Gaslighting can be extremely emotionally exhausting and manipulative. It can also be very hard to pinpoint. Those who use gaslighting as a technique to control others do it very slowly over time, so those on the receiving end struggle to ‘see’ what is really going on. It makes the victim question their reality and doubt their instincts, and increasingly think everything is their fault. This is a very serious issue, and can be very harmful to your mental state.
Not sure you’re being gaslighted? Telltale signs are: Blatant lies, saying something then pretending they never said it (such as telling you something when you’re alone only to deny it in a group meeting), constant negative feedback interspersed with random positivity to confuse you, telling you other people have made comments or said something about you (but never telling you who), and being defensive by saying things like “you’re so emotional” or “Don’t you think you’re being irrational”.
Manage it: Don’t confront your employer directly as they will simply feel threatened. Minimise contact and remember to trust your instincts. Put your foot down if you have to. Always record down everything when you do have to speak to him or her, such as what was said and what the situation was, so you can refer back to your notes to set the record straight.
Unfortunately, these are stopgap measures. The best way to handle this, and to regain your sanity, is to get a new job, pronto. If you have an exit interview with HR, be sure to be as honest as you can. You never know who else has reported this person and it may help open management’s eyes.
Text: Nicola Watson/HerWorld