Do you experience gaslighting in your workplace?
You’re not alone.
This destructive form of manipulation is more common than you may think.
It can be an incredibly frustrating experience, and it’s something that needs to be addressed.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what gaslighting is, how to identify if you’re being gaslighted, and how to respond and how to recover from gaslighting at work.
We hope this information will help you navigate these difficult situations effectively.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or group, with the intent to gain power and control over another individual, uses lies and false information to intentionally confuse and undermine that person’s perceptions of reality.
This can be particularly damaging in the workplace, where gaslighters may use this manipulative tactic to undermine their subordinates or colleagues and gain positional power over them.
At its worst, gaslighting can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness in the victim, as their reality is constantly called into question by a cunning gaslighter.
If you’re experiencing gaslighting at work, you may feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, second-guessing yourself, and doubting your abilities. Your self-confidence may be shaken, and you may start to feel like nothing you do is good enough.
Examples of gaslighting at work
In the workplace, gaslighting can take many different forms. Here are some examples:
1. Your boss tells you that you’re not meeting expectations, when in reality, your performance is on par with the rest of your team.
2. Your colleagues spread rumors about you and question your choices, even though you’re confident in your performance and the decisions you’ve made.
3. You’re assigned more work or additional responsibilities despite having already reached capacity in your workload.
4. You notice that your boss or colleague is undermining your work or stalling on important decisions, but they deny any involvement when you bring it up.
5. You’re passed over for a promotion or pay raise, despite having strong performance reviews and recommendations, or despite being the most qualified candidate for the position.
6. You’re given vague or negative feedback that’s difficult to act on, or no feedback at all, even though you’ve asked for it multiple times.
7. Colleagues or managers frequently interrupt you during meetings or phone calls or dismiss your ideas without giving them proper consideration.
8. You feel like you’re constantly being watched or monitored by your boss or colleagues, and you’re always on edge, afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing.
If any of these situations sound familiar, you may be experiencing gaslighting at work. But don’t you worry, there are some good strategies that help you to know how to recover from gaslighting at work.
Negative effects of gaslighting on a worker
Gaslighting can have severe and lasting negative effects on a worker’s mental and emotional well-being. Here are some of the potential consequences:
- Emotional Distress: Gaslighting often leads to heightened emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and feelings of confusion. Workers may find it challenging to trust their own perceptions and feelings.
- Low Self-Esteem: Gaslighting erodes self-esteem and confidence. Constantly being told that one’s thoughts or feelings are invalid can lead to a diminished sense of self-worth.
- Isolation: Gaslighting can isolate a worker from their support network. The manipulated individual may withdraw from friends and family due to feelings of shame or a fear that others won’t believe their experiences.
- Impaired Job Performance: The stress and emotional toll of gaslighting can negatively impact job performance. Workers may struggle to concentrate, make decisions, or meet expectations due to the constant manipulation.
- Physical Health Issues: Prolonged exposure to stress and emotional abuse can manifest in physical health issues such as headaches, digestive problems, and a weakened immune system.
- Distrust of Others: Gaslighting can lead to a general distrust of others, as the victim becomes wary of being manipulated or misunderstood. This can affect both personal and professional relationships.
- Difficulty Making Decisions: Gaslighting can make it challenging for a worker to trust their judgment, leading to indecision and hesitancy in making choices, both at work and in personal life.
- Sleep Disturbances: The stress caused by gaslighting may result in sleep disturbances, including insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns. Lack of quality sleep can further contribute to physical and mental health issues.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): In severe cases, prolonged exposure to gaslighting may lead to symptoms associated with PTSD, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance.
- Impact on Career Advancement: Gaslighting can hinder career advancement as the victim may feel demoralized and incapable of asserting themselves in the workplace. This can result in missed opportunities and career stagnation.
- Financial Consequences: Gaslighting may impact a worker’s ability to advocate for themselves in terms of salary negotiations or promotions, leading to potential financial setbacks.
How to recover from gaslighting at work?
It’s crucial for individuals experiencing gaslighting to seek support and know how to recover from gaslighting at work. There are a number of steps you can take if you think your boss or colleagues are gaslighting you at work. These include:
1. Know that it really is gaslighting
As we’ve already discussed, it might be difficult to discern if you’re actually being gaslighted. Sometimes all you have to cope with is an unkind or arrogant coworker or manager. First you need to identify the gaslighting behaviour.
Knowing that behaviour will make to able to respond to gas lighting at workplace.
Be nice to yourself and keep in mind that a gaslighter’s objective is to make you to doubt your abilities. Never be afraid to seek the opinions of your friends, family, and coworkers.
2. Keep record of all evidences
Keep a record of all instances of gaslighting, including the occasion, the time, and any witnesses who were present. This can assist you in assembling a convincing argument that you can use to confront the gas lighter or report their actions to HR.
Try to avoid giving your gas lighter any room to confront you. For instance, send them a report by email rather than putting it on their desk so that you have a chain of evidence.
It’s challenging enough having to deal with the potential consequences of this person’s actions. Remind yourself that the issue is with the gaslighting, not your skill or value.
3. Maintain self-care
Maintaining self-care is essential for individuals recovering from the impact of gaslighting at work.
Prioritizing activities that promote well-being, such as regular exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending quality time with loved ones, serves as a crucial foundation for emotional and mental resilience.
Exercise not only helps alleviate stress but also contributes to overall physical health, while meditation offers a mindful space for introspection and stress reduction.
Journaling allows for the expression of emotions and the documentation of personal growth, while connecting with supportive friends and family provides a vital social support system.
