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The Two G’s of Emotional Manipulation: Gaslighting and Guilt

Emotional manipulation is something that many women who have been overtaken by chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol have participated in. The disease of addiction prevents us from being thoroughly truthful, honest, and responsible for our emotions with others. Too often, the patterns of our active addiction can follow us into our active recovery. Though we have worked hard to make changes ourselves, we might fall into relationship patterns that bring similar behaviors back to us. Painful and damaging, gas lighting and guilt can eventually drive us to make poor choices for coping. If you are in a relationship where you are experiencing either of these emotional manipulations, reach out for help.

Gas Lighting

To gaslight someone is to mess with their perception of reality and sanity. The term comes from a movie, called Gaslight, in which a character is driven mad by the manipulative tactics of another person. People who gaslight other people are deeply troubled and are in need of therapeutic attention because they intentionally go out of their way to hurt another person and watch them lose their sense of reality. Someone who operates at this level will keep up a lie, a story, and their defenses over and over again to prove your accusations incorrect. Their attempts will be adamant to the point that you start to doubt your accusations, you start to doubt your sanity, and you lose your grip on what’s real. In your heart, you know the truth, but their manipulations are convincing. It has taken some women setting up “nanny cams” in their houses or leaving their phones on record to catch this kind of emotional manipulation first hand. If you believe someone in your life is going out of their way to gaslight and manipulate you, reach out for help immediately and create an exit strategy from that relationship as promptly as possible.

Guilt-Trips

One of the most effective forms of emotional manipulation is the use of guilt. Emotionally manipulative people use guilt as a tool to separate you from your convictions and make you feel bad for having any. Guilt is used to put the blame and responsibility back onto you instead of them for any of their wrong doings. When you request something of them and they don’t follow through, they will put guilt on you for having such expectations. When you let them know that your feelings were hurt, they will put guilt on you for making them feel bad. There is no winning when one of the mechanisms in an emotionally manipulative relationship is the use of guilt. Learning to take responsibility for yourself and not adopt the emotional responsibility of another takes time. Let go of the guilt and watch the relationship change dramatically.