Earlier today in the preceeding post I wrote the following:
This will require a level of literacy never before achieved in a society. And more than just literacy, it will require a level of emotional intelligence never before achieved as well. The major question which needs answering is how to manage deceit and dishonesty in people who have power over you? The answer is very carefully. I will write more about his in the next few days.
The first strategy for dealing with gaslighting is to check it out.
Did you ever have the feeling where you started to second guess yourself and doubt your own mind? You thought to your self "Who is crazy here, me or them?" They have you believing it is you. Children who grow up in dysfunctional families often have trouble knowing what is normal and what is not normal. They just need a trusted sounding board, someone to check it out with.
Sometimes it is hard to find someone you trust, someone you feel understood by, someone who will be straight with you, honest, that knows the truth and can spot gaslighting when it is going on. Counselors are often thrust in this role, but other people are put in this role often and it is a great service to clarify the reailty and label dysfunction what it is, othen abuse. It is very reassuring to know that you are not crazy, but that they are gaslighting you.
This person who tells the truth and points out the gaslighting is what Alice Miller calls "the enlightened witness". This is the person who may not be able to change the abuse, change the gaslighting, change the lying and the abuse that is going on, but is a "straight shooter" and calls it like it is.
I have worked with clients who were employees being gaslighted at work by dysfunctional supervisors and to reassure the client that they are not going nuts, that their supervisor's behavior is inappropriate and dysfunctional gives the employee the courage to deal with the supervisor in a more assertive and differentiated way often leading to a positive change in the climate of the relationship.
At a national level, it is perhaps more difficult to know when you are being lied to, but when things don't add up, when things are one way and we are being told they are another, these are good signs that gaslighting is going on. The best barometers in our national life for gaslighting are comedians because they get to bring our attention to things in a humorous way which makes the truth about the untruth more palatable and less crazy making because we can laugh at it. You know the old saying, "You either laugh or cry."
One of the reason that so many people, especially younger people say that they get their news from The Daily Show is because Jon Stewart is one of the few commentators not afraid to tell his audience the truth.
When you wonder about your own sanity, check it out. Chances are it's not you, it's them.
There are more strategies for gaslighting coming.
Here's a video of Jon Stewart catching Mitt Romney gaslighting, Video lasts 1.14