According to conventional understanding, unintentional gaslighting is a specific form of psychological abuse that is driven by a deliberate wish to cause pain. This is a topic that is frequently covered in the literature and is connected to sociopaths, narcissists, etc. However, there is another kind of psychological abuse that is just as harmful, with the exception that it is accidental or unconscious.
In order to make victims question their own memory, perception, and sanity, information is distorted or spun, withheld from them in ways that favor the abuser, or presented as false. This is known as gaslighting.
Unintentional Gaslighting Examples
Therefore, the following 10 instances of unintentional gaslighting.
#1. Telling Lies Outright
White lies are frequently considered to be insignificant little things.
We don’t consider it to be a huge thing if we forget to buy roses for our significant other and instead claim they are out of them.
We justify it to ourselves as a minor falsehood. Nobody will get hurt by it.
Except that it makes allowances for the possibility that you are more flawed than your partner may believe.
You portray yourself as the devoted partner who always has their significant other on their mind, but the truth is that the florist was to blame for the lack of flowers.
You may have been concentrating on something else entirely.
White falsehoods change the truth more than you may imagine.
#2. Ignoring a Dispute Before Settling it
It’s possible that you got into a quarrel with your friend over their divergent perspectives on a certain issue.
But instead of reaching a consensus, you declare, “I’m sick of this fight. I am done talking about this.”
This conveys the idea that you’re denying the other person the opportunity to present you with their version of the truth.
When there was actually still more to say, you took command of the conversation out of irrational fury and frustration.
#3. Ignoring Warning Signs
Did you know that you can gaslight yourself as well?
Maybe your relationship has been abusive and disloyal to you.
Your friends have witnessed them treating you badly and acting as though there isn’t any love in your relationship.
However, you continue to assert your ability to alter them.
You convince yourself that they are simply having a rough day and that all they require is some rest or empathy.
By disregarding the warning signs, you’re denying the possibility that your spouse isn’t right for you.
The worst part is that you could not even see it since every time someone brings it up, you dismiss them as insane.
#4. Imputing Blame for other People’s Deeds
When you make a mistake when working in a group, you could automatically attribute it to someone else being “too” nervous or “too” careless.
But in actuality, your actions were motivated by personal insecurities. It served as a means of protection for you.
You may have unintentionally gaslit others by shifting blame.
#5. Making a Remark Is Not a Big Deal
Saying that a loss isn’t a big issue when something tragic occurs to you or someone you love, like getting into a car accident, losing a job, or going through a divorce, could very well be a coping method.
That you’ll need to find another employment in a competitive job market; that you’ll have to pay a very real and exact amount of money that you might not have to; and that you’ve spent years of your life with someone who doesn’t share your values.
#6. Not Speaking Up
Gaslighting occasionally occurs without any spoken exchange.
For instance, you can be interacting with someone who regards you as their best friend.
You don’t really view them that way, though.
They are more entertaining to be around than someone you would ask to be your best man or maid of honor, in your opinion.
However, you haven’t informed them of that, so they are unaware of it.
You’re allowing people to think that you are more significant to their lives than they may realize by remaining silent.
You might even be acting in good faith; you don’t want to hurt their feelings, so you continue.
But be aware that you’re enabling them to carry on living a lie.
#7. Making Snap Judgments about Various People
You could be quick to reject an idea when someone presents it to you that you aren’t used to hearing.
You could think, “That thought is too strange.”
Even if you may have meant to protect them from a disastrous failure, by judging their proposal too quickly, you’re actually persuading reality to bend to your will and forcing them to follow your definition of what is normal.
#8. Disagreement Based on a Person’s Past
You can be discussing business-related subjects with someone when you decide to leave.
Who knows what they do? They didn’t earn university degrees as I did.
You’re claiming that someone’s history invalidates their opinion, which is an inadvertent distortion of reality.
In contrast to what you think of your university as the cradle of genius, it portrays it as a place of idiocy.
#9. Giving False Assurances
You tell your pal you’ll be there at 10, but you actually show up at 11. After apologizing, you continue.
Even though it could only be one tiny error, if you frequently break your promises, you run the risk of giving your friend a false impression of what promises really mean.
And if you don’t apologize, it gets even worse.
A promise is by its very nature expected to be kept.
A promise starts to lose its impact the more often you break them.
When others make promises, your pal can become overly skeptical.
#10. Disseminating Rumors
You may have heard from your close friends that a person you knew had an unplanned pregnancy and abandoned the woman.
You don’t have any proof; it’s all hearsay.
However, you decide that it is too juicy to keep to yourself, so you share it.
By spreading the rumor, you’re altering how people view the subject of your gossip.
You portray him as being careless, unstable, and excessively promiscuous by letting others know.
When what you’re stating isn’t actually true in reality.
Unintentional Gaslighting Signs
Here are some indicators that you might be unintentionally gaslighting someone:
#1. You Correct Others When They Express Views That Are Contrary to Your Own by Telling Them They Are Wrong
We all think and behave in different ways. You are being a good person if you call out someone whose behavior is particularly cruel or unpleasant.
