No, you aren’t being “too sensitive” and here’s why.
Gaslighting, a term which we have often come across, is a concept that is widely known. The origin of this concept traces back to an old movie in which a husband would turn the gaslights down slightly lower each night to disorient his wife. He would negate his wife’s noticing of the shifts in light and shadows by saying that it was all in her head. He’d do other things, too, to make her think she was “losing it,” such as hiding items and insisting she lost them.
This is what gaslighting is – a form of emotional abuse and manipulation enacted on someone to make them question their own thoughts, feelings, reality, and even sanity. Often, gaslighting shifts into a space where it manifests in one’s constant life on a daily basis, leading to questioning of self and an adverse breakdown of confidence. This is what self-gaslighting is reflective of. Recognizing self-gaslighting can be hard because it’s a mindset that you may consider normal. But if you find yourself performing the following very frequently, then this is a problem that you deal with.
Self-gaslighting often looks like the suppression of thought and emotion which is perfectly put across through this situation: imagine someone saying something insensitive or mean directed towards you; you might notice that your feelings were hurt, but then almost instantly and impulsively you think, “I am probably just making too big a deal out of it and being too sensitive.”
You might wonder how is this problematic? It is because you are internalizing the very fact that your reactions are invalid and your emotions are unimportant, something which is essentially very adverse to place your whole belief upon.
Minimizing your thoughts and feelings, reflecting enormous self-doubt, doubting your memories/recollections, convincing yourself that circumstances around you aren’t that bad, and always finding a way to blame yourself; this is something that wholly encompasses the concept of self gaslighting.
Gaslighting strips you of your ability to feel your best self; it is demeaning, life-sucking, and an unpleasant experience to deal with.
On one occasion, a therapist I communicated with patiently explained to me that there is an imperative need to deal with the core nip of the issue which is extremely crucial. Reformative and trauma-based therapy with an experienced counsellor is something that can enable an individual in recognizing the problem, understanding the origin of the core issues, developing an enhanced sense of self and awareness, and in affirming oneself with affirmations consciously to battle gaslighting thoughts.
Think of all the times you’ve asked yourself, ‘am I being a whine?’ or ‘am I overreacting? In those moments, practicing unconditional love, care, and courage towards your own self is something that would definitely help you power through turbulent and overwhelming situations.
This post was written by Akshiti Chauhan, Ist year