things through and making an effort to understand and validate another person perception. Why? Because “being right” is a “feel good” factor, that we really like.

Gaslighting seems alarmingly common in professional settings with such factors as competition, power dynamic and hierarchies. It can be expressed in the downplay of your achievements, in questioning your professionalism and contributions, in taking credit for your work or even in facts’ twisting and selective memory of the past events.

After studying this subject more, I have realized that unfortunately I have been also using gaslighting vocabulary in the past without being aware and at the same time I dealt with people who gaslighted me. It is tremendously important to understand and be aware of our communication style and the underlying intentions behind our words to avoid this subtle but sometimes detrimental experience.

So…. How do you deal with gaslighting?

If you have been a victim of gaslighting or you simply want to become more aware about yourself and your social environment and learn how to cope with gaslighting in your case, please check out my coaching solutions page and book a 15 minutes free call to tell me about your situation and develop a coping strategy and action plan together