Gaslighting and Not Letting People Bring You Down
Gaslighting is an emotional warfare technique whereby someone tries to make you feel worthless by talking your successes into failures. Stand up to it.
Sometimes it can be difficult to feel happy when there are people out there who are actively trying to prevent that from happening. Sometimes, in order to stop you from achieving your aims, they try to hem you in with negativity. They might even end up getting downright nasty.
It could be a so-called friend (more likely, a frenemy) jealous of your recent success and trying to detract from your achievement. It could be frustrated friends and family undermining you, whether they realise it or not, because you’re not following their idea of what your life plan should be. It could be the partner who tells you you’re a bit silly, or ever so bad at A or B, and that you shouldn’t even try. The bad news is that some people will sometimes try to bring you down. Like, you know, on purpose. The good news is they don’t have to succeed. If you take some steps to remain objective and assertive you should be able to rise above the flames like a phoenix.
The first step is considering why someone would want to bring you down in the first place. The answer is usually and probably jealousy. Someone envies you and rather than using this as determination to get what they want, they seem to think it’s easier to drag you back down to their level. You’re in a position someone wants; you have something they want or you’ve been where they want to go. This is good news for you: whatever it is you have that they are jealous of is clearly something worth having and you should be pleased with that. The intention of this step is to remind you that there are many good aspects in your life; hopefully by now you’ve worked out why people are jealous of you and you’re feeling good about the things you’ve done to get yourself into a position others envy.
One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling down is to write a list of all the good things in your life.
“Gaslighting” is a negative emotional tactic used by someone to assume power over you. The name stems from the film “Gaslight”, whereby Ingmar Bergman plays a woman whose husband is trying to con into thinking she’s crazy…
When you’ve worked out why you’re in this situation, it’s time to consider what would happen if you were to let someone else bring you down. For example, let’s say your friend is jealous because you got a good grade in your last essay. They try and tell you it’s only a one-off because they wanted to do as well as you or that their mark was better because they feel threatened by your improvement. It may be a subconscious effort but they’re essentially trying to install a false memory in you, attempting to turn your experience of success into a feeling of having failed; this is an emotional tactic known as gaslighting. If you start to believe what they’re saying, you’re agreeing with them that you haven’t actually achieved anything and now you don’t have anything to be happy about because you’ve gone and devalued yourself. You don’t want to lose a reason to feel good about yourself so don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough.
Yes. Feeling small. We’ve all been there. Let’s not go there again.
Finally: fight back! No, I’m not talking about physical or underhanded retaliation. No punching, and no stooping to their level of nastiness. Instead, question them. When they tell you you’re not good enough, ask them why. Give them a reason why you are more than good enough. Call them out, ask them whether they intend to make you miserable and if so why: make them know that you’re aware of your self-worth in the area they’re trying to belittle. Say someone’s attacking your appearance: they’re attacking you not because you are ugly or fat, but because they feel that way about themselves and when you point that out to them, it really throws them off-guard. If your bid to be assertive turns into an argument, make sure you argue like an adult.
At the end of the day, only you have true power over your own emotions. If you let someone else lower you to their own level, you’re giving them a power that should be yours alone.
Don’t make yourself miserable; harsh words can’t hurt you unless you let them.
You’re awesome. This gentleman is telling you so. BELIEVE HIS FINGER.
Tagged in: everyday sexism