If you often find that your memory of a particular event is questioned, or you are considered crazy even when you are confident, you might be a victim of gaslighting. While gaslighting is mainly associated with intimate relationships, individuals have often experienced gaslighting at work. When fellow employees or managers manipulate you to the point that you start questioning your sanity, perceptions, or memory, it can be considered workplace gaslighting. This article will discuss what gaslighting at work means and how one can deal with it.
What is Gaslighting at Work
Essentially gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation. Gaslighters often force you to question your version of events and your sanity. For example, your boss may call you oversensitive because you reported a coworker who made inappropriate remarks. This may not only make you question your memories but may also make you feel like an impostor. From downplaying emotions to denying past events to retelling events to make you take the blame are all common signs of gaslighting at work.
Signs of Gaslighting at Work
Since gaslighting is a more subtle form of psychological abuse, it can be hard to distinguish it from other forms of emotional abuse, like bullying. Therefore, you need to look for a few signs before concluding that you are a victim of gaslighting at work. Here are a few of them.
Persistent Negative Narrative About Your Performance
If you often find a relentless and unjustified negative narrative about your work, you will likely have a psychological abuser. Lack of healthy feedback is one of the workplace’s most significant signs of gaslighting. While it is challenging to analyze negative feedback, you can always check in with another coworker. If they also feel this kind of negativity is unwarranted, you need to take some severe steps.
Negative Gossip About Yourself
Gaslighters often attack your sense of reality by gossiping behind your back. Turning your coworkers against you tends to make you the bad guy to stay in control. If you find false rumors about yourself, always look for the truth of that gossip. Even if it is not gaslighting, you have a right to stand up for yourself and put a lid on such rumors.
Read Also: How to Take Criticism Well at Work: A Guide
Doubting Your Perception
One of the most significant signs of gaslighting is that you often feel self-doubt after meeting a coworker. It might signal to gaslight if you begin to doubt your perception of reality.
Exclusion From Professional Activities
Gaslighters often tend to exclude you from professional activities like meetings to make you feel inferior. While a single incident cannot be interpreted as an act of gaslighting, you must look out for behavioral patterns. If you are being excluded from meetings that you should have been a part of and the same person is excluding you regularly, that could be a sign of gaslighting at work.
Gaslighters Belittling Your Efforts
Gaslighters often tend to belittle your efforts to make you doubt your abilities. If you are proud of any particular project, a gaslighter will find a way to tell you that it should have been completed earlier. They can even belittle your emotions and manipulate you to the point that you cannot trust your feelings.
How To Deal with Gaslighting at Work
If you feel someone is gaslighting you at work, here are a few ways to deal with it.
Confirm If It is Gaslighting
You might often come across colleagues who are rude or selfish. However, they cannot be called gaslighters. Therefore, you must ensure you are dealing with a gaslighter. Since such people want to make you doubt yourself, you must remain kind. You can also reach out to your family and friends and ask for their perspectives.
Document Gaslighter Behavior
You can also start documenting their behavior if they are potential gaslighters. Screenshots of their messages, notes about interactions with them, and even call recordings can provide you with all kinds of information. These can act as supportive evidence if you find the gaslighter challenging you or questioning your sense of reality. You may also deal with potential fallout with such people. However, remember that your competence or self-worth was never the issue.
Focus On Self-care
If you face gaslighting at work, you must take some time off and focus on self-care. You must understand that you have not done anything wrong. You can also get the help of some third party, preferably someone outside your workplace. Try to alleviate all the negative self-talk and develop a positive frame of mind.
Read Also: Making Self-Care a Priority
Meet the Gaslighter
There is no point in avoiding such people for long. Therefore, try to confront them about their behavior. Be direct but do not make any accusations. Try to find out where the other person is facing performance-related issues. You may also bring along a coworker to back you up. If you face gaslighting at work from your manager, you can confide in any HR member.
Report the Matter to HR
Finally, if no solution is achieved after meeting your gaslighter, you must report the issue to any senior manager or a member of human resources. Make sure to share all the evidence that you have collected. Since leaders are equipped with the necessary skillsets, you can help them deal with such issues.
Gaslighting at work can significantly strain your mental health and fitness. It can also be the reason you dislike your job. Therefore, you must be well-informed to stand up against such mental abuse. With all the information in this article, you can not only deal with any gaslighters at work but also create a better work environment.
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