What Does It Mean to Gaslight Yourself?

Gaslighting is a term that comes from a movie. The husband would keep turning the gaslights at home a little lower each night to disorient his wife.

When she asked why the lights were lower than normal, he’d tell her it was only in her head.

If someone gaslights another, it’s a form of manipulation and emotional abuse. The goal is to make someone question feelings, thoughts, or reality. 

It’s also something that people do to themselves without realizing it. 

What Does It Mean to Self-Gaslight?

When someone self-gaslights, they tell themselves the same abusive statements that someone else might say to question their reality.

Here’s a classic gaslighting statement: “You are being too emotional, sensitive, dramatic, or crazy!”

If you gaslight yourself, the “you” turns to “I.” You would think, “I am being too emotional, sensitive, dramatic, or crazy!”

These statements don’t need to be verbalized to have a profoundly negative effect on your psyche. Without an external affirmation, you’re becoming your own worst critic. 

The reality is often not what the gaslighting words or thoughts attempt to communicate. If you take deep breaths, experience the ground beneath your feet, and remember that your emotions are valid, the harmful expressions don’t have the same power.

It doesn’t always feel right to say that your feelings are valid and that you have a right to express them. Some people self-gaslight after coming to this realization because they don’t feel “worthy” enough for that “right.”

Gaslighting tries to change your truth. You can decide that this tactic isn’t an accurate statement about who you are, even if it’s an internalized thought.