This article was written between 13.3.21 – 6.5.21
From time to time I choose to bring you more profound and advanced articles, that relate to the transformation of the human psyche and consciousness from a wide and innovative perspective.
Kindly note that this article is meant for those of you who are looking to deepen and gain further understandings and tools to increase your awareness, and it leads on a journey that requires time for reading and containment.
If you are willing to dedicate time and attention -
🔹 Dedicate half an hour
🔹 Find a quiet place where you can concentrate and delve deeper when reading
🔹 And embark with me on a journey that will enrich you and enable you to observe your relationships and lives from a point of view that deals with the topic of Gaslighting
What is this article about?
Lately, we hear a lot about the term Gaslighting. This term is becoming more and more popular and is mentioned in different variations, both in the personal relationship level and also in social and political subjects.
🔹 What is Gaslighting?
🔹 How does it reflect the society we live in?
🔹How can the fear of Gaslighting harm the ability to evolve on the consciousness and spiritual level?
🔹 How can we maintain relationships and interactions based on positivity, promoting growth, and development?
🔹 And what are the three guidelines for mutual growth and inspiration?
In this article, I would like to discuss Gaslighting from a spiritual and conscious point of view, to shed light upon this phenomenon, and mainly to provide understandings and tools that will allow you to notice when you are being affected by Gaslighting, and when you are engaging proper reciprocal relations that hold mutual growth and inspiration.
But first, let’s understand this term’s meaning, based on its Wikipedia definition:
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of ongoing manipulation created by sowing seeds of doubt in memories or events that took place in the lives of a targeted individual, in order to destabilize the victim and gain control over them.
Gaslighting is actually a long process of emotional abuse, involving a constant denial of a facto or facts, which make the victim question their own memory and the ability to rely on it, as well as their perception and a general understanding of the reality. Thus, the victim experiences constant anxiety and confusion
People can act upon this kind of abuse where they undermine others opinions consciously or unconsciously, combined with other manipulative or hurtful tactics, in order to control another individual, as well as to coerce a specific narrative on them, repulse criticism, or deny their own actions.
The term originates in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 stage play ‘Gas Light’.
In the story, the husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes. The play's title alludes to how the abusive husband slowly dims the gas lights in their home, while pretending nothing has changed, in an effort to make his wife doubt her own perceptions. He further uses the lights in the sealed-off attic to secretly search for jewels belonging to a woman whom he has murdered. He makes loud noises as he searches, including talking to himself. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimming lights, noises, and voices, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting that the lights are the same and instead it is she who is going insane.
The term "gaslighting" has been used colloquially since the 1960s to describe efforts to manipulate someone's perception of reality. (Wikipedia - Gaslighting)
Gaslighting - an outcome of the society we live in
The gaslighting phenomenon is an inseparable part of the society we live in, as it involves competing over resources, an unbalanced tendency for overachievements, violence, survival consciousness, and fading values.
This is a reality where one’s evaluation of self and reality is constantly challenged, as more and more people being flooded with information that undermines the ability to estimate what is ‘true’ reality, and what is ‘false’ reality. We are constantly exposed to enormous amounts of tendentious information, rewriting the facts, flooding with fake news, and creating a programmed, well-edited, photoshopped, and filtered reality, so one can no longer distinguish what is true and what is false.
The fluid, dynamic, and multi-faceted nature of the reality we live in, has shaken all that we have known and has led to more and more phenomena where the public’s consciousness is manipulated by commercial factors, the media, and politicians - all creating manipulations of consciousness and playing with both the personal and collective public’s opinion, in behalf of selfish and narrow interests.
Gaslighting is a part of all areas of our lives, both on the personal level and in personal relationships and also on the collective level and in the relations between the individual and commercial and political institutions.
This is a reality of abuse, where one systematically makes another lose trust in their perception of reality and their estimation of reality, to a point where the other person does not already know what is the reality, and therefore their opinion weakens and they become easy to control and manipulate.
This phenomenon is highly known among women who experience violence, where the violent man is undermining the victim’s perception of reality, in order to deny the violence or justify it.
As mentioned, we face this phenomenon also in the political sector where politicians and populist leaders are constantly undermining the entire publics’ perception of reality, in order to force a narrative that supports their interests.
Lobbyists, who operate on behalf of interest groups, also act in a manner that undermines the public’s grasp of reality and thus coerces an agenda filled with tendentious, misleading, and false information that manipulates the public’s opinion and shapes it selfishly and irresponsibly.
In our present-day culture, we are witnessing Gaslighting also when advertising companies working on behalf of corporates, are undermining the public’s perception of reality and build an alternative reality that is usually fictional, false, and biased. This misleading is based on fear as a sales technique or on a definition of a fake image which determines what is beautiful and what isn’t, what is appropriate and what isn’t - in order to influence and enhance an illusionary sense of self-fulfillment, or self-worth and belonging.
