Gaslighting is a term used to describe when somebody is being manipulated to doubt their own sanity.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Victims of this phenomenon feel they are no longer good enough to judge their own feelings or experiences. People are left feeling uncertain, insecure, and having a hard time deciphering whenever they are in a gaslighting situation or not.
Often, this can happen in personal relationships, but it happens a lot in the workplace as well. Here are some warning signs that Harvard Business Review points out in an article titled "Ask an Expert: What Should I Do If My Boss Is Gaslighting Me?".
1. Questioning Memory
Suppose that in your job place that you are constantly feeling insecure or afraid of making mistakes because you think that you cannot perform the job, or you realize that you get feedback that you haven't been doing things well. In that case, those are signs that maybe your manager or someone else that's gaslighting you.
2. Frequent Dismissal
If you bring concerns to the table or your different questioning items and those concerns are being dismissed with quotes like "that's not a big deal," or "we don't need to worry about that yet," that's going to be damaging your confidence in your thoughts and experiences. This is certainly another red flag.
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3. Getting Ignored
If you make present requests or explain something that you desire on your job, such as taking more responsibility and is just completely ignored as if you've never said it, there can be another warning sign.
Gaslighting is a pretty settle form of control in the workplace. It's not always something people get to recognized quickly. Sometimes it takes a little more time to figure out that you are being gaslighted.
There are cases where employees feel that their boss is flipping sides on them. Their manager is friendly in private but will not doubt to criticize their work in front of other people. If you are not given any responsibility or are not trained on specific tasks, it's time to reach out for help.
Some bosses are super kind and supportive in a one-on-one talk, but when they're in front of others, they will treat you in a poorly manner. This unfair treatment can ruin the reputation of a gaslighting victim in a company.
The most important thing to do if you are ever in a situation like this is documenting everything that's been happening, keep track of the conversations you've had, the work you've done, how you felt through, and report it to your HR staff. You can't rationalize with a gaslighter because their mode of control and communication will make you dismiss and second guess your thoughts. If you're not in a healthy situation at work, you won't want to stay there.
The term gaslighting has been around for decades, and it comes from a play where there's a husband that has been trying to make his wife go crazy by changing the light bulbs and keep denying that they were flickering. This made the wife doubt her sanity and eventually did go insane.
Gaslighting is a serious issue. If any of these situations resonate with you, don't hesitate to ask for help. If you're being managed in your work by somebody that's making you second-guess yourself or is flipping the script on you in different situations, you should speak out and get out of that unhealthy situation. As Harvard Business Review states: "Nobody should suffer at the hands of a toxic boss."