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5 LIES YOU WILL HEAR FROM A GAS-LIGHTER


Gaslighting is a word that we have all unfortunately come to know, it is not a new tactic used to manipulate people, we have just found a word to define it. In one way or another we have all most likely experienced the mental confusion that being gas-lite brings and the emotional turmoil that can follow as you sort out what you know is the truth from what you are being told is a lie.


In my twenty-three years on earth, I, like many of you reading, have been manipulated numerous times by family members, exes, friends, and even bosses. Each time hits me like a ton of bricks as it is often an unexpected response and always leaves me feeling unheard and blameworthy regardless of the details of the situations. As I have gotten older and experienced this more than once, I've picked up on a few patterns of a gas-lighter and want to shed some light on the lies you are being told.


Before I list the 5 lies you will hear from a gas-lighter, you should know that if you are uncomfortable with a situation and bring it to the attention of the other party, you did the right thing. It takes a lot of courage to point out something that is bothering you in a respectful way, standing up for yourself isn't an easy thing to do, so be proud knowing that you believed in yourself enough to put your foot down when being mistreated. As time goes on I hope for both our sakes that the opinion of a gas-lighter will matter very little, if any at all.

 

1. Do Not Burn Your Bridges


This line is one that is continuously thrown at me in the working environment, but it's just simply not true. The idea of not burning your bridges might benefit you sometimes but it's extremely rare and let's be honest, sometimes bridges NEED to be burned.


I've worked in some extremely toxic work environments, only to be told not to burn my bridges when deciding to leave. It sounds logical because it's most likely something we've all grown up hearing over and over again, but if you are choosing to remove yourself from a toxic environment or relationship then you have realize that you cannot leave and opening for that same negativity to follow you into your new job or relationship.


It is a good thing to start fresh, and you might even realize that the gas-lighter is only telling you this to prevent the truth about them or the organization from getting out. Remember to guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23), some people should not have an open access bridge straight to your heart, who you allow in and out of your life matters.


2. You Can't Do It Without Me


It's so easy for us to think that we are the center of the universe and the whole world would stop spinning if we didn't exist. It's not to say that we do not hold purpose and significance on earth but there are other people in the world that are better at what we do than us.


For someone to tell you that you will not be successful without them is a straight up lie. I'm going to say that again for the ones who missed it: for someone to tell you that you will not be successful, find love, be happy, etc. without them is a straight up lie from the pit of hell. You get to decide that for yourself and there are plenty of other people in the world that are willing to help you without hanging it over your head in the future. If someone truly wants to see you succeed or someone truly wants to love you, they will not hold you hostage to the idea that you would be nothing without them or their help.


3. You Are Misrepresenting Me or Misinterpreting What I Meant


This is probably the most common phrase from this list because while it is mostly a lie, there can be some truth found to it. I like to believe that people do not intentionally set out to hurt other people, however when dealing with a manipulative person, nine times out of ten, they will never see your side of the story.


In a healthy and mature conversation you should be able to express how something was perceived without the other person invalidating your experience even if that wasn't their intention. They then have the opportunity to experience what their intention truly is and the two of you can begin working towards figuring out forgiveness and ways to prevent a misunderstanding like this from happening again in the future. But a gas-lighter just isn't going to be willing to put that amount of effort into your relationship with them. Their main goal is to guilt you into just dropping the whole thing and moving on without any thing being resolved.


Matthew 18:15-17 says “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." To put this in some more simple terms, someone who truly cares about you will take the time to hear you out even if it requires some extra counseling from another friend, therapist, etc. but someone who only thinks of himself/herself will not, then you are free to disassociate yourself from them.


4. You Are Upset Over Nothing


Someone who isn't willing to admit that they are wrong will try to make you feel delusional for the issues you are bringing to their attention. You'll commonly hear things like, "you're so dramatic," "you are not appreciative of the things I have done for you," "you're crazy," "I don't understand why you're so upset," and everyones favorite, "I was just joking."


There is never a time when you should not be heard when expressing your concerns about a situation, especially if you follow what Jesus tells us in the scripture listed above (Matthew 18:15-17.) And for a person to invalidate your truth about a situation that is bothering you only speaks to their character, not yours. It is very easy to allow these types of phrases to confuse you into thinking that you are overreacting about a situation, but it's important to remember to listen to your gut instinct whenever you're seeing conflicting messages. If your gut is telling you that something is not right, chance are you are spot on.


5. It's Your Fault


Lastly, a gas-lighter will try to convince you that you are at fault. This will probably consist of victim blaming, blackmailing, and lots of gossip. My advice for this one... Do not be afraid to be the villain. Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk this earth and was still hated by some. There is no biblical promise that you will be liked by everyone and that is okay.


Take a deep breath knowing that not everyone has to know your side of the story in order for you to move on to healthier and more peaceful things. And rest knowing that you did the best thing for yourself by removing yourself from a toxic relationship or environment.

 

While I only listed 5 lies you will hear from a gas-lighter, there are hundreds more to be watchful of. It's wise to have a couple close confidants that you can share this type of information with so they can help you decide if you are truly being gas-lite or not as these types of situations can be very emotional and require a clear head to help see things with a understanding perspective.


You should not only be watchful for these traits in other people, but in yourself also. Most of us don't like being told that we did something wrong or hurt someone else, so it's easy to get defensive and brush off the other persons feelings. But if we consider Ephesians 4:3 which says "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." We will understand that some conflict is necessary in order to keep unity. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you these traits both in others and within yourself so you strive to be more like Jesus each and everyday.

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