|▲Gaslighting: Being controlled by someone else|
Recently, the word gaslighting has been frequently mentioned in the news. Gaslighting, is a psychological term that comes from the story of the protagonist, who eventually doubts her memory in the movie, "A Gas Lamp." It means to mentally devastate a person and eventually destroy them, by causing suspicions in others' minds. Gaslighting occurs in various contexts and in various relationships, such as couples, parents and children, and lover. It is difficult to recognize and admit that you are a gaslighting victim. Accidents are constantly occurring these days when the risk of gaslighting is rising significantly.
Gaslighting occurs most frequently among lovers. In July, a woman died from her husband’s gaslighting, and the bereaved family demanded punishment. Usually, the husband had continued to verbally abuse his wife, by saying things, such as, “It’s all your fault,” “I’m the only one in your family,” and his wife, who was tired of continuously fighting and being controlled, eventually died from depression. Words that seem to be for the other person, such as, “It’s all for you,” which we usually think of casually, eventually give the perpetrator control.
Gaslighting is also common among parents and children. This is because gaslighting disguised as advice, is the easiest way it can occur in this relationship. The most representative of gaslighting parents, are parents who try to control their children. Most of these parents are people who have to decide on everything to be satisfied. They try to interfere and control their children’s work and daily life. Another type of gaslighting parent, puts the responsibility on their children for economic and familial support. For example, parents with disabled children may force non-disabled children to enter special education departments or non-disabled children to care for their disabled siblings. Most gaslighting parents do not recognize their children as an independent individual, but consider them to be their own. Children raised under these parents can develop a sense of helplessness and depression, believing they are useless and can live under the direction of their parents for the rest of their lives without independence.
We should be able to diagnose gaslighting on our own, which can occur in any relationship. The way to check if you are being gaslighted, is to think about what you usually hear from the other person. If the other person often says things that raise doubts about yourself, such as, “It’s all for you” or “I’m meeting you because I’m me,” you can suspect that you are being gaslighted. On the contrary, it is also necessary to think about whether you often say these things to the other person.
Dr. Oh Eun-young, a psychiatrist, said, “The more developed the ability to feel empathy is, the more likely it is to lose objectivity toward me, and it can be confusing to determine whether what the other person says is advice or gaslighting.” She also said, “If your relationship with him is painful about the boundary of ambiguous gaslighting, you should think about it at a safe distance.” Gaslighting is definitely included as a form of abuse and can lead to violence. We all need to look around ourselves once again, to establish safe and healthy human relationships.
By So Min-young, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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