Gaslighting, although it can have devastating effects on the victim of this manipulative technique, isn’t something parents are immune to. Gaslighting parents aren’t necessarily aware of what this does to their children.
They also aren’t necessarily trying to be manipulative (although, in some instances, this is also the case).
In most cases, it’s just how they’re accustomed to communicating with others. These habits then transfer to their relationship with their children.
What is gaslighting
Gaslighting is a term used to describe a form of psychological abuse. When a person is gaslighting, they’re using mind tricks to make the victim doubt their own perception, feelings, memories.
For example – The person will deny that they said or did something, even though both him/her and the victim know that it has happened!
Why one gaslight? This is pretty similar to other forms of psychological abuse, or any other form of abuse, for that matter. It’s all about control. It’s about gaining the ability to do and say pretty much whatever and get away with it, in fact, more than simply getting away.
Make oneself look spotless and right.
Why are some parents gaslighting
Although gaslighting in dysfunctional families is relatively common, a child (or, now, an adult) may have a gaslighting mother or a father, but live in otherwise somewhat normal conditions.
Gaslighting by parents sometimes becomes a poisonous sister of otherwise “allowed” parental techniques.
For example – A mother will say that she didn’t eat a candy when her kid catches her stuffing chocolate into her mouth. She does it because she doesn’t want to set a bad example.
Now, a gaslighting mom will not do it for good intentions. She does it to maintain dominance over her child. She will, for example, talk down to her child and attribute every claim and complaint to his or her imagination.
When the child protests, she will insist that she’s the one who is necessarily right. She will do it without ever thinking twice about the validity of the child’s arguments.
Are gaslighting parents actually narcissists
Well! The answer is No, Not Necessarily.
As we said, gaslighting can be used as a form of a nasty communication habit. Gaslighting parents can be otherwise perfectly normal, but they might have grown up in such families that used this means of manipulation.
However, many gaslighting fathers and gaslighting mothers are, indeed, narcissists.
Many adults who come to see a psychologist were (and often still are) victims of psychological abuse, including gaslighting. After they learn a thing or two about this form of abuse, the question comes to their minds – “Is my parent a narcissist?”
The line between a manipulative father or a mother and a narcissist isn’t always clear.
What does put them both into one basket is the aforementioned need for control. Narcissistic parents, in a way, perceive their children as the continuation of themselves. Which is why, for them, it is absolutely necessary to control what their children will do and be.
A gaslighting narcissistic mother will probably twist her child’s mind to the point of being able to put forth any “truth” and demand that she wants, and the child will follow.
The lifelong struggle
Dealing with gaslighting, in general, is one of the toughest things one can go through in a relationship. The worst thing about it is that it strips the victim off every confidence and integrity they have. This makes them unable to fight back.
When it’s a child who’s the victim, it’s that much harder. A child is defenseless against the world and he or she relies on the parents for protection. When the parent is the one who’s acting like an enemy, it’s a potentially lifelong trauma.
Dealing with manipulative parents is almost impossible for a young child.
Their only chances are the non-manipulative parent, relatives, or, institutions and well-meant outsiders. However, if you’re an adolescent or an adult, you can free yourself from the clutches of gaslighting parents.
How to stop gaslighting behavior
Changing gaslighting parents isn’t easy at all. It might even be impossible. It’s because of such individuals, gaslighting is the only way they know how to handle their world.
They might need some professional help to be able to deal with the underlying insecurity and their own problems that make them do what they do. And that is only if they’re willing to change. But you can change how your gaslighting parents affect you.
As soon as you recognize the pattern and realize that you’re not crazy, you’ll be able to just dismiss their behavior as manipulation and move on.
You could also use some professional help to provide the support you need, as dealing with the consequences of lifelong gaslighting will not be an easy task. But it is something you must do for yourself!
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