As I mentioned in the beginning, in this article I would like to elaborate on the point of view of Gaslighting and present a perspective that will show you how this phenomenon, beyond it being one that abuses and disrupts the evaluation of reality, can also prevent evolvement processes, dialogue and mutual growth that expand the perception of both the collective and the personal reality.
Gaslighting, personal development, spirituality, and consciousness
Gaslighting is a part of our collective lives also in anything that involves the spiritual, conscious, and metaphysical world, which extends beyond the agreed-upon collective norms that are accepted by the public.
Usually, when a little child describes to their mother they saw fairies flying inside the tree in the garden, she will instantly undermine this perception of reality and eliminate what they have seen. She isn’t doing so intentionally, but rather because she perceives that fairies do not exist and that this is only the child’s imagination.
Hence, children who have open metaphysical channels are experiencing Gaslighting, which gradually programs their consciousness to the accepted norms and mental conceptions that are considered to be reasonable, sane, and balanced.
Plato’s cave allegory also describes the phenomenon of Gaslighting, this time at the spiritual consciousness level, in which one perceives the reality to be more expanded than the known reality, and is being abused by those who are not exposed to such reality and therefore do not acknowledge it.
Here is the full allegory’s description from Wikipedia, for those of you who are not familiar with it:
“In the allegory, a group of prisoners is chained so that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at the wall in front of them and not to look around at the cave, each other, or themselves.
Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway with a low wall, behind which people walk carrying objects.
The prisoners cannot see any of what is happening behind them, they are only able to see the shadows cast upon the cave wall in front of them. The sounds of the people talking echo off the walls, and the prisoners believe these sounds come from the shadows.
The shadows become reality for the prisoners because they have never seen anything else; they do not realize that what they see are shadows of objects in front of a fire, much less that these objects are inspired by real things outside the cave which they do not see.
One prisoner is freed, can’t walk or see but a force would drag him up the rough ascent, the steep way up, and never stops until it could drag him out into the light of the sun. The prisoner would be angry and in pain, and this would only worsen when the radiant light of the sun overwhelms his eyes and blinds him.
Slowly, his eyes adjust to the light of the sun. First, he can see only shadows. Gradually he can see the reflections of people and things in water and then later see the people and things themselves. Eventually, he is able to look at the stars and moon at night until finally, he can look upon the sun itself.
The freed prisoner would attempt to share this with the prisoners remaining in the cave attempting to bring them onto the journey he had just endured. The returning prisoner, whose eyes have become accustomed to the sunlight, would be blind when he re-enters the cave, just as he was when he was first exposed to the sun. The prisoners inferred from the returning man's blindness that the journey out of the cave had harmed him and that they should not undertake a similar journey. Furthermore, the prisoners claim they would reach out and kill anyone who attempted to drag them out of the cave, so they will not become blind themselves.”
If we shall return to Gaslighting, I have been experienced this phenomenon myself a few times, when others have tried to undermine the expanded reality I experience and observe, which extends beyond what is familiar, known, accepted, and agreed upon.
I assume that those who engage with consciousness and advanced approaches which are ahead of their time, and usually do not fit with the standard thought patterns and norms, will deeply sympathize with Plato’s cave allegory, as they usually face Gaslighting through the disrespect that people demonstrate towards their world perception, having others reject and delegitimize what they experience as a reality, and the values and manners of conduct they choose to express in their lives.
Thus, the human consciousness is maneuvered and being paved into predictable paths, representing what is accepted, known, and familiar. This leads to contempt within humanity towards anything different than the accepted norms or the existing perceptions and therefore preventing development and maintaining a glass ceiling and inability to get outside the box.
How do we distinguish between Gaslighting and a dialogue that encourages development and growth?
When dealing with Gaslighting, it is essential to be able to distinguish between Gaslighting and a dialogue that encourages development and growth, in which one would enable the other to release prejudices or a limited, lacking, or twisted perception of reality, in favor of a clear and wide point of view that holds balanced and accurate estimation.
Personal reality is indeed subjective, and therefore cannot be discredited, however since the inner world influences the way one experiences and perceives reality, there are many cases where the personal estimation of reality would be lacking, deviated, or distorted.
Therefore, it is required to distinguish between maliciously undermining someone’s estimation of reality and a dialogue in which opinions and points of view are being exchanged, allowing the personal reality perception to expand and shed light upon ‘dead areas’ within the personal conscious field of vision, so one can rise above the partial, lacking, or deviated evaluation of reality, in favor of a new and clear estimation.
