Outsmarting a gas lighter

One of the hardest behaviours to observe in coaching is witnessing someone attached to another for what they can get from them rather than what they can contribute. I have noticed that when the focus is not on creating an authentic connection its purpose is on creating a disconnection inside the others person’s mind where they hope to receive some personal gain. Sometimes it’s for competition as they don’t want to see the other succeed, or to gain monetarily and receive support, or simply not wanting to be abandoned in whatever addictions they share. Only a few times I have witnessed it be from hatred and rage or a belief the other person is not smart or good enough. Qualities that cannot be hidden from an empath.

I have witnessed gaslighting someone is never for the qualities of love like appreciation, respect, or empathy. It seems that once the cycle starts it quickly turns into entitlement or ownership of the other. People doing the gaslighting don’t get how these controlling behaviours are easily identifiable and visibly recognizable, especially by an empath. It’s felt emotionally by the person they are gaslighting however witnesses can easily observe the mental manipulation. The gaslighting is like mind control, or a false reality. It is very destructive and harmful. In some situationships it can last for years where the experiences become dark, lonely, and painful. The person on the receiving end either doesn’t seem to recognize it at first or they believe it will change.

Most people don’t go into relationships with the expectation to be on the receiving end of this type of behaviour so can be naive to it. An element of human conditioning is to trust. Initially a common reaction to it is shock, surprise, freezing or fighting back. Once the behaviour is habituated it seems to be internalized by the receiver where is transforms into feelings and damaging beliefs related to self-worth. Regardless of these fight, flight or freeze reactions they can be purposely stimulated for controlling the actions of someone to stop them from moving forward and acting. Over time the person being manipulated is noticeably drained, stressed, angry or depressed and often will seek artificial stimulants to cope.

Often the person on the receiving end of this manipulative behaviour will believe there is something wrong with them from the feelings that are stimulated by the gas lighter. Gas lighting often interferes with the receiver’s connection to what is meaningful and their values by creating doubts. Long-term reactions to this are a lack of self-esteem, self-value, and confidence. The joy for me in these over-the-top situationships has been integrating somatic learning models that cannot be manipulated due to the very nature of focusing on connecting to what is meaningful in the moment – one’s values. There is no focus of attention on someone speaking for another, being the teacher, therapist, or authority. Each learns how to speak for only themselves and listen without correction or convincing the other parties. There is no focus on telling the story to ascertain who is right and who is wrong. The key is to process the story using practical steps to integrate skills on how to communicate and accept differences where all parties are valued equally. I would have loved to have grown up in this type of cultural experience, however the gift of not living it became the purpose for exploring it and making discoveries for the past three decades.

Life, Lifestyle, Relationship & Empathy Coaching

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by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP @ Inside Awareness,  
Renee Lindstrom Live
Copyright 2014 – 2023 Renee Lindstrom, GCFP

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