Gaslighting feels terrible. If a friend or loved one has ever made you question your sense of reality by downplaying or manipulating a situation, it’s absolutely awful. You feel unseen, unheard, and start to believe that you’re crazy, despite your best instincts, understanding, and personal experience. What’s even more dangerous? Doing it to yourself.
Leaning into your feelings and emotions isn’t easy, but being honest with yourself is a crucial start to understanding boundaries, self-love, and setting yourself up for growth. Taking time to listen to not just how you’re feeling emotionally in your body, but physically sensing how you feel in certain situations is that deep self-care that no one talks about.
So what does this kind of self-manipulation look like? Here are 10 signs you might be gaslighting yourself:
1. Invalidating your own feelings
When you experience an emotion, that’s it. That’s the feeling, and it’s valid, because it happened. Telling yourself “it’s stupid to be sad or angry about this” is telling yourself that your own human experience is incorrect, just because it may be different from someone else’s.
2. Thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with you
Feeling like there is something wrong with you on a deep level just because you’re not super rich, a supermodel, or married to the person of your dreams is incredibly self-harming and does not perpetuate loving self-acceptance that will allow you to grow your own unique strengths, or heal old wounds.
3. Ignoring your intuition
If you ever have a bad feeling about someone, an ick about a situation or a place, and ignore it because you feel like you are being too closed-minded or want to avoid FOMO, you could end up getting hurt. Listen to what your gut is telling you—it’s OK to trust yourself.
4. Making excuses for someone else’s bad behavior
We’ve all had someone in our life who repeatedly hurts us, and we downplay it to others by making excuses for them, or even taking the fall for their behavior. We assume the problem is actually us, instead of realizing that they may actually just be a selfish jerk.
5. Minimizing your thoughts and feelings
When we tell ourselves that we are just too stupid, or too sensitive, we aren’t allowing ourselves freedom of expression, experience, or judgment based on our own collection of life experiences that allow us these individualized gifts.
6. Doubting your capabilities
When we say things like, “She’s amazing, but I could never do that,” we sell ourselves short. Practice being your own hype man/woman/BFF.
7. Second-guessing your memories
Oftentimes we allow someone else’s recollection to shape our own, instead of believing our own account.
8. Constantly comparing yourself
We all do it, and in the age of social media, it’s almost impossible not to. We have to get ourselves in the habit of loving the unique parts of ourselves that make us us, instead of hating the parts of us that are different from someone else who is admirable in different ways.
9. Constantly blaming yourself
Self-awareness is incredible and important. But always blaming yourself for everything is not a productive way to build yourself up, create change, and evolve. Acceptance over blame, any day.
10. Feeling guilty when you need help
Being unable to ask for help without feeling guilty or like you’re massively inconveniencing someone is a surefire way to manipulate yourself out of getting the support you need. Let yourself need someone, and ask for it gratefully, but unapologetically.
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