THOSE who have watched the latest series of Married at First Sight will have heard several terms being used.
Gaslighting, emotional abuse and manipulation have been the most common, and they all tie in together. Married at First Sight sees couples being paired by experts and only meeting on their wedding day – pretty much like an arranged marriage. Bronte and Harrison, a good-looking couple in their 30s have been at the centre of this touchy subject.
For the purpose of this column, let’s focus on gaslighting, which has been discussed extensively on social media and become a hot topic. You may or may not have heard the term gaslighting. It’s possible that you might have even seen people experience it, or worse still, endure it and later realise it has happened to you.
Wikipedia says ‘gaslighting is the subjective experience of having one’s reality repeatedly questioned by another.’ For example, has a partner ever accused you of doing or saying something when you know you didn’t and then lies when you question them? Then they make you think you actually did it. Have they accused you of something negative they themselves are doing?
Do they say ‘that didn’t happen, you’re making it up’ or ‘stop being dramatic’ about something which has affected you? Has a friend made you feel bad about expressing how you feel about a certain situation and then makes you think you shouldn’t have said anything? Have you ever felt like you have been manipulated by a family member into doing or saying something in a certain way? They are all forms of gaslighting.
On the show, Harrison is continually doing this to Bronte, to the point where the other women on the show are warning her, but she isn’t listening. The problem is, sometimes, when you are in love or really invested in a relationship, you only see the good in someone and want something to work out. You wear your rose-coloured glasses and refuse to see that you were right all along.
If you relate to the above and think you are being gaslit, firstly, take a step back and breathe. Have a little space from the person who is manipulating you and start keeping a note of things you say, which have been turned around by whoever is gaslighting you. Then approach the person to discuss the situation.
Gaslighters generally are narcissists who love themselves a little too much and want their own way all of the time. So, be confident. You know what you said, or how a situation has made you feel, so address it straight up. If it continues, you have every right to walk away from whichever relationship is causing you this grief. You’re strong, you got this and deserve better.