It wasn’t long ago that I found myself waking up in the middle of the night trembling and shattering. Phobias got through into my life and stress got to be the common constant in my life. My brain stopped experiencing reality the way it was used to and there was a lack of cohesion in my thought patterns. Social encounters would be a dreadful experience, others had transformed into unrelated foreigners needed to be avoided at all costs, and eye contact would turn my stomach upside down. Yes, I was going through a period of trauma and PTSD with all the agonising symptoms. And the worst part was I didn’t even want to admit it.
But how did I got myself into such a condition. How can a healthy, physically strong individual turn into a timid, battered version, too scared of even coming in contact with others. How can a relaxed and carefree person transform into the representation of anxiety and stress unable even to recognise his demise. Truth be told I’m still trying to uncover the truth and make peace with it. Only you can’t embark on an encounter like that unless you are fully prepared to face well hidden truths and secrets that are sure to cause some frustration and pain.
As always, most of the interpersonal problems originate from opposing viewpoints. Imagine two entities having a different sense of reality, of how things work and what makes up right and wrong. Not only it’s gonna create a heck of confusion but it will also lead each other into projecting their reality to the other person, making the situation even more obscure from what it already is.
Tome, being part of team that my values didn’t align with, alienated my core though a series of conflicts that made things worse and worse. Things were turned upside down to prove me wrong when I was right, appreciation to work I had sweat on putting lots of effort to achieve was diminished and degraded, any success I had was radically ignored and any mistaken swollen to the bitter end. I was gaslighted in the the worst of the ways and my whole reality was shattered to a million pieces. But before we dive into the bits and bolts of it lets see how we got there in the first place.
Having been raised with values of empathy, doing good and prioritizing others above yourself, I found hard to come in terms with a bureaucratic environment that points were given on superficial values and communication games. The art of working on your craft, unfolding your creativity to the subject you love and deepen on it day after day got substituted by office politics where accusations where thrown constantly, passive aggressive behaviour was flying back and forth and the actual value coming out of your work was totally diminished. The values of what matters and what not were reversed in a way that allowed chaos to emerge in a professional environment. And what is worse is that the status quo was internalised and employed by everyone in the company, all while culture was masqueraded with superficial commonalities.
Projecting Your View
What causes the biggest confusion of all in dealing with different mindsets, is that unconsciously you are gonna project your reality to others. You naturally assess that because you evaluate hard work and professionalism higher than empty words, others have the same rules internalised as you. You assume that because you think in terms of win win situations and altruism, everyone is thinking in the same terms. Only the world doesn’t work that way and your innocence is gonna turn back and bite you in the most unexpected ways.
What is gaslighting
So what is gaslighting to begin with. How does it work and what are its origins. Gaslighting is a form of phycological manipulation. It is a communication game mostly played by narcissists that deny reality, obscures the truth blatantly and leave you shredded in pieces looking for a ground to hold you up. It’s an answer to a question that knows only how to point at you and all the lights have you right in the center. Every time you make a logical question referencing something in the environment or another person, the gaslighter is calmly and smoothly gonna find a way and turn the light back right facing you. It’s the same technique narcissists use to turn the lights on them and talk constant about their achievements when it is more suited, leaving you with no time to speak. It’s the same mechanism only in that case they use their brilliant techniques to turn the light on you. If you need a particular image to think of narcissists its basically that.. light manipulators..
Gaslighting comes in two versions. One is the unconscious way and the other the conscious. Let’s just say that were you to deal with any of the two you would be glad to pick the unconscious one. Although the result is the same, in this case instead of being manipulated upfront, you are basically dealing with a form of avoidance applied by a person that doesn’t know how to deal with interpersonal issues more honestly. One can argue that they simply lack the maturity and mental habits in dealing with it more effectively. Who knows, maybe with a bit of luck you can train them in being more open and honest.
The most heavy version is the one that the gaslighter not only knows fully well what he is doing but he has trimmed and tune out his technique so well that you can barely gasp what is happening in front of your eyes. There are many ways you can see this scenario but basically it’s a game played out to keep the control on their court. It’s a way to confuse you and question your reality in such a way that you basically decide to give up yourself and transmit your power to them willingly. They manage to plug a bug right into your head that constantly questions your confidence and abilities. The result? you plummet down so low you loose all trust in yourself. This way they get to be the solo players making all the decisions themselves even in the account of you. You you have been turned into a timid version of yourself that is too scared to speak up on anything. You accept it all and sign our name to it as well.
Having been into a situation like this I can attest how difficult it is to deal with it. If you think their actions are obvious, or that logic will eventually prevail think again. These are people honing into their skill-set their whole life. They have been perfecting their techniques 24/7 so they can get by with the least amount of trouble and most often than not they are especially smart and cunning. What you are gonna have to deal with eventually is not their words but your sense of reality.
Itwasn’t without wonder that I had reach a point that I would have to be apologising for things I was correct, good intentions and attitudes would go through questioning and debasement as of ambivalent nature and quality work would be undermined by minor and superficial deficits. My whole world as I knew it would turn upside down. Questioning your reality will eventually lead down a path of closing up to yourself, avoiding human interaction, swelling a victims mindset and creating a disturbing view of the world depicting you being alone fighting against everybody else. Fear, scepticism and anxiety are gonna become the standard pillars of what you experience. But if you take a moment and trust your eyes for what you see you are gonna realise you are leading down a path directed by others. This confusion only exists as long as you place others above you..
Most of the times you will encounter interpersonal issues that have multifaceted angles and solutions. This is not the case here. You only have one course of action when dealing with such scenario and it’s the only one you can rely on. You need to turn the internal compass to point straight at you and find strength from within. You need to cut out abruptly anything external and assess them for what they are. Pure noise and utterances that mean to confuse you and need to be ignored. Going through it can be harsh and cold but if this is what it takes to find strength and start believing in you again then so be it. It’s a road worth walking..0