Anita Sanz, a clinical psychologist, answers the question: Why is gaslighting so disturbing?
First, gaslighting causes you to distrust yourself and your ability to perceive reality correctly. By getting feedback from the gaslighter that “you didn’t see what you thought you saw, you didn’t hear what you thought you heard, you aren’t experiencing what you think you are experiencing, and you can’t remember things correctly,” you begin to believe that there must be something very wrong with you.
Being gaslighted over time effectively disconnects you from yourself, your feelings, your ability to know what you want and don’t want, what you know to be true about yourself, others, and the world. It can eventually strip a person of their core sense of themselves, leaving them feeling dependent upon the gaslighter to define reality and provide approval and confirmation of what is real.
You begin to distrust your ability to know whether something is true or not, whether you really did something or not, whether you even really felt something or had a particular intention or not.
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Instead of inhabiting yourself, owning your thought process and having a strong sense of self, you become untethered, uncertain, unsure of what you’re doing, feeling, and who you are.