All people ever talk about is being gaslighted by other parties. But do you know you could also unknowingly be gaslighting yourself? You are your best friend and also your worst enemy. How you treat yourself is a significant determinant of how your mental health turns out. It also determines how you associate with other people. For instance, if you gaslight yourself, you will most likely let other people gaslight you.
What is Self-Gaslighting?
Self-gaslighting happens when we dismiss our feelings and experiences. You can be deeply hurt, but with self-gaslighting, you will invalidate the pain and try to get yourself over it. It may sound like,
“I know friends who have been through worse,”
‘It is not that bad,”
“Other victims got over this fast; I don’t know why I cannot get over it.”
“I should let go of this and move on.”
Many times, self-gaslighting happens when you pick the mantra from a gaslighter. It may also come from past childhood traumas.
Self-gaslighting can be difficult to recognize, especially by people who identify as being spiritual. This is because self-reflection, shadow work, and mindfulness practices are all based on the truthful relfection of our thoughts, behaviors, and actions. This level of awareness allows us to make positive changes in our thoughts and behaviors in an effort to create a more harmonious life for ourselves. The issue arises when the constructive self-reflection and awareness turn into destructive self-blame.
Signs You Are Gaslighting Yourself
Here are six clear signs that you are a self-gaslighter. If you do any of this, please do your mental health some justice and work on stopping the gaslighting.
#1: You Justify Someone Else’s Bad Behavior
Many of us have been here, making excuses for other people’s toxic behaviors. When people make mistakes, they should take personal responsibility for them. How many times have you heard things in the line of:
“They cheated because I was emotionally unavailable,”
“My mother kept yelling at me because I was a difficult child,”
“He pushed me because he was drunk,”
No, do not make excuses for people’s bad behavior. Take responsibility for your part but don’t blame yourself for theirs.
#2: You Discredit Your Feelings
There is a valid reason behind every emotion you are feeling. If you constantly invalidate your feelings, it is clear that you are gaslighting yourself. For instance, whenever you are hurting, you keep suppressing your feelings because you think you always overreact.
You may have had people hurt you, but you bottled up the hurt because it is not a big deal after all. Or, you dismiss your feelings because you know people who have been in tougher situations than you.
This self-manipulation piles up, and sooner or later, you will have to face the trauma. Remember that invalidating your feelings is an unhealthy way of escaping the trauma, but it will eventually catch up with you.
#3: You are Constantly Rethinking How You Should Have Handled Things
One way self-gaslighting happens is by overthinking what you could have done to prevent other people’s bad behavior.
I should have left the party early.
I should have dressed more decently when going on that date.
I should not have said that.
SOLANCHA principles teach us to harmonize our polarized way of thinking. To avoid any self-blame or shame, it’s important to learn to accept two realities simultaneously. Yes, there are certain actions and behaviors we could have taken to avoid the situation, while at the same time, the bad behavior is completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, we tend to only focus on one or the other which ends up being destructive.
#4: You Never Trust Your Judgment
You could be manipulating yourself if you constantly second-guess your decisions or judgment on things. If you always feel your intuition is wrong, you are self-gaslighting. You can never build a trustworthy relationship with anyone if you do not trust yourself. Constant self-doubt may happen from being gaslighted as a child. This makes you constantly doubt your inner voice.
Also, if you think you are not good enough, you probably got there through gaslighting. Besides, self-gaslighting may make you doubt some physical feelings. For instance, you may dismiss physical sickness because you think you can keep pushing on. Or because you are afraid of your bosses’ reaction.
If you have been sick but were too scared to call in sick, that is it. We have also had people dismiss constant headaches for dehydration or just a little pressure. Well, these may be true but do not second guess yourself. Get the check-up when you feel something, do not invalidate your sickness.
#5: You Say All the Negative Things About Yourself
Self-gaslighters typically say things about themselves that they would never say about other people. If you constantly think that you are crazy for saying something, or are an idiot for doing something, then it is a clear sign of self-gaslighting. Self-gaslighters have made such words and harshness too familiar for them.
If you are at a point where such grossness feels at home, while affection and sweetness feel out of place, you are deep into self-gaslighting. Remember that any self-reflection should be constructive and an insightful opportunity for growth. If your self-talk becomes so negative that it makes you feel horrible about yourself, you know that it’s become destructive and you are self-gaslighting.
#6: You Always Believe That the Worst Is Going to Happen
If you are never optimistic about the things happening in your life, it is a clear sign you are a self-gaslighter. You always think nothing will happen in your favor in this unhealthy zone. If you are always awaiting the worst in every situation, it is a clear sign that you have gaslighted yourself to that zone.
How to Stop the Pattern?
Here are some practical tips to stop the pattern of gaslighting yourself.
#1: Face Your Trauma
One thing that stands out in self-gaslighting is constant self-doubt and questioning yourself. This typically arises from childhood trauma. You cannot keep escaping your traumas; they will haunt you for a long time. Take courage and face the trauma to resolve it. One great way is to talk to a therapist and find ways to make peace with your past.
#2: Build Your Self-Esteem
Another great way to stop self-gaslighting is by building your self-esteem. Everything you feel is valid and matters. Always take a stand and recognize that everything you feel should not be compromised to accommodate others. Allow yourself to feel your feelings without judging yourself for having them.
#3: Get Away From Being Gaslighted
Being gaslighted will eventually make you a self-gaslighter. You must break that pattern if your friend, partner, or family is a habitual gaslighter. You can get them to stop the habit by talking it out. If they cannot stop, you need to get out of that environment.