i’ve heard it a million times
i couldn’t possibly be wrong
it keeps spinning back and forth
in my head
in my heart
in my being.
i knew it, i couldn’t be wrong
don’t tell me i’m goin’ crazy
it keeps coming back and forth
why doesn’t the phone ring stop?
i’ve pressed all buttons.
no, i’m not delusional
no, i’m not crazy
no, i’m not paranoid
how dare you call me one
in names, i am not
i’ve heard it and i knew it to be true.
you’ve insisted it’s me being paranoid
with the phone
or the surroundings
or the people around.
so you took your hands off me
after all, how could you possibly
be with someone whose
but really, it’s true
why doesn’t the phone ring stop?
i’ve pressed all buttons
you refused to believe
just as you refuse
to see where
i am coming from
in my agony.
Gaslighting has become the latest emotional abuse trend. I wanted to call it a trend because I had never heard about it before.
Gaslighting, according to the dictionary, is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. Sounds terrible, right? But this happens to many; some don’t know their partners are gaslighting them. Unfortunately, the one gaslighting you may not also be aware of their behavior, and if they are, they refuse to believe.
In relationships, an abusive person may use gaslighting to isolate their partner, undermine their confidence, and make them easier to control. For example, they might tell someone they are irrational until the person starts to think it must be true. Sounds familiar?
Here is an interesting article about gaslighting that might help you process or deal with the abuse and hopefully quickly leave the situation. (https://www.healthline.com/health/gaslighting)
Someone who’s gaslighting might:
- insist you said or did things you know you didn’t do
- deny or scoff at your recollection of events
- call you “too sensitive” or “crazy” when you express your needs or concerns
- express doubts to others about your feelings, behavior, and state of mind
- twisting or retelling events to shift blame to you
- insist they’re right and refuse to consider facts or your perspective
Signs you’ve experienced gaslighting
Experiencing gaslighting can leave you second-guessing yourself constantly, not to mention overwhelmed, confused, and uncertain about your ability to make decisions on your own.
Other key signs you’re experiencing gaslighting include:
- an urge to apologize all the time
- believing you can’t do anything right
- frequent feelings of nervousness, anxiety, or worry
- a loss of confidence
- constantly wondering if you’re too sensitive
- feeling disconnected from your sense of self, as if you’re losing your identity
- believing you’re to blame when things go wrong
- a persistent sense that something isn’t right, though you can’t identify exactly what’s wrong
- a lingering sense of hopelessness, frustration, or emotional numbness
These feelings tend to come from what the other person says or implies about your behavior. For example:
- “You seem so confused lately, and you keep forgetting things. I’m getting a little worried.”
- “You know I wouldn’t say these things if I didn’t care, right?”
This mask of concern can leave you even more convinced there’s something “wrong” with you.
Gaslighting can also show up as changes in your behavior. You might find yourself:
- making choices to please others instead of yourself
- frequently questioning whether you said the right thing or made the right choice
- making excuses for the person gaslighting you to family and friends
- lying or isolating yourself from loved ones to avoid conflict
- constantly reviewing your words and actions to make sure you’ve done everything “right”
- spending little or no time on the activities or hobbies you used to enjoy
Why do people do it
According to Stern, people often gaslight because being right allows them to validate themselves. When gaslighters feel threatened, they need you to believe and support their version of events in order to maintain their sense of power and control.
Gaslighting can also happen when someone believes their narrative is more valid than someone else’s, says Ana De La Cruz, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Florida.
Persuading someone else to question their own reality, then, can leave them with a sense of superiority, De La Cruz explains.
It’s a Line Prompt this week.
“Why doesn’t the phone ring stop? I’ve pressed all buttons.”