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What Is Gaslighting and How to Deal with it at Work?

According to psychologists, gaslighting is a technique of communication in which someone makes you doubt your own version of events. Gaslighting can cause you to start questioning your own reality.
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You might have heard of the term gaslighting in the context of relationships or politics. But the surprising thing is that it can also occur in the workplace. Do you know what Is Gaslighting and How to Deal with it at Work? Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, and manipulation can happen anywhere human interaction takes place. In this article, we will discuss how to spot gaslighting and then how to put a stop to it. 

What is Gaslighting 

First of all, what is gaslighting? According to psychologists, gaslighting is a technique of communication in which someone makes you doubt your own version of events. Gaslighting can cause you to start questioning your own reality. 

The term entered the cultural and social zeitgeist through the mystery thriller Gas Light, written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938. The play was brought to the stage in 1940 and was very well-received. In 1944, it was turned into a film that also performed really well.

What Is Gaslighting and How to Deal with it at Work?

The term gaslight came from the plot of the movie in which a man tries to drive his wife slowly insane by bringing up fabricated memories, making false allegations and denying previous statements. 

Gaslighting at Work 

In real life, gaslighting, of course, doesn’t look like how it does on the screen. In the workplace, it would consist of something like a colleague constantly misinterpreting the behaviour of a co-worker’s behaviour. It could be the boss promising you that he will bring up your promotion with the higher-ups soon without actually meaning it.

Gaslighting is often unconscious. For instance, a colleague not changing his behaviour even though there have been multiple complaints registered against him. Or someone who keeps forgetting to do that one important task that you have delegated to them. Gaslighting is more likely to happen in the workplace if you don’t get along with some of your colleagues. 

Gaslighting should never be tolerated at a workplace. It is a corrosive and destructive behaviour. It is a common character trait found in narcissists, abusers and cult leaders. It is often used as a power play to leave the victim weak, confused, and powerless in the office.

A colleague or a manager might invalidate what you know as true and make you question the facts. This would negatively affect your ability to do your job.

What Is Gaslighting and How to Deal with it at Work?

They could also twist information, behaviour and words to confuse you, trivialize your feelings and eventually mess up your career. If you face gaslighting for an extended period of time, it can have a very damaging impact on your mental health. 

Sometimes gaslighting in the workplace isn’t malicious or aggressive. They can take the form of small slights like a colleague not inviting you to a meeting or a boss who criticizes your work even though you have done a perfectly good job.

These smaller issues can be annoying, but they are not especially harmful. One can skirt such problems and continue to work productively in the office. 

How to Deal with Gaslighting?

Document everything: In gaslighting, people try to confuse you about what actually happened, and they rely on the uncertainty of memory to target you. This can be dealt with if you keep a diary in which you jot down everything necessary that happened at the office. 

By being direct: Gaslighters are always indirect as they are trying to manipulate you. What you can do to overturn the situation is to become very direct. 

Talk to a colleague you trust: If you are facing gaslighting at work, talk to a colleague that you completely trust. Having someone on your side will help you dispel the deception.

Have you ever dealt with gaslighting at your workplace? Let us know by writing in the comment section below.

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