Societal Gaslighting – Can Gaslighting Be Unintentional?

CW TOPIC: Gaslighting and mental abuse

Can gas lighting be unintentional or can things that are unintentional have the same impact as gaslighting?

I’m coming at you today with this, from a place of personal experience. I have personally been gaslit by people in romantic relationships. I have personally been gaslit by people I cared about, people I thought were friends, and even in the workplace.

I also would like to propose that I have experienced the same gaslighting over and over again from society growing up as an undiagnosed autistic person, having my needs invalidated over and over again and much the same way.

Transcript

Can Gaslighting be Unintentional

Can gas lighting be unintentional or can things that are unintentional have the same impact as gaslighting?

[00:00:17] Let’s dive in. Oh, that doesn’t work with the lights on.  (Laughs)

[00:01:00] Content warning on this one, I will be talking about mental abuse, manipulation, and abusive relationships. This video will likely be triggering for some viewers. Your discretion is advised.

[00:01:15] In case you don’t know what gaslighting is. Uh, I’m gonna read a definition from dictionary.com, uh, because you can quickly Google this and find more information.

[00:01:28] So I’m just going to give a very brief overview. Uh, gaslighting is defined as a tactic used to cause a person to doubt their sanity or their version of reality through the use of psychological manipulation and the longterm impacts of gaslighting can include trauma, anxiety, depression, feelings of self doubt, and confusion.

[00:01:54] Gaslighting is normally thought of as a very specific type of mental abuse. It is usually the intent of the abuser to control the abusee by manipulating them, their thoughts, and eventually the person who is being manipulated may begin to have extreme feelings of self doubt. They may not be able to determine what is their own reality anymore because their version of reality has been denied over and over and over again by the person who is gaslighting and doing the mental abuse.

[00:02:37] And so, you know, we think of it as this very specific, very intentional controlling activity, but these impacts of self doubt and harm and trauma can be seen when people make comments like, “Oh, you are too sensitive” or “it’s not that bad”.

[00:03:01] Maybe they say, “you just need to toughen up” or “your overreacting”. Uh, you know, when we hear these things coming from in a romantic relationship. Yeah. We would automatically say, Oh, these are red flags for someone to be saying this over and over again to you but when society does this to autistic and neurodivergent people, you know, maybe we try to speak up and say, “Hey, that light is really bothering me”.

[00:03:26] And they say, “Oh, it’s not that bright. It’s not that big a deal”. Or you say “I’m very uncomfortable in this room. It’s too loud for me”.” Oh, you just need to tough it up. It’s not that bad”. And, you know, once or twice, you may say this to someone. But this person you’re speaking to, may have heard this exact same phrase in relation to this need over and over and over again.

[00:03:52] It’s never one isolated incident where someone is being dismissed for coming forward with their need. Even if the person who is is dismissing is not intending to be malicious. It can have a similar impact on people. And so eventually whether it’s with an abusive partner or in society after your needs, your feelings and your experiences have been invalidated over and over and over again, you stop sharing.

[00:04:32] You stop speaking up for your knees. You stop advocating for your needs because you begin to believe the narrative that your needs and your perspective is unreasonable or flawed.

[00:04:49] And this is really damaging regardless of if it comes from a romantic partner, a friend, family member, or, you know, your boss or colleague, the impact is still harm.

[00:05:09] And I’m coming at you today with this, from a place of personal experience. I have personally been gaslit by people in romantic relationships. I have personally been gaslit by people I cared about, people I thought were friends, and even in the workplace.

[00:05:35] And I also would like to propose that I have experienced the same gaslighting over and over again from society growing up as an undiagnosed autistic person, having my needs invalidated over and over again and much the same way.

[00:06:04] And comparing all of these ways that I have had people invalidate me and say, you know, “I was too sensitive” I was “too much” things “really weren’t that bad” and that I “needed to just toughen up”.

[00:06:25] Intent doesn’t matter. In this one, the, the impact is the same. It is the same impact, but, you know, with unintentional gaslighting, I think the only way we can fix this is with education and sharing this information.

[00:06:42] So that is a big part of why I make these videos, because I think unintentional gaslighting can come from a place of misunderstanding versus coming from a place of ill intent but that doesn’t mean the impact is any less damaging to the person who is experiencing those dismissive types of phrases and having their life and their experience invalidated.

[00:07:14] All right, everybody. Thank you so much for hanging out with me this week and for sticking in, I know this is a very deep, intense topic, so I’m grateful for your time.

[00:07:23] If you think this video might be helpful, what else? Go ahead and hit the share button might put a content content warning in there for other viewers who may find this topic upsetting.

[00:07:33] I will put out another video next week. If you want to catch these videos early, be sure to check out the NeuroRebel Patrion page, uh, for early access to all of these videos and sneak peek behind the scenes content.

[00:07:45] I will talk to you next week. Bye guys!

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5 thoughts on “Societal Gaslighting – Can Gaslighting Be Unintentional?

  1. The more I have thought about it, the more I think I have always thought people were gaslighting me in all aspects of my life, not just romantic, because everything seemed false to me. I think a lot of people seriously believe following established paths is truth, but it never has to me. Questioning is like accusing people of lying in a lot of cases in my experience.

  2. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that your post has been featured here: https://quantumlivingpsychology.wpcomstaging.com/2020/12/15/gaslighting/

    Most articles on gaslighting assume that it’s always an abusive partner (usually male) doing it to a neurotypical partner (usually female). It’s nice to see information being spread on how gaslighting can affect autistic people. I hope more people will recognize how these things can hurt people with disabilities. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Is it strange that I relate and feel this deeply as something I have experienced, and yet I can not find a single specific memory of anyone saying these sorts of things to me? It makes me feel like I’m faking the results of my own trauma, or somehow faking being traumatized at all.

    Like, is my memory awful, or so those memories not exist because they never happened? In which case, why am I even like this?

    (Strongly suspected/self-diagnosed autistic)

    Thank you for your content!

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