By consciously incorporating these self-care practices into their routine, individuals can foster a sense of balance, regain emotional strength, and create a protective buffer against the negative effects of workplace gaslighting.
4. Approach the gas lighter directly
Directly confront the gas lighter and talk to them about their actions and how they are affecting you. Although it might not make things better right away, this can help spread awareness of their behavior and open doors for change.
Be honest when describing particular events that have an impact on your work. But make an effort to refrain from accusing others or acting in a confrontational manner.
Be strong while pointing out any areas where the other individual seems to be struggling with consistency, productivity, or remembering details. Keep in mind that the problem is not with your performance.
5. Seek support from HR
Seeking support from Human Resources (HR) is a crucial step in recovering from gaslighting at work.
Individuals experiencing gaslighting should schedule a confidential meeting with an HR representative to discuss their concerns and provide documented evidence of the gaslighting behavior.
During the meeting, it’s important to clearly articulate the specific instances of manipulation and express the emotional and professional impact it has had.
HR professionals are trained to address workplace issues, and they may initiate an investigation, implement mediation, or take other appropriate actions to resolve the situation.
Additionally, HR can provide guidance on company policies, offer resources for counseling or therapy, and take steps to ensure the victim’s well-being.
However, it’s essential to approach HR with a clear understanding of the organization’s policies and a realistic expectation of the support they can provide, recognizing that outcomes may vary depending on company culture and policies.
6. Educate yourself
Educating yourself about gaslighting involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics and tactics associated with this form of emotional manipulation.
Read books, articles, and reputable online resources that delve into the psychology of gaslighting, helping you recognize the signs and strategies employed by manipulators.
Familiarize yourself with personal boundaries, assertiveness techniques, and communication skills to navigate such situations effectively.
Engage with mental health professionals or attend workshops and support groups that focus on emotional well-being and resilience.
By educating yourself, you empower yourself to identify and respond to gaslighting, fostering a stronger sense of self-awareness and confidence.
This knowledge can be a crucial tool in mitigating the negative effects of gaslighting and taking proactive steps toward knowing how to recover from gaslighting at work.
7. Take training programs
Enrolling in training programs is a proactive and empowering step to equip oneself with the skills needed to navigate and overcome gaslighting at work.
Look for workshops or courses that specifically address emotional intelligence, assertiveness, and effective communication.
Training programs can provide valuable insights into recognizing manipulative behaviors, setting boundaries, and building resilience.
Additionally, consider programs that focus on workplace dynamics, conflict resolution, and stress management, as these can contribute to a healthier work environment.
By participating in such training, individuals not only enhance their professional toolkit but also gain a deeper understanding of interpersonal relationships, ultimately fostering personal development and the ability to navigate challenging situations with confidence and resilience.
8. Join on-line community
Joining an online community is a supportive and validating measure for those dealing with gaslighting at work.
Engaging with like-minded individuals who share similar experiences can provide a sense of solidarity and reassurance.
Online communities, forums, or social media groups dedicated to workplace issues or mental health can offer a platform to share stories, seek advice, and access resources.
Participants can gain insights into coping strategies, learn from others’ experiences, and receive emotional support in a confidential and understanding environment.
Being part of an online community fosters a sense of connection and reduces the isolation often associated with gaslighting, offering individuals an opportunity to exchange ideas, build resilience, and navigate their recovery journey with the collective wisdom of the community
9. Seek Professional Support
Seeking professional help is a crucial and beneficial step for individuals dealing with the emotional aftermath of gaslighting at work.
Engaging with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, provides a confidential space to process and navigate the impact of manipulation.
These professionals can offer guidance on coping strategies, emotional healing, and building resilience. Through therapeutic sessions, individuals can explore the root causes of the gaslighting, develop self-awareness, and regain a sense of empowerment.
Professional help is instrumental in validating the experiences of the victim, providing coping tools, and fostering a supportive environment for healing and personal growth.
10. Stand up against gaslighting at work
If you experience gaslighting, remember that it’s not your fault, and you are not alone. It can be difficult to stand up against gaslighting, especially if it’s coming from a superior at work.
However, it’s important to remember that you have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. If you feel like you’re being gaslit, speak up and assert yourself.
It can also be helpful to document instances of gaslighting. This can be a way to keep track of what’s happening and also provide evidence if you need to take further action.
If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable, you might also want to confide in a trusted friend or colleague. Having support from others can make it easier to stand up against gaslighting, and ultimately help you feel more empowered in your work environment.
11. Legal options
Legal options for individuals facing gaslighting at work typically involve consulting with employment law professionals or attorneys who specialize in workplace harassment.
Victims may explore filing a formal complaint with their company’s human resources department, documenting instances of gaslighting as evidence.
In some cases, workplace harassment laws and regulations may offer protection, and legal action against the perpetrator or the employer might be considered.
This could include filing a complaint with a relevant government agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the United States.
Legal professionals can guide individuals through the process, providing advice on the potential legal avenues available to address the gaslighting behavior and seeking remedies such as compensation or injunctive relief.
It’s essential to consult with a legal expert to understand the specific legal options applicable to the jurisdiction and circumstances
Gaslighting might make you feel alone, but you don’t have to. Depending on your particular situation, therapists and counselors can provide advice and assist you in handling a crisis or potentially harmful scenario. With patience, persistence, and determination, you can confront gaslighting at work and protect yourself from further harm. It is essential that you must know how to recover from gaslighting at work. Once you’ve dealt with the gas lighter, it would be a good idea to look for further measures to enhance your work environment and staff wellbeing.