By Cleopatra Eki
In an effort to reduce depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicidal tendencies through Gaslighting in the society, Warien Rose Foundations has organized its monthly meeting on Domestic Violence Anonymous (DVA) at Rock View Hotel Festac Town Lagos.
Convener Barrister Efe Anaughe addressing the participants, women with team of professional Lawyers, Doctors, Pastors, Counsellors who give group support, emotional, and healing succour to survivors or victims, she defined Gaslighting as a form of emotional and psychological abuse that makes you question your beliefs and perception of reality. Every woman who thinks she is the only victim of psychological and mental abuse has to know that there are many more.
”Men have an important role to play in sending out the message that real men do not hurt or abuse their partners” She added that the time when domestic violence is the most lethal is when the person is trying to leave the Relationship or the situation.
Anaughe pointed out that over time, this type of manipulation can wear down your self-esteem and self-confidence, leaving you dependent on the person gaslighting you.
Gaslighting can be loosely defined as making someone question their own reality. In addition, Gaslighting is a process of sheer, blatant and deliberate manipulation that takes apart everything you believe in. A toxic form of mental and emotional abuse, It can happen to anyone, and it makes you suspect yourself and your very reality. It entails a consistent, manipulative process of brainwashing which gradually wears you out and overwhelms you with self-doubt.
To sum it up – it is a process of psychological warfare and you are left unable to validate yourself anymore. A lie told repeatedly, and for long enough, gradually becomes the truth. She emphasized that Gaslighting happens most often in homes, schools, workspaces and interpersonal relationships.
There is one person who manipulates and the other person who starts to doubt their perceptions. Barrister Anaughe noted that it could be used by our loved ones, spouses, parents siblings, workmates friends and family unknowingly or unwittingly. We all have passed through gaslighting experiences one way or the other.
The gaslighter could be a public personality as well, convincing the hordes of people who look up to him that he’s not as bad as he seems. It is a dangerous habit that is practised to perfection by narcissistic, insecure, egoist and abusive people. Or someone who constantly has something to hide – where he has to resort to constantly alter somebody else’s reality.
Anonymous Jane and Anonymous John relate different ways they had experienced gaslighting schemes and how it resonated with them.Some of effects of Gaslighting are ; it destroys our self-esteem and self-confidence and pushes us into internalising abuse.
We then get entangled into an anxiety-riddled way of being where we are constantly second-guessing ourselves and feel the need to apologise all the time. That mind frame pushes us into a very lonely existence and one where we are afraid to speak up at all times.
Conclusively, she advised the victims to reclaim their emotional space, get some support from trusted friends family ,never isolate yourselves from positive and loved ones, offer the perceptive, help you get clarity, jot down or record events using smart phone, set your limits and boundaries. ln addition, be happy doing what you love , never be a puppet to your spouses, have self -care, self- love and be self aware.