Personal relationships can sometimes be complicated and cause self-esteem problems in people who are involved in them. This may be due to different factors such as the environment, certain specific circumstances or also due to the fault of one of the two people involved in the couple.
These types of manipulative strategies sometimes take their toll on the relationship, but, many times, we are not really able to distinguish them. One of the best known in this regard is gaslighting, a phenomenon that is currently widespread.
But do you know what gaslighting is? What are your techniques? If it sounds familiar, but you are not very clear about it, don’t worry because we are going to solve all your doubts below.
What is gaslighting?
You may have heard this term before, but perhaps you are not quite sure what it refers to. The truth is that gaslighting is a manipulation strategy that usually occurs within romantic relationships, although it can also occur in other types of relationships such as friendships.
The objective of this strategy is to make the other person doubt what is happening, what he or she has said or even his or her memory. That is why this strategy usually ends up giving rise to self-esteem problems in the person who is being affected by this technique and can end up breaking the emotional ties between the two people when they realize everything.
Stages of gaslighting
This process usually occurs through a series of stages that are those through which the person who is suffering this type of manipulation goes through and they are:
1. Initial shock
When it all starts, the natural reaction of the affected person is to feel disbelief about what is happening or to not realize what is happening. In many cases it takes time to become aware of the other person’s abuse.
2. Defense against attack
During the second stage, the person begins to be aware of the situation and of certain incongruities, so he/she looks for ways to defend him/herself against it. This means that, in many cases, manipulation is intensified with the aim of stopping the victim’s defense.
3. Learned helplessness
Finally, there comes a point where many people assume that what the manipulative person does and says is the right thing to do and so they incorporate it into their discourse. Something that ends up leading to problems of self-confidence and other emotional problems that cause them unhappiness.
What are the people who make gaslighting like?
Now that you know a little more about this strategy, it is important that you learn to detect the most common signs and strategies of gaslighting. Only in this way will you be able to stop the process at the slightest sign that you are suffering in your own flesh.
To do so, we explain what people who engage in this type of manipulation usually do.
1. They are not congruent with their actions.
Most of the people who engage in this type of behavior do not usually show congruence between what they say and what they do. This means that the person going through this process does not know how to predict his or her behavior or how to behave in order to avoid possible problems derived from his or her behavior.
2. They always rely on lies
Another common resource of this type of person is the use of lies in order to make the other person distrust what he/she is doing and how he/she is doing it. Even if there is evidence that something did not happen, they will continue to support their arguments until they get what they want.
These types of behaviors are very similar to those emitted by toxic people.
3. They despise their partner
Contempt for what their partner wants to do, what they are interested in or what they are achieving in their life is also very common, since in this way they acquire power over them. But, on the other hand, the victim may become deeply discouraged and may even rethink his or her goals and priorities.
That is why it is important that, once the relationship is over, the affected person begins to work on certain strategies that will allow him/her to improve his/her self-esteem and be happier.
4. They constantly attack others
Not only do they despise what their partner does, but they also look for ways to constantly attack them and then offer them their arms as a safe haven. This way you show them that you are there to help them in case they need it and that you are one of the few people they can trust.
5. They use the double bind
Another technique widely used in gaslighting is to use a double-binding strategy. This means that, whatever he or she does, the person being manipulated will be punished because it will be frowned upon by the manipulator.
It is a method of undermining their confidence and making them think that their behaviors are inappropriate while at the same time confusing them. In turn, it is one of the most commonly used strategies in this type of process.
6. Questioning of basic capabilities.
Phrases such as: “You don’t understand anything” “This is not how it happened”, etc. They are also very common in this type of relationship. What they are looking for during these processes is to make the other person question his or her own abilities in order to be able to control him or her to a greater extent.
Something that also ends up having a considerable influence on the other person’s state of mind.
We hope that these features have helped you to understand a little more about how this type of process works and that you know how to detect it if at some point you begin to suffer from it. In any case, if you believe this to be the case, we recommend that you contact a professional who can advise you.