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How do I recognize if my supervisor is gaslighting me?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023 | Employment

Gaslighting is a term that is becoming more common in our society. Gaslighting refers to the psychological manipulation of others over time. Ultimately, gaslighting can cause you to question your own self-worth and reality. As we become more familiar with what gaslighting means and looks like, it is easier to recognize when it is happening in the workplace.

What is gaslighting?

According to psychologists and the national domestic violence hotline, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that causes self-doubt. Examples of gaslighting in the workplace can include the following examples:

  • Your superior at work tells a version of events that happened differently than you remember, and/or the retelling makes your superior look good and you look bad
  • Your manager tells you that you are being too sensitive or are overreacting when you try to raise a concern
  • Your supervisor denies that they said something, but you know that they did

Over a long period of time, victims of gaslighting begin to doubt themselves, their own reality and their memory of events. Over time, gaslighting contributes to a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

What should you do if you think your boss is gaslighting you?

Just because your boss might be gaslighting you, doesn’t mean that you have enough evidence for a lawsuit or an employment law claim. But it can be a sign of a toxic workplace environment. It can also be evidence if you need to take action down the road with your human resources department or even a lawsuit. Documenting any instance of gaslighting or manipulation will help if you need to file a claim later on.

You deserve to work in a healthy environment

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic and a sign of a toxic work environment. It is also very subtle and difficult to recognize without a detailed trail of evidence. If you think that you are the victim of gaslighting, recognizing that it is happening in the first place is a powerful first step. Once you can see it, you can start to gather the evidence to help others see it and protect your right to a safe and healthy work environment.