It is Thanksgiving Day and you are celebrating it with your family. Everyone is sitting together on a large wooden table. They all brought their appetite and started eating in a rush. Then, they started to talk among themselves about what they are thankful for. Your mother is the center of attention because she is talking about her new job as a teacher assistant at your school. Then she makes a slight comment about you.
“Darling, Can you stop eating like a pig?”
You are so embarrassed that she ruins your appetite. You feel like you want to throw up because everyone at the table is against you. However, they are not. But this isn’t the only time she has made comments like that. She has made small remarks about you many times. For instance, “your friends only feel bad for you” or “you are so sensitive.” She keeps hurting you emotionally. These ladies and gentlemen are Gaslighting.
What is Gas Lighting?
Gas Lighting is an action someone does to make someone question how they see reality, memories, moral values, and sanity. It is a form of emotional manipulation and unfortunately, in some cases, it can turn violent. Here are signs that you might be gaslighted:
- Every time you are with that person; you feel small and ashamed
- At first, that person will treat you good but as time goes by it falls out
- They tell you that you are wrong if you don’t have the same point of view as them
- They tell you something multiple times that you start to believe it
- You question yourself
- You start to lose confidence
- You think you do everything wrong
- It starts with small comments but those comments grow over time
- You struggle to make decisions that make you rely on them
Who can be the Gaslighter?
You can be a gaslighter without noticing it. Also, if you tell a gaslighter that they are one of many gaslighters they will deny it completely. They will turn it against you. It can be a romantic partner which the victim most likely be a female. It can be a mother, father, sibling, cult leader, coworker, friend, or any family member.
The best way I can show what gaslighting is. It is by movie characters. We all know them and love them. However, some of these are gaslighters themselves. You watch them affect the other person emotionally or physically. Yet, you don’t know what the term is called. Keep in mind that there are spoiler alerts.
Gaslight (Gregory and Paula)
This 1944 movie is the second film that started the term gaslight. The film is about a young woman named Paula who wants to become an opera singer like her aunt. She is sent to Italy and falls in love with Gregory. They both move to London after they are recently married. Despite this, she begins to notice something strange about him. Gregory calls her crazy and changes her memories. To illustrate, he tells her that her mother died, and she was also demented. He controls and isolates her. He starts by being a kind gentleman however, he is a criminal mind. Paula gets her revenge after all that nonsense she went through. Just see the trailer yourself.
- He lies to her
- He is really sweet at first
- He changes her memories
- He calls her crazy
- He controls her (she can’t go to any event)
Tangled (Mother Gothel and Rapunzel)
This character scares most people because she is insane. Mother Gothel locks Rapunzel in a tower. She lies to her by telling her there are many dangerous things outside. For example, plague, snakes, and cannibals. Also, a “man with pointy teeth.” I know there are many dangerous things outside but I have never seen a man like that. To this point, Rapunzel can only dependent on Mother Gothel to take care of her. She lies to her by telling her she can leave at this age. She makes her feel down by calling her many bad things. The song “Mother Knows Best,” explains a Gaslighter mother.
- She makes her feel bad about herself
- She says she loves her but she can’t see her actual family or go outside
- She lies to her that outside in the world is dangerous
- She hurts her at the end
- She only wants her for her hair
- She makes her apologize for something she didn’t do
Midsommar (The Whole Cult and Dani)
The film may be a confusing cult movie but, it is about gaslighting and the main theme. Christian doesn’t want a relationship with Dani but feels bad for her. So he keeps dating her and they go to Sweden. They stop at a cult, and he is manipulative but doesn’t want her. He apologizes to her and includes her in the activities. So he isn’t a gaslighter as much as the cult members. They make her believe everything is okay, and she should not worry. Yes, an old couple fell off a cliff…pretty normal.
- Cults are dangerous to your mind
- They lied to her
- She wasn’t in her best state of mind which gaslighters take advantage of
Maybe not a movie character on the contract, many wish he was a fictional character. He kept repeating so many bad things that made me believe maybe I am a criminal. Here are some sweet tunes.
- He makes people feel small
- He repeats the same things
- He makes everyone you love against you
- He lies multiple times
What to do Next?
I hope you all have seen a pattern in classifying Gaslighters. I hope you help yourself, and others know the signs. If you are being gaslighted please go to a therapist and have someone be with you. If someone is there, they can help you emotionally. No matter who you are, everyone needs a therapist. It helps you with the most important organ in your body. Your mind. Taking care of it is as important as taking care of your physical self. The mind helps you taste, hear, listen, and move. (moving my hands sarcastically)Please go to other resources to help you understand more about this topic. God bless you.