Maha Monday Column + Video: What is Gaslighting & breaking the cycle of shame

At Chai Latte Diaries, I am asked to explain what is ‘gaslighting’, one of the more insidious forms of emotional violence:

The effects on the gaslightee are:

– To doubt their judgments, everything which they are feeling, everything which they perceive, including their own memory.

– To internalize these doubts and lose their sense of self. Meaning, the gaslightee stops knowing who they are, because they are constantly being told their awareness and perceptions are wrong.

– Extreme anxiety and confusion due to this inability to trust their perceptions, emotions, judgments, and memories.

– Deep shame for several reasons, most notable of which are (1) inside of the relationship when the person believes that they are in fact “crazy” (STOP USING THIS WORD, Y’ALL!) and they doubt everything which they feel and perceive; and, (2) outside of the relationship once they have been able to exit safely, because they have had to recognize, and then accept that they were victims of abuse. Unfortunately, in today’s North American sensibilities, too many remain inelegant to accept the victim’s reality without faulting the victim. Too many are quick to ask ‘why didn’t you just leave as soon as it started?’, or ‘I mean, you must have known. Take responsibility…’

In the video, I discuss victim shaming and how it keeps individuals inside of violent abusive relationships.

Comments here closed; all (private and public) comments welcome over at Chai Latte Diaries.