Features Wednesday, June 03, 2015 - 05:30
  Have you heard of the term gaslighting? You might not have heard about it, but unknowingly you might have become a victim or even unleashed manipulative behaviour on someone and therefore turned into a "gaslighter". A mental health abuse term, the word Gaslighting is used to describe manipulative behaviour in a relationship, which is meant to make the victim doubt themselves, to a degree where they no longer know, how they feel or what they believe and may even wonder, if they have gone crazy. An effective form of emotional abuse, victims end up questioning their own rationality, feelings and trust, which puts the abusive partner in the upper hand.  The name comes from the 1944 American movie Gaslight, where the husband manipulates his wife into believing that she has gone mentally insane. Setting his eyes on his wife’s jewellery, one of the ways he goes out about this among a host of other activities, is by making the gas lights flicker on and off. When his wife reacts to it, he tells her she’s imagining it. In this Oscar winning movie,the woman is made to believe that all that she sees is a figment of her imagination – the basis of what is known today as “gaslighting”. A gaslighting relationship goes through three stages, says author and pyschoanalyst Robin Stern, Ph.D . First is "disbelief" when the victim ignores the strange behaviours of the abuser in the relationship saying that “that’s just how they are” or consider it a strange behaviour. The next stage comes when the victims begins to confront the abuser, but in return only receives manipulative statements like “you’re overreacting” or “it’s only because I love you” or “if you love me you’ll do this”. The final stages comes when the victim falls into depression, where neither their victim sees them as they were nor do the victims recognize their own situation. From her report, read these signs to find out if you are a victim of Gaslighting:  1.       You often feel confused and even crazy at work. 2.       You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend, boss. 3.       You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier. 4.       You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family. 5.       You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses. 6.       You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists. 7.       You have trouble making simple decisions. 8.       You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, and more relaxed. 9.       You feel as though you can’t do anything right. 10.   You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.  
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