Gaslighting, by definition, is a hard thing to recognize. It is an important issue that can have a big impact on your teams as well as your organization. Gaslighting is a very real form of psychological abuse that, unfortunately, is very present in many workplace environments today.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is to cause a person to question their own sanity through dishonest and manipulative means. This term was adopted from the 1944 movie Gaslight where a husband tries to convince his otherwise sane wife that she has gone crazy in an attempt to get her committed to a mental hospital. The term was taken because in the movie, the husband causes the gas lights in the house to flicker and says that he doesn’t see it happening, which makes his wife believe she is losing her mind.
Those who experience gaslighting often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust their own judgment. No employee should be subjected to this type of mental abuse, which makes it critical for employers to employ measures that curb this type of abuse.
How To Know If You’re The Victim Of Gaslighting
Gaslighting in a workplace environment happens more than you may think. Individuals who impose this type of mental abuse tend to be very narcissistic and have a motive for their actions. Gaslighters can come in many forms — they could be a boss, manager, coworker, or client. You may not even know what is happening at first, but taking a closer look may reveal details that are more telling.
- Here are some signs that you might be a victim of gaslighting at work:
- Some signs you may be being gaslighted include:
- You overwork yourself just to “prove yourself”
- You feel incompetent
- You don’t understand what’s expected of you
- You turn down opportunities to avoid put-downs
Gaslighting can happen for a variety of reasons, but in order to best understand them, let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
Suppose you tried talking to a coworker about missed deadlines or their inability to show up on time. If the coworker begins telling you blatant lies, he may be trying to make you feel crazy or stupid for ever mentioning it.
Another example is that of a stand-offish boss. Suppose you asked your boss about that raise he promised to discuss with you six months ago. If he continually says he doesn’t remember and tries to put it off again, this could be a textbook example of gaslighting.
What To Do If You’re The Victim Of Gaslighting
The best thing you can do regarding gaslighting is to first recognize and accept its presence. Once you have done this, it becomes much easier to find ways to remedy the situation. Some ways to fight gaslighting include:
Trust Your Gut
If you feel like something is wrong and you are being abused, don’t just stand by. This can cause things to get worse and your mental well-being to suffer.
Talking to a close friend or family member can help to reaffirm what is happening and to solidify the perpetrator’s wrongdoing.
Don’t Confront Them Directly
Since gaslighters respond to criticism with personal attacks, they’ll feel threatened by any direct challenge. They may even accuse you of gaslighting them, so try your best to avoid contact. Instead, consult your HR department for advice on how to deal with this issue.
How HR Search & Rescue Can Help
HR Search & Rescue’s team is here to help employees of any organization deal with gaslighting in a healthy and sustainable manner. Dealing with gaslighters can be difficult for employers due to the fact that it can be hard to identify the victim in most cases.
Despite this, our HR teams strive to help employees and managers alike find common ground and eliminate unhealthy habits. We aim to gather as much information as possible prior to any confrontation in order to ensure a clear story behind the issue. This removes the risk of accusations and blame.
Speak With An Independent HR Consultant For More Information
If you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, don’t hesitate to reach out and enlist HR Search & Rescue to help create a healthy, non-toxic work environment. Call us at (844) 934-3293 or schedule a 1-on-1 meeting to address your gaslighting situation in the workplace today.