Gaslighting (Word For The Week)
Gaslighting means to manipulate someone psychologically, making them question their own sanity, particularly by leading them to doubt their own experiences or perceptions of reality.
Gaslight is a word I read on one of my recent reads, but it is something I have witnessed being done repeatedly. It is easy to assume we are all normal, but it is tricky recognizing the psychopaths amidst us.
You have a friend or acquaintance. You are used to seeing them being “happy go lucky”. You hardly meet them without a smile on their face. Their confidence is noticeable from a mile away. Their optimism is contagious.
Within a short while, they begin to be withdrawn. Always second-guessing themselves. Can hardly be caught with a smile. Seem scared of something. Before or after this, you find out there is someone new in their life.
Someone they look up to. Someone they trust. Someone whose approval they always seek. And this someone is psychologically manipulating them. Making them lose their essence, pointing out their flaws, giving them reason to doubt themselves.
In a short while, your friend is a shadow of themselves. You’ve lost the person you use to know. Their body is still present, but the person you have come to love and respect is no longer in that body. What do you do?
I have seen the result of physical abuse on people around me, and I’ve also seen the consequences of emotional and psychological abuse. I can tell you that neither is better.
It hurts to see someone you use to know disappear right before you. And I have chosen to never stand by and watch it happen again.
First, understand yourself. Irrespective of what whoever is saying, you’ve got “sauce”. You might be blind to it, but you’ve got something that the world desires. If the person claiming to love you cannot see it, or is trying to suppress it, then they don’t deserve you.
No one should ever be able to talk you out of attempting to achieve your dreams. No one should be talking down at you. No one is allowed to always end every encounter with you leaving you sad and discouraged.
If they are not constantly applauding you, if they are not encouraging you as much as they critique you, if they do not believe in you, if all you ever dream of doing never makes sense to them, what are you still doing with them?
Two cannot walk together except they agree. Be not unequally yoked. Don’t agree with your tormentor that it is alright to keep you down. Don’t give someone a pivotal role in your life and allow them to dim your light.
All of this may not be for you. You may be living your best life right now. But I need you to look around you. Do you know someone who needs an awakening?
Darling, you are perfect. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a wonder to science. You are crafted so uniquely that there is no copy of you, present anywhere else. Don’t allow anyone to dim your shine.
Don’t trade your best version for a version that someone else says “it’s okay, I’ll manage you like that”.
If someone is going to decide what you do next and how you do it, I think the fact that you’ve survived this long has earned you the right to decide your next step.
You will no longer be a victim of someone else’s gaslighting. It is time you’ll put on your flame, raise your lamp high, and shine bright like the star you are meant to be.