If you have heard about the 1944 movie called Gaslight, you might already have an idea about what this term means. If you don’t, then it is essential to become aware of it so you can recognize its signs and protect yourself.
Gaslighting is a psychological tactic in which a person tries to gain power over you by feeding you information which makes you question your reality. The worst part about this psychological behaviour trick is that absolutely anybody can be susceptible to falling victim.
Gaslighting can be done by your teachers, your romantic partner, your parents, friends, or your employer. It is a prolonged process and can take so long to happen that often the victim cannot even recognize the signs that they have fallen prey to this.
It has been observed that most abusers, manipulators, cult leaders, narcissists, and dictators use gaslighting to get what they want while making the victim feel as if they owe them the thing. However, it has not been asked for explicitly.
When studying abroad, students need to be aware of certain signs of gaslighting so they can protect themselves against them.
Read More: Top 10 Benefits of Studying Abroad
Here Is What You Need to Know About These Signs:
1. They Lie Easily and Often
Whether it is your teacher, peers, or someone else in a position of authority, one of the most common signs of gaslighting is when you know that the person is often lying, and lying blatantly.
You might even have proof of having heard them say something, but when confronted with it, the person will lie and completely deny that fact.
Over time, if it is done well and done enough times, a student might start to question their sense of reality. Did they imagine the other person has said something different to them? Is their mind making this up? Can it be that the ‘gaslighter’ is telling the truth?
What signs can you look out for? – Look out for inconsistent behaviour or inconsistent ‘facts’ being told by them. Does it often happen that you remember them saying one thing, but later on, they lie about having said it or completely turn it around on you?
2. They Try to Convince You That Everyone Else, Including You, Are Liars
This is just another trick used by a gaslighter to make you question your reality. These people will try to convince you that everyone else around you, your family, your friends, even the media, is lying to you. The only person you can trust in them.
Read More: How to Make Friends in College?
Over time, if the right techniques are used, you will eventually start to believe them. Once they reach this stage, they can make you believe anything that they are trying to tell you. It allows them to manipulate and brainwash you, mostly for their sense of control as well as to gain some benefit from this manipulation.
What signs can you look out for? –Look out for patterns where the person continually tries to make you believe that any information given to you by others is not true.
How far does the person go to make you change what you already believe, to make you believe their version of reality? Once you can spot these signs, you might be able to save yourself from falling into this trap.
3. They Tell You That You or Others Around You Are Crazy
This is one of the most significant master manipulation techniques that a gaslighter can use to disarm you. A gaslighter will continuously tell you that whatever you ‘believe,’ whatever you ‘think the facts are’, are all false.
If you disbelieve the gaslighter for some reason, you must be crazy to think so! If your friends, family or anyone else tries to give you any information which does not match what the gaslighter is telling you, they must be crazy!
Once they do this enough, there comes a moment when you start to question whether you might be imagining things, or be plain crazy! When this happens, your sense of reality begins to shatter.
Of course, during a weak moment like this, the gaslighter already knows that you will turn to them for help. Once again, this gives them power over your mind and control your thoughts and behaviour. This is precisely what they wanted in the first place.
What signs can you look out for? – Every time you try to tell this person something, are they dismissive about what you are trying to say? If you try and tell them about something else you heard from a friend or family member, does this person try and persuade you that the information giver is wrong? Are they making it up?
Look out for signs that show that the gaslighter is trying to dismiss everyone else’s opinion and make you believe what they are saying to you.
4. They Project Their Behaviour on You
If a gaslighter has certain vices, bad behaviours, or toxic thoughts in themselves, they try and project these on to you. If your gaslighter has a habit of cheating, disbelieving other people, or they are into harmful vices, they will project this behaviour on to you and accuse you of doing the same.
In case you are not doing them, while you are so busy trying to defend yourself, the gaslighter’s behaviours are entirely ignored. They continue doing what they already were, while also making you constantly defend your thoughts and actions, thus, distracting you and making you weak.
What signs can you look out for? – In this case, the best thing you can do is stand your ground regarding what you are doing and what you are not. If you see the person constantly trying to accuse you of something, they may be indulging in the same behaviour themselves.
It can be tough to figure out the signs of gaslighting, and by the time most people can, its already too late. As a student abroad, it is essential that you understand these signs and what they imply, so you can protect your interests and save yourself from a gaslighter.