“Gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss” is the popular meme you may have seen circulating the internet for a bit. Knowyourmeme.com states the meme’s origin comes from a 2021 Tumblr post that was making fun of “live, laugh, love.” The meme has expanded into merchandise including a viral tapestry featuring singers Taylor Swift, Lorde and Phoebe Bridgers. Wellandgood.com says the term gaslighting has been used in the world of psychology for years, but the term garnered traction around 2018. The term has been misused and some people might not know exactly when gaslighting is happening, so what is it exactly?
What is gaslighting?
According to the Newport Institute, gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the manipulator attempts to make their victim believe what’s happening to them isn’t actually happening and their reality is untrue.
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Where did the term gaslighting come from?
The Newport Institute says the origin of the word gaslighting comes from the 1938 play “Angel Street.” Alfred Hitchcock eventually turned the play into the 1944 film “Gaslight.” The story follows a man convincing his wife she is going crazy so he can steal from her. When he turns on the lights in the attic to look for his wife’s jewels, the gas light downstairs starts to dim. He tells his wife it’s all in her imagination, gaslighting her into believing the lights were not dimming.
Signs of gaslighting
Verywellmind.com says there are many signs of gaslighting that include but are not limited to:
- You doubt your feelings of reality
- You question your judgement and perceptions
- You feel vulnerable and insecure
- You feel alone and powerless
- You wonder if you are what they say you are
- You are disappointed in yourself and who you have become
- You feel confused
- You worry that you are too sensitive
- You have a sense of impending doom
- You spend a lot of time apologizing
- You feel inadequate
- You second-guess yourself
- You assume others are disappointed in you
- You wonder what’s wrong with you
- You struggle to make decisions because you distrust yourself
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How to address and respond to gaslighting
Responding to gaslighting can be difficult, but Healthline offers eight ways to properly respond:
- Make sure it’s actually gaslighting
- Take some space from the situation
- Collect evidence
- Speak up about the behavior
- Remain confident in your version of the events
- Focus on self-care
- Involve others
- Seek professional support