Gaslighting in The Workplace 

Gaslighting is often defined as using your power over someone else to negatively impact them, control them, and have them question their own reality. It is a manipulative, negative social construct that creates a toxic work environment. Gaslighting has the similar traits of workplace bullying, but is more covert and can make you doubt yourself and feel ashamed.

Gaslighting can be driven by one individual or a group and it can be defined as relational aggression. You start to question your skills, abilities, and your values or beliefs.

I often have clients ask me, “When did this all start?” “How did I let this happen?” There are a few early signs that can help you break out of that toxic manipulative experience, but more often than not, we blindly trust our leaders or team, and we forego these little signs that could help our sanity.

Early Signs and Strategies to stop Gaslighting:

1. Follow your gut: When you feel like something is not right or does not make sense, follow your instincts. More often, we justify things or logically map out why something makes sense, but we could have tunnel vision, lack of clarity, or misguided information on the situation we are facing. Our instincts don’t use logic and we can sense something is not right.

2. Question what is being said to you and find the why: Google and do your research. Use technology to help you find resources and answers. There are tons of articles, resources, and tips online to help you. Identify what is really going on and have data to back you up.

3. Find a strong support group or mentor: There are tons of Facebook groups, online support, and business development groups. Find a mentor or group of people you trust to help process the behaviors you are encountering.

4. Look for support within your organization: Sometimes that might be hard, but think outside the box! Look at what is available for your company, see who you can trust or develop a healthy relationship with. Bring this up to HR, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Gaslighting can be covert and we need to bring these behaviors to light to see the negative impact they have on organizations.

5. Identify how gaslighting is impacting you: What is it triggering? What emotions are coming up? How is it impacting you at work? What are the thoughts running through your head throughout the day? Is the behavior questioning your skills, your competence? Why and what emotions are tied to it? We are what we believe, and when we are being gaslighted our beliefs change. We need to take a step back and reassess. What belief am I holding onto that are not serving me?

These are some strategies to help with gaslighting. Ideally having a strong leader stop the behavior, or being able to report it to HR would be the best solutions. Even leaving the organization would be beneficial, but often that is not an option. So I want to arm you with tools to help stop the behavior and take care of your sanity. For more information or resources, please visit us at Peagram Consulting. We are here to build stronger leaders and build a positive work climate to help you strive!

Until Next Time…
Kortney Peagram, Ph.D.
Founder and Owner Peagram Consulting

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