Psychologist Dr Julie Smith – who posts mental health expertise and wellbeing advice to her one million followers on Instagram – has revealed that it’s actually possible to gaslight yourself.
And there are three signs you can look out for to make sure you’re not slipping into this dangerous habit.
Coined from the 1944 film Gaslight, where a woman’s husband uses gaslights to make her think she’s losing her mind, ‘gaslighting’ is a term used to describe someone manipulating you by making you question your own reality or second-guess your own information.
This is a type of emotional or psychological abuse and usually comes from a romantic partner or family member, but Dr Smith says we can actually gaslight ourselves, ‘doing the bully’s job for them.’
In a recent Instagram video, she explained three signs that you’re gaslighting yourself, and how to build up your confidence so you can stop. ‘The first sign is that you blame yourself for everything,’ she says in the video, which has amassed over 42,000 likes and over 40 comments.
‘You make excuses for other people’s behaviour but if you make a mistake you believe you have made a fundamental about who you are as a person,’ she said.
The second sign is that you don’t ‘trust your own judgement’, the clinical psychologist explained.
‘You see the opinions of other people as a much more credible source so you live in an almost constant state of self doubt and look to other people for clarity,’ she said.
The third sign she says to look out for, is when you’re invalidating or ignoring your own feelings.
‘You come to believe you are oversensitive or you overreact and don’t know which emotions to listen to anymore,’ she said.
‘Gaslighting has a devastating impact on mental health,’ Julie explained. ‘For those who have experienced abusive relationships in the past, we can internalise the voice of the abuser and learn to treat ourselves in the same way, even long after we have escaped the situation.’
Learning to spot the signs and calling them out for what they are is the first step to stopping.
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