Gaslighting

One of the good things that came out of this pandemic is an increased awareness of mental health. One of the few things I picked up on during this time is the concept of gaslighting.

Gaslighting is when one person unintentionally or intentionally misleads another, creating a false narrative and making them question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, even uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability. 

No two people remember an event in exactly the same way. Everyone may have different memories of the same event. Gaslighting can happen when you challenge, question, or discredit another’s memories based solely on your perspective, on your say so. 

This can happen between parents and kids. The parent has a view of what happened, the kid has a different story. The parent would insist that their version is the way it happened. And because of the parent/authority relationship, the kid ends up believing it even if it really wasn’t so. Unfortunately, this is very damaging to the child’s mental health. 

To avoid unintentionally gaslighting, you should not insist on your perspective of an event if there is no empirical evidence or record of how it transpired. Rather, respect each others’ perspectives, agree to disagree, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt. Even if, or especially if, you’re talking to a child. 

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