We bet you’ve heard of this word before, but what does it actually mean?
The worst thing about being gaslit is that you don’t know you’re being gaslit. You’ll just find that you’re often confused, anxious and beginning to doubt yourself and your memories.
Crazy, isn’t it?
That’s what happens when someone fucks with your mind slowly and gradually overtime.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological and emotional abuse that involves manipulating another person into doubting their own experiences, feelings and even their sanity. Experiencing this can impact you emotionally and also psychologically.
In this article, two Nigerian women with experiences of gaslighting from their ex partners and friends share their stories:
In 2019 I met *Christopher when he slid into my DMs on Twitter and invited me out to a party. Usually, I wouldn’t have even opened the message but we had been flirting on the timeline prior to when he messaged me so I was actually interested.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, we were seeing ourselves exclusively. I was so in love with the idea of being in love that everything seemed so great (but it wasn’t). I remember when we met we were very open and told each other everything, no matter how embarrassing. During one of these times, I remember him opening up to me about why his last relationship ended. He told me that he had sincerely loved his ex and was the reason why they had broken up because he cheated on her. During that time I remember loving his honesty and transparency because not all men are like that.
So anyway, that time passed and everything was good.
Until one day I went through his phone and read a conversation between him and a woman I later came to realize was his ex. He never told me her name and I never asked, but I was able to tell it was her based off certain things that were visible in the conversation.
I didn’t read a lot to exactly get me angry, but they had been chatting a lot. Like, almost every other day from what I saw.
I didn’t bring it up with him immediately because I didn’t know how to tell him I went through his phone but when I did eventually, we had a big fight but he told me something that reassured me:
He said it wasn’t his ex but an old high school friend. He said I thought very little of him that I should know he would never do that to me.
I didn’t make it a big deal because I actually felt so bad, so I dropped it.
After weeks and then like a month went by, his attitude towards me kind of changed. I can’t explain how but when you’re in a relationship with someone, you’re used to certain things that they do, and suddenly that stopped.
I questioned him a few times but he kept telling me that it was just the timing and that work was really kicking his ass.
So one day we went out to eat and we got to talking and I said to him jokingly that I hoped he wasn’t cheating on me the way he did his ex, and then he replied saying he never cheated on his ex.
I reminded him about what he told me when we met and he kept arguing that he never said that, and when I asked what the reason was for their breakup, he said that they had just decided to go their separate ways.
This became such a huge red flag to me because I knew what I heard, but he kept insisting that he had never said that so after a while, I started to doubt what I thought I heard.
Our relationship kind of went down hill from there because I wasn’t feeling settled anymore, like I just knew something was wrong and every time I begged him to tell me the truth, he always made it seem like I was crazy and too dramatic and after a while I started to believe it too.
One time he told me he didn’t know I was such a jealous and insecure girlfriend and I actually did feel that way.
Would you believe me if I told you that we reconciled in January and he finally owned up to the fact that IT WAS ACTUALLY HIS EX HE WAS TALKING TO. I asked if he cheated on me but he said he didn’t.
Imagine me believing someone like that? someone who actually succeeded in making me feel like I was crazy!
During one of my internship programs, I got sexually involved with one of the supervisors at the company I was interning for.
My friend *Tofunmi and I both applied to the same place and got accepted so we were always working together. We weren’t very close before the internship but the fact that we were both working at the same company brought us closer.
I confided in my friend about my office romance and it was something we always used to secretly laugh and joke about.
Long story short my office fling was cut short. Tofunmi came to me on different occasions to tell me to be more careful because she was so sure that people in the office knew and were talking behind my back. She even kept making me anxious and paranoid because she was so sure the company was going to let me go and report it back to my university.
Do you know how mad it is to be fired as an intern for sleeping with a supervisor? and for it to now go back to your university? Omo, I was livid. I quickly ended it but not before I found out that it was Tofunmi that couldn’t keep her mouth shut.
I heard this from another intern who assured me that they didn’t ask her any questions when she came blabbing about what another intern (me) was doing. And when I confronted her about it she assured me that she never said it, or that her words were misinterpreted.
What was mad was that I believed her because we had gotten so very close during the course of our internship and I couldn’t believe her to be that kind of person, which was very stupid of me because the signs were right there. For example, she was very controlling: She always wanted to know where I was, what I was doing, where I was going and who I was with.
I didn’t have a lot of friends so I really wanted my friendship with Tofunmi to work which is why it took me so long to realize that she was actually gaslighting me.
*Names have been changed
Unfortunately, Gaslighting comes in many forms which is why it’s so important for us to understand and identify the signs as it could be happening to us, or even someone we know.