Workplace gaslighting | Rebecca Jane
Last week we delved into the murky world of narcissism, this week, we’re onto gaslighting.
Have you ever been lied to or manipulated into doubting your own sanity?
If so, chances are you have probably been gaslit. What is reasonably uncommon to know is gaslighting often doesn’t just happen in relationships or families, but in the workplace too.
A gaslighter's sole goal in life is to control and dominate, people and situations.
They display extreme amounts of control, and often have perfectionist behavior patterns too. A gaslighter will never say ‘sorry, I got this wrong’.
They will stop at no obstacle to convince you and anyone around you that they are right, you are wrong and they will enlist a whole tool of techniques to complete their mission. Ranging from charmingly manipulating you, deceive and confuse you until you’re left in a life of torment and trauma. Doubting your own sanity and everyone around you.
The problem with gaslighting in the workplace, it often goes unreported. The victims are too scared of repercussions, from bullying in the workplace to harassment and ultimately being disposed of.
There is no greater fear for most adults than being able to provide for their family, meaning they will overlook gaslighting more in a workplace than in a relationship setting. A workplace setting can often be a gaslighter thriving zone!
A gaslighter is highly intelligent, but unable to deal with any negative criticism. This is why gaslighters tend to end up in positions of power and authority, because they fight their way to the top, often regardless of skill or experience.
A position of power is their comfort zone, and they often don’t operate well with the lower ranks of employment.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of your boss being the gaslighter, you’ll end up living in a state of constant fear and paranoia. The problem is, it doesn’t end when the working clock knocks off. It seeps into home life, relationships and affects children of the house too.
Have you ever been in a working environment where you’ve been built up, only to be brought down? Chances are this is happening just to feed the ego of the gaslighter! Verbally abused or attacked in front of peers? That’s to inflate their presence and assert authority. Making everyone around them scared so they have the workforce playing to the beat of their drum...
The best advice I can give you on how to handle work place gaslighting? (Except getting out of there as quick as you can...)
TAKE NOTES about everything and keep a diary. Times, dates and DON’T keep it on a work computer, for crying out loud.
Diaries prove vital evidence in law, but more importantly it helps you prove to yourself that you are not going crazy. Once you see what you’ve been through in writing, it soon becomes a clear picture.
TALK TO YOUR COLLEGUES. A gaslighting boss will do all they can to cut you off from the people around you. They will make you fearful to talk to colleagues and make you think you’re the problem. Don’t allow their systematic abuse continue. Speak up, but speak the truth! The bottom line is, it’s probably not just you it is happening to.
TALK – to the gaslighter. This may be a hard one to do. Truly gas lit employees are scared senseless of talking to the person in question, and given the gas lighters trigger point of being criticised, this has to be handled carefully. A true gas lighter will often not admit they are wrong, in fact they will normally blame EVERYONE but them and you in the process... but in an ideal world, you want to give them a chance to explain themselves.
CLIMB THE LADDER. Don’t accept gaslighting behaviour, speak to your manager, speak to HR and ultimately speak to the boss! If the gas lighter is the boss, join a union and protect yourself going forward.
THE LAW. Seek legal help. This kind of behaviour is abuse, more importantly, it takes people years to recover from and some people will never recover. If you are ever taking out house insurance and you’re asked, ‘do you want legal cover?’ Just say yes! You may think ‘why would I need legal insurance on my home policy?!’ but it is for situations like this.
Legal expenses cover on a home insurance policy usually always covers employment issues. It can also be found on credit cards some times too!
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation and emotional abuse. A gas lighter avoids responsibility for their toxic traits and behaviour by lying, denying and making you question everything you know. Your facts, your feelings and your memory. They leave no stone unturned.
This type of person will make you crazy and confused... but let me tell you now. This is manipulation of the highest order, toxic and unacceptable behaviour. YOU are not the problem, THEY are.
Stay safe, and stay strong.
‘Rebecca Jane looks after the mental health of over 10,000 people in workplaces and businesses across the UK. Free support and services are also available to Lancashire residents under her company www.rj8.co.uk. If you’re struggling, please contact them or one of the charities below’.
www.relate.org.uk – Gas lighting support in relationships.
www.womensaid.org.uk – Support for women.
www.giveusasshout.org – Support for men.