Gaslighting in the family: how to recognize it and how to deal with it

No.not just in pairs, family gaslighting exists and is more harmful (and sneaky) than we think

Doubting reality and oneself, questioning every thought and action: it is the gaslighting, a very subtle form of manipulation that takes place much more often than we think, but this doesn’t just happen within relationships. Even the gaslighting in the family it is something incredibly frequent, and indeed the fact that it comes from the closest people makes it even more insidious.

Regarded as a real one shape of violence psychological, gaslighting acts in a subtle way and recognizing its dynamics is not always easy, especially because they involve important feelings and bonds.

What is gaslighting

The word “gaslighting” originates from a George Cukor film. It is about Gaslight a 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the feature film Gregory, played by Boyer, pushed his wife Paula, to whom Bergman lent her face, to believe you are crazy. By secretly stealing the family jewels and altering the gas lamp light. When the woman realizes the dimming of the lamps, he makes her think that it is only her imagination. Paula begins to doubt herself and her judgments about her, coming to believe that she is crazy.


What are the typical messages of a manipulator?

Gaslighting refers to one form of psychological manipulation and abuse that leads a person to doubt their thoughts and perception of reality. What makes this phenomenon dangerous, both as a couple and in the family, is the fact that it is a violence that it is not obvious and easily recognizable. Rather, it is insidious, hidden and underhanded, occurring in the form of false statements and assertions that are presented to the victim by the abuser as truths. This over time leads to creating a relationship of dependence where the ability to

How to recognize gaslighting in the family

Gaslighting exploits manipulative behaviors and strategies to keep the other tied up and can manifest itself – as we have already underlined – in different types of relationships. This form of control is so subtle that those who suffer it often do not notice it, moreover it manifests itself in many different ways with often particularly “subtle” techniques.

Among the methods used in gaslighting we find devaluation. The person therefore uses irony to criticize you, starting in a subtle way and then coming to openly discredit you, completely undermining your self-esteem. He questions the your intelligence and honestyyour judgment and your morality, leading you to doubt yourself.

In other cases whenever you are about to give in or to rebel, you get overwhelmed by praise and words of affection, cuddles that force you to take a step back and accept what is asked of you. The manipulator can totally deny reality, leading you to believe that you have a bad memory or too much imagination, but also verbally assault you, shifting the focus of the discussion to other issues and forcing you to defend yourself against accusations.

Finally you may suffer a “punitive” silence: a lack of communication that will arrive every time you do not yield to the requests made, the so-called “treatment of silence”. This technique, in particular, is not only subtle, but also very annoying for the victim. You will find yourself, unwittingly, apologizing for something you did not do, taking on blame and submitting to the will of the other with no more defenses.

What are micromanipulations and how are they recognized?


What are micromanipulations and how are they recognized?

Why family gaslighting hurts so much

Gaslighting is a problem that is often encountered in couples, but it can also be suffered immediately in family. For example, in the bond between a child and an authoritarian or overprotective parent. In these cases, a relationship is created that is based on a sense of guilt, de-empowerment and a excessive and suffocating sense of protection.

Fear and guilt are the weapons – sometimes unconscious – used by the mother or father to keep the child tied to him. You could be a victim of gaslighting if your interests and skills are underestimated and denigrated by the family. But even if you are blamed for non-existent faults, such as preventing your mother from fulfilling her youthful dream or leading to the end of the marriage with your father. Insecurity, low self-esteem, poor trust in one’s own judgments these are just some of the consequences of gaslighting in the family.

Gaslinghting in the family is very insidious because while as a couple we have the possibility of ending the relationship, cutting ties with your family is generally much more difficult.

How to get out of it

L’self-esteem it is your superpower, which is the weapon that will allow you to defeat gaslighting. If you understand that you are a victim of this type of manipulation in the family, start working on yourself. Develop awareness of who you are, your abilities and your potential, stop underestimating yourself and convincing yourself that others should always tell you what you want and what you can do.

If you realize you are being manipulated, talk about it. You can confide in a friend or someone you trust, ask for an opinion and start considering the possibility of see a therapist. Talking about it with a psychologist will help you identify the dynamics that keep you connected to the other person and will allow you, step by step, to rebuild love and security towards you. The goal is to start from you to understand that you are worth and that, even if it will be difficult, you can manage to overcome everything.

Gaslighting in the family: how to recognize it and how to deal with it