Thursday, December 8, 2011

Signs That You Might Be Subject to Gaslighting

Do you feel that something is very wrong, but you just don't know what is going on?  Do you feel like you should not have any cause for concern, but you still feel sad, hopeless, joyless, confused, or numb?

Do you find yourself second guessing yourself, lacking confidence, or always apologizing?  Do you frequently ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?"  Do you withhold information to avoid conflict?  Do you feel like you're "bad" if you voice concerns?

Do you wonder whether you are "good enough," or fear that you are not doing enough?  Do you obsess over what you could possibly have done wrong in anticipation of error (what some authors call "predicting fear")?

Do you demand perfection from yourself?  Do you base your choices on what will please others, even though this may not be your own choice or might even be a choice you find unpleasant?

Do you have a great deal of difficulty making even simple decisions, and does the process produces a great deal of anxiety for you?

Do family members offer perceptions of you that differ dramatically from your own perception of self?  Do they insist that you adopt and share their opinions, even though you don't? 

Does your family accuse you of behavior or attitudes that you don't believe that you have?  Does your family treat you as though you were stuck in your childhood role, as though you'd never grown up?  Do you find yourself defending your perceptions?

Do family members put you down or find other ways of treating you with contempt, either in front of other people or when the two of you are alone?   Do you find yourself repeating explanations about why you feel the way that you do, obsessing with anxiety and frustration as you try to prove to others that you are right?

Do others use silence, guilt, blame, shame, obligation or fear, either to get their way or to punish you when your behavior displeases them?  Are you threatened with displays of anger?  Do you find yourself feeling fearful in their presence or at the thought of them?

Do you feel mocked or teased, and are these responses downplayed when you express your pain or embarrassment? Is there any name-calling or exaggeration of matters, introduced in such a way that helps them win the argument?

Do they threaten to abandon you?  Are criticisms introduced to evoke shame to shift the focus off of matters that are important to you onto your unrelated or peripherally related past faults or errors?   Do they invoke your worst fears about yourself? 

Do you find that you are required to consider only the other person's feelings at the expense of your own?  Could you be mistaking the other party's sorrow, anger or frustration incorrectly, attributing them as true regret and contrition?

Do you experience feelings of dread, heightened sensations, or physical complaints when thinking about or while actively facing the conflict?  Are you having sleep disturbances or bad dreams?

Does they use your ideals against you?   ("Isn't our relationship about unconditional love?" or "Aren't we called to be patient and forgiving with one another?"  "Honor thy father and thy mother."  "Submit, woman!")  Are these arguments offered to you in a context where you cannot easily respond? 

Are matters framed as no win situations for you so that you are "damned if you do and damned if you don't"?

Does they make you doubt your own perceptions, memory, or sense of reality?  ("I never said that, you must have imagined it."  "Don't you remember promising me...."  "Everyone thought you were laughable and were embarrassed for you.")  Do you ever have problems recalling the details of events regarding what transpired during a conflict or over disputed events?

Do you defend them to convince yourself and others of how good the troubled relationship really is?  Do you avoid friends or the discussion of the your relationship with others? 

  Do you feel that you are tolerating treatment that compromises your integrity?  Are you under pressure to always be in agreement with everyone ("The Urge to Merge")?  Are your differences in perspective or convictions always defined as sinful when they don't conform the desired standard, even if they are not issues of morality but merely reflect personal preference?

Is everything that happens in the relationship interpreted as all your doing while everyone else seems free of responsibility for the cause or source of conflict or problems? 

Is it unthinkable to consider that he is unreasonable and impossible to please as opposed absorbing all of the blame for conflict? 

Do you try to convince yourself that you are unaffected or should not be affected by another person's behavior under the guise of automatic forgiveness and unconditional love?