However, do you generally find it difficult to accept that other people have the freedom to act or think in ways that differ from your own—and then do you feel compelled to correct them? Do you ever read a blog article or social media post and feel compelled to write a derogatory comment because the author’s point of view or method of operation doesn’t meet your standards? Do you find it challenging to hold your tongue when you have a viewpoint that could be extremely damaging to someone else?
When you criticize someone’s beliefs and behavior, especially when you make them afraid to argue with you or put them in a tough situation where they can’t answer you, you are engaging in emotional abuse. One example of significantly warped thinking is the desire to proclaim your conviction that you are correct and everyone else is wrong without regard for how others may feel.
#2. You Don’t Think Lying Is Harmful
We probably all occasionally utter a small untruth to save ourselves from trouble or land the job we really desire. However, if you find yourself lying frequently, you should consider the effect it is probably having on the person who is the target of the deception.
Imagine that you have been using your roommate’s makeup as you like. They confront you after seeing that the tub is draining more quickly than usual. You lie—perhaps becoming upset and even defensive in the process. You didn’t touch it, of course!
#3. You Skim Over the Altercations
Imagine if you and a close friend or family member had a disagreement that resulted in doors being slammed but didn’t result in a decision being made. Perhaps the dispute was about whether or not you should move houses.
Do you later find yourself refusing to bring up the argument or follow through? you simply move on from the incident without saying sorry or taking the time to address the problems that precipitated the altercation?
How to Stop Unintentional Gaslighting
Here are five suggestions for Unintentional Gaslighting
#1. Check to see whether it’s Gaslighting First
Gaslighting can be difficult to spot because it frequently begins small and other behaviors can occasionally be mistaken for it.
True gaslighting turns into a pattern of manipulation that is repeated repeatedly. Usually, a gaslighter wants you to doubt your judgment and rely on their version of reality.
Therefore, it’s not always gaslighting when someone disagrees with you, even in a nasty or critical manner.
Sometimes, despite evidence to the contrary, people insist that they are correct because they are sure of their own understanding. insisting, “You’re mistaken! Although saying “I know what I’m talking about” isn’t always nice, it’s usually not gaslighting if they aren’t attempting to control you.
#2. Give the Situation some Distance
It makes sense to feel a range of intense emotions when dealing with gaslighting.
Although all of your emotions, including anger, irritation, concern, grief, and fear, are all appropriate, try not to let them dictate how you respond at the moment. You’ll be able to manage the issue better if you maintain your composure.
Given that it is wholly wrong, you may want to refute what the individual trying to gaslight you said.
#3. Gather proof
It can be helpful to keep track of what’s really happening when someone is trying to gaslight you by documenting your encounters with them. When they dispute a discussion or an occurrence, you can review the details and confirm the accuracy for yourself.
Here are some suggestions:
- Save or screenshot emails and texts.
- Document any damaged property using photos.
- Record conversational times and dates.
- Summarize your discussions, including exact quotes wherever you can.
- Record talks on your phone. If you need to seek legal counsel, local laws might restrict you from sharing these recordings, but you can let others know what’s going on.
#4. Call Attention to the Behavior
Gaslighting is effective because it perplexes you and undermines your self-assurance. The individual trying to gaslight you might conclude it isn’t worth it if you demonstrate that the behavior doesn’t upset you.
Gaslighting frequently includes insults and lies in addition to deception and lying. You can let them know you won’t tolerate the conduct by calling it out in a calm and assertive manner. Don’t be hesitant to speak up because doing so will encourage people to respect your privacy more.
They could attempt to cover up insults with jokes, unintentional compliments, or the phrase “I’m only trying to assist.” They might discover these tactics won’t work on you if you ask them to clarify the joke as if you don’t understand it.
#5. Get Others Involved
You might be concerned that discussing the situation with others will spark drama. However, it’s crucial to seek advice and support from reliable sources when dealing with gaslighting.
One of the most popular and effective forms of manipulation is gaslighting. Even though the victim may not always be aware of it, typical gaslighting is intentional and the gaslighter does it consciously.
Unintentional gaslighting is more common in partnerships but less destructive. Keep an eye out for it to avoid self-doubt and hesitation.
Unintentional Gaslighting FAQS
Can someone unknowingly Gaslight?
Can someone gaslight it unintentionally?
Yes, unconscious gaslighting is possible when the gaslighter isn’t aware that they are doing it. It occurs when the gaslighter has no intention of making the other person think they are losing their minds. Close connections, such as those between parents, kids, partners, and spouses, frequently involve it.
Can gaslighting be done unintentionally?
Gaslighting can occur in any relationship in real life. Sometimes it’s unintended, maybe indicating a person’s effort to shift blame for an error or hide anything shady they’re doing (like having an affair or abusing drugs).
How do you deal with an unintentional gaslighter?
Here are eight suggestions for reacting and regaining the initiative.
- Check to see if it’s gaslighting first.
- Get away from the situation for a while.
- Assemble evidence.
- Speak up in regards to the behavior.
- Keep your faith in your story of what happened.
- Put your attention on taking care of yourself.
- Include other people.
- Get help from an expert.