In the reality we live in since many are exposed to the manipulation of consciousness and the psyche, it is essential to distinguish when we are witnessing a manipulation, that is attempting to maliciously undermine the personal perception of reality, stemming from a desire to control, abuse, and take advantage of someone, and when it is a pure process of undermining a lacking and distorted perception of reality, in favor of being exposed to the transformation of consciousness, awareness, and psyche, and to a new, wider, balanced and enhanced world perception.
In balanced relationships that are based on values, integrity, mutual respect, and mutual growth, there is a horizon of possibilities where one is open to see things and to observe the reflections they create while acknowledging they do not know what they do not know, and that there are areas of self-estimation and reality estimation which they are not exposed to within their own spectrum.
In the balanced and enhancing cases I am describing, there is self-awareness that leads to the understanding that the subjective point of view isn’t always providing a whole and full self-estimation and isn’t always allowing accurate and clear perception of reality.
Through this understanding and the values of Enlightened Heard and integrity, stems an agreement to maintain dialogue and feedback that hold the willingness to see the reflections we create, thus allow others to become sort of side mirrors showing the dead areas in the personal field of vision.
The transformation processes - Are you willing to be inspired by others?
It is important for me to present this perspective regarding Gaslighting as I see in social media a dialogue disregarding any attempt to reflect different opinions, claiming it is Gaslighting and therefore barricading in an agenda and world perception that I usually identify as lacking, fixated, and narrow.
The recognition that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts and that someone else’s point of view can enrich the other allows to conduct a dialogue where a statement such as ‘in my opinion, your world perception isn’t accurate or might be lacking’ is legitimate, and an opening for enhancing and encouraging dialogue.
Throughout the many years, I have accompanied others in their processes of transformation and spiritual growth of awareness and consciousness, I have often encountered people who were lacking a clear self-estimation, whose subjective perception of reality was far from how others have perceived it or from how reality is reflected outside.
The gap between self-estimation and estimation of reality and the objective reality stems from a veiled and narrow consciousness and limited and partial self-awareness.
Three guidelines for mutual growth and inspiration
Following all the above, I wish to present you three guidelines to create a clear self-estimation, allowing mutual growth:
- I do not know what I do not know:
One of the most substantial guidelines in the process of transformation and personal development is the guideline determining ‘I do not know what I do not know, and I can always expose myself to further aspects and perspectives of reality and myself, which I have yet been exposed to before.
- Transforming dead areas and blind spots in self-awareness
Another guideline is the willingness to receive perspective from others and engage in an inner process of development with it. This guideline is essential, as it allows you to receive an external perspective and evaluate its alignment with your internality, genuinely willing to open and transform ‘dead areas’ that you have yet seen before in self-awareness. Once those areas are being lighted by someone else, then the person can engage in a dialogue and communicate with them, reconcile with them, heal them, and develop them.
- A willingness to proactively undermine the perception of reality in order to dissolve the glass ceiling
The third guideline is the willingness to be proactive undermine the perception of reality, in order to expand it and dissolve the personal glass ceiling.
This is a substantial guideline since if one perceives the reality as absolute - as one ultimate subjective reality, they shall constantly live their lives under their personal glass ceiling, which will keep them trapped in the same limited and compartmented reality, to which they hold on to as such that defines them and their existential confidence.
When one isn’t willing to expand their perspective, holding on to their fixated perception of reality or the narrow and subjective self-estimation, they do not enable themselves to expand and evolve, as they are not willing under any circumstances to undermine their perception of reality or enable others to do so.
The key for transformation and evolutionary development from one step to another, lies within the proactive willingness to undermine the perception of reality, undermine what is familiar and known, in order to be exposed to the hidden and to what was not visible so far and thus expand towards further aspects and dimensions of reality, that the person was not aware of thus far.
If we return to Gaslighting, it is important to understand that this phenomenon represents a constellation existing within a distorted relationship holding abuse, manipulation, control, and struggle-based power dynamics.
In relationships that hold mutual growth, dialogue, communication, acknowledging that the truth has many faces and that one person can present before me different aspects, or areas which are blind spots in my personal field of vision, leads to harmonic reciprocal relations, holding goodwill, mutual respect, and recognizing that when I evolve the other grows, and when I prosper the other can flourish, expand, and become enhanced as well.
The recognition that at any given moment the evaluation of one’s perception of the reality, self-estimation, and point of view is expressing what one can contain, decipher, identify, and process using one’s psyche, allows one to be inspired, exchange different and diverse points of view, share observations and reflections, and constantly expand the perception of reality. And when we constantly expand our personal perception of reality using mutual growth and exchanging points of view, we are establishing a base for the evolution of consciousness, awareness, and constant growth towards new districts of fulfillment and realization.