Narcissistic folks indoctrinate you into believing that you are less than, not enough, so you are often doubting your own reality, and undermining yourself, she said.
Therapist Ramani Durvasula explains that self-gaslighting can sometimes be a defence mechanism to preemptively counteract external gaslighting or invalidation.
Gaslighting, a widely recognized phenomenon, involves manipulation aimed at causing individuals to question their beliefs, emotions, perception of reality, and even their sanity. While this form of manipulation is commonly associated with external sources, it is important to note that gaslighting can also occur internally through self-gaslighting, wherein individuals engage in negative self-talk and harbour self-doubt. Therapist Ramani Durvasula explains that self-gaslighting can sometimes be a defence mechanism to preemptively counteract external gaslighting or invalidation. “But most often it is an internalization of the invalidating, minimizing and shaming narrative of the narcissistic people around you. Narcissistic folks indoctrinate you into believing that you are less than, not enough, so you are often doubting your own reality, and undermining yourself,” she said.
The therapist shares five signs to identify that you are self-gaslighting–
- You assume that you’re at fault
When something around you does not go as per your plan or someone is affected by the circumstances, you are the first to take the blame and say things like, “It must have been me.”
- You apologise all the time
The therapist says it is a good habit to feel sorry when you have genuinely committed a mistake, and will not be considered self-gaslighting. But when you continuously apologise for an action you are not responsible for, this may be a warning sign.
- Self-talk, where you almost reflexively refer to yourself as stupid or foolish
After continuous gaslighting by others, you tend to internalise their notions. You start thinking of yourself as useless and a burden on everyone. In any untoward incident, you refer to yourself as, “oh, I am so stupid.” or “how could I have been so foolish.”
- Undercutting your own abilities on a regular basis
This is simply to say that you lose all confidence. The therapist mentioned that it is as though you have internalised a sense of not being competent or qualified.
- You minimise your achievements
This is often confused with humility. However, the therapist says it is a reflexive response to any compliment, such as saying that it was luck or just an easy task to accomplish. You do not think of yourself as worthy of praise.