As I muddle through the dramatic encounter I had with the “sociopath”, I am reminded of a few things. It had me thinking of of not only familial and romantic relationships; but even more so, race relations and how we in today’s society the victim is made to believe that he/she of such said event is “crazy” themselves and it’s absurd to even implicate the offender with any sort or role in an egregious act. But I’ll touch on race at a different time…
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?” Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.
When a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath gaslights you, you may be prone to gaslighting yourself as a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that might arise. Two conflicting beliefs battle it out: is this person right or can I trust what I experienced? A manipulative person will convince you that the former is an inevitable truth while the latter is a sign of dysfunction on your end.
In order to resist gaslighting, it’s important to ground yourself in your own reality – sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having a validating community is that it can redirect you from the distorted reality of a malignant person and back to your own inner guidance.
So as I move happily, yet cautiously through my life I take heed to this and remember my footing on this topic.
With love, honesty and a thankfully quiet existence.