June 05, 2019

Insights on Gaslighting

William & Mary Ombuds, Mark Patterson, has published an article for the online magazine Medium: "Overcoming Gaslighting in a Higher Education Setting." Through a fictional case, Patterson examines how gaslighting leads victims to question their perceptions of reality and some remedies.

Because gaslighting behaviors are subtle and tailored to victims and circumstances, the best way to look for gaslighting is to look for its impact. Here are some indicators someone may be the target of gaslighting:
  • She second-guesses herself often
  • She feels acutely incompetent despite earlier successes;
  • She feels a need to “prove” herself by working harder;
  • She feels isolated from others despite previous good relations;
  • She avoids contribution out of a fear of being trivialized, undermined or mocked;
  • She constantly shifts priorities based on ever-changing demands;
  • She shies away from opportunities; and
  • She avoids or deflects conversations about work with family and friends.
Patterson says there are essentially three ways to challenge gaslighting behaviors: complain, confront and reframe. The article could be a useful tool for Ombuds in any setting. (Medium.)

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