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Gaslighting: Just the facts

Gaslighting is when someone makes a victim question their own reality or sanity.

Gaslighting can take many forms, for example:

  • Trying to convince someone they are wrong when they aren’t
  • Denying that something happened, or was said, when it was
  • Telling someone that they are ‘crazy’, or that everyone else is a liar, to make them question what’s real and what isn’t
  • Accusing someone of doing something that never happened

If gaslighting happens over a long period of time it can make people start to doubt themselves and their ideas about what is real and what isn’t, having an impact on self-confidence and esteem. An abuser might use their victim’s confusion or lack of confidence to make it easier to control them. This is why repeated gaslighting is a serious form of emotional abuse.

Someone might not realise that they are gaslighting another person. This can be the case if they have insecurities about being wrong or have trouble admitting that they are wrong. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognise the signs of gaslighting and address them.

What should I do?

If you feel as though you are the victim of gaslighting it’s important to do something about it, no matter if it’s intentional or not.

It might help to talk to a friend or trusted adult about what you’re experiencing, talking to multiple people and getting different perspectives on the situation could help too.

If you think that what’s happening is being done to control you, this is not ok and you should seek help. There are many free support services for those affected by emotional abuse. You can:

It’s important to look after your mental health and self-esteem if you have been affected by gaslighting or any form of emotional abuse, here are some tips.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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