Gaslighting

'Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the target and delegitimise the target's belief.'

As Aspies, I'm sure we're particularly prone to this.  I know I am. My experience, too - with a sister-in-law who's a consummate narcissist - has caused me much grief and upset over the last 30 years.  These were years when I not only didn't know that I was autistic, but I also didn't really know what her motivations were.  I've found out so much more about it all since my diagnosis, and through having someone else who knows her tell me that she isn't just like it with me.  For most of those years, I simply thought there was something wrong with me - and she was the one who, more than most, was at pains to keep reminding me.  The damage this woman has done - not just to me, but to other members of my close family - is profound.  Much of it is irreparable.  But at least now I no longer have any reason to have any contact with her - notwithstanding the fact that she's married to my brother.  I'm well rid of her.  She's controlled and manipulated our family for far too long.  My brother is her puppet.  And so competent a puppeteer is she that he doesn't even realise he has strings!  He's well and truly Stockholmed!

For years, I've been told I'm gullible, susceptible, credulous, naive, etc.  I've had my leg pulled time after time, and been the butt-end of jokes.  I've been taken for a ride, scammed, made to look ridiculous.  But I take people at face value.  If they tell me something, I tend to believe them.  Why wouldn't I?  Why would they lie to me?  But people have, and do.  It's why I detest gossip and won't have any part of it, because all it really is is manipulation and destabilisation, perpetuated by a group.  Victimising the vulnerable.  And it gives people a sense of 'belonging' to be onside in the gossip.  If you're not happy with the way someone's behaving or performing - tell them!  But no.  Gossip is easier... and it's more fun.  Huh!

Anyone else got any 'gaslight' tales to share?

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  • Me too.  Even at work, with people I feel reasonably confident around, I'm still wary.  One woman in particular, who seems to like me and accept me for who I am, is quite a vindictive gossip.  If she's got the knives out for someone, they go in.  She took an instant dislike to another chap who started at the same time as I did.  Yes, he was arrogant and a bit bullying in his manner - but I could get along with him.  I thought he needed to grow up, and maybe ought to have the chance to.  She whipped up all sorts of stuff against him, though.  Eventually, last week, he was sacked.  I'll admit I don't miss him - but I'm now much more wary around her. 

    Last week, our new manager got us together in a group and told us all - making it quite clear that 'this doesn't apply to most of you' - that we shouldn't be using mobile phones whilst working with clients.  Fair enough - and I'm glad she said it and got it out in the open.  It's been a bone of contention with me ever since I started there.  And I certainly didn't feel it was directed at me, because I never use my phone at work.

    Afterwards, I spoke to this colleague about it - and she was indignant.  'I don't think she should have generalised like that.'  I pointed out that she actually hadn't generalised.  She'd told all of us so that everyone knew, and she'd done it in a way that wasn't pointing a finger.  'No," she insisted.  'She did it wrong.  She should just call people in the office individually and tell them - not generalise it and accuse everyone.'

    I decided not to pursue it.  If I'd been the manager, I'd have done the same.  My colleague's now got a 'thing' about the manager - who really is a decent person and good at her job - so I wonder how long it will be before negativity will be building up against her.  And how long before I start getting regarded as some sort of toady.

    ************************

    Good heavens!  I wrote this post in January, when I was starting to have suspicions about the woman at work.  How prescient was that?  Little did I know then what was to come.

    The car-scratching is just the latest thing in her campaign to get me to begin to doubt my own sanity - which I am.  She knows I can't prove anything.  Likewise with the passive-aggressive comments - all done out of earshot of others. 

    This article suggests confronting the abuser and telling them that they know what game they're playing, in the hope that it will make them stop.  Personally, I can't see that working.  If I say to her 'I know your game, so what's the problem?', she'll just look at me like I'm nuts and walk away.

    8 Tips To Protect You From Gaslighting In The Workplace.

    What do other people think?

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