POV: The guy you’d been dating for two months was starting to switch up so you Googled “what does it mean when a guy…”, stumbled across a random in-depth Reddit post that describe your behaviour word or word, it helped you realise you had an anxious attachment style, were a people pleaser, had poor boundaries and you spent 3 years working to fix your toxic behaviours became the happiest you’ve ever been and created a weekly newsletter to help other people do the same
This is one of my favourite TikToks to repost because regardless of the number of views it gets, it always results in a large number of new newsletter subscribers. The first time I posted that, I got 700 new subscribers within 12. For as long as I use TikTok, I’ll always post some variation of that story. To me, I’m sharing how I started my healing journey, nothing more, nothing less.
The most recent time I posted that story, a few comments mentioned that I was gaslighting myself. It was more along the lines of, "I'm done gaslighting myself, but ya'll can keep doing that if you want to." First of all, I hate when people leave comments this way, it's condescending. And in the video, I’m acknowledging what happened, which is the exact opposite of what gaslighting is.
In the past, some people commented about how he was gaslighting me. I’m not sure how anyone can reach that conclusion by me using such a vague term as “switched up”. There's no mention of how he switched up. And I didn't say what happened between us after the fact. There’s no focus on his actions because that's not particularly important to the point of the post. Without knowing what he did, how could anyone know if he gaslighted me?
In the full version of the story, I told him I noticed he was being distant and he acknowledged that he had been distant. He made an excuse about how he was busy. I knew right way that was bullshit and that this was the beginning of the end. I gave it about two weeks to see if he'd change, like I so desperately wanted him to, and when that didn't happen, I removed myself from the situation. We ran into each other about a year later, smiled and waved at each other. I haven't seen him since. There was no gaslighting.
Gaslighting is one of those words that’s excessively thrown around within the internet dating and healing space (similar to narcissist). A lot of people are quick to use the term but very few people seem to understand what it means. Medical News Today describes gaslighting as a form of psychological abuse in which a person or group causes someone to question their sanity, memories or perception of reality. In simple terms, gaslighting is the act of invalidating someone else’s perception of reality.
When we think of gaslighting, we think of it as something other people do to us, but we can gaslight ourselves. And while I might not have been gaslighting myself in that TikTok post, I have been guilty of gaslighting myself in the past and, likely, you have too. People who struggle with anxiety are more likely to experience self-gaslighting. This is because they naturally find it harder to differentiate between trusting their gut instinct and recognising self-sabotaging behaviour. There's also internalised gaslighting, which is the result of you having been gaslighted so much in the past.
Self-gaslighting can show up as minimising our feelings. This looks like telling ourselves that we’re too sensitive, or that “it’s not that serious” when we’ve had a huge emotional reaction to something. It can also show up as repeatedly ignoring how someone treats us badly. We instead tell ourselves that they didn’t mean it and, deep down they do care about us. You rationalise it further by telling yourself they were just hurt, or they’ve had it rough in the past. For some extra razzle-dazzle, you might even throw in that line about how it’s not that serious and you’re just being too sensitive.