MENTAL HEALTH AT WORK
I’m stressed about job security and a co-worker is making it worse by gaslighting me. How can I help myself?
IN GENERAL, EVERYONE IS feeling vulnerable because of the pandemic. With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s understandable that you may feel insecure about losing your job. If someone is gaslighting you at work to boot, bringing up more insecurity and feelings of incompetence, it is further exacerbating the situation. It’s important to understand that your feelings are valid as we navigate through challenging times.
Just so we are clear. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which the victim is manipulated with false information over an extended period of time. The gaslighter eventually makes the victim doubt their own memory, destroying their perception of reality and confidence. Left unchecked, the victim becomes intimidated by and dependent on their abuser.
In the workplace, gaslighting is seen in a variety of ways. If you feel that someone is gaslighting you, there are steps you can take to end the abuse and reclaim your power.
TRUST YOUR GUT
We often underestimate our intuition when we feel that something isn’t right. But our gut is actually a powerful tool that protects us from danger. If a co-worker makes you feel insecure or incompetent, don’t excuse their behaviour by thinking you’re being too sensitive. Listen to your inner voice because it may be warning you of an emotionally dangerous situation.
If you suspect that someone is gaslighting you, it’s important to keep a log of concrete evidence. People who gaslight are masters of manipulation. Be prepared with hard proof, such as emails and texts, make notes of conversations and document how you felt during those interactions.
REMEMBER YOUR WORTH
Keep in mind that you’re a valued member of your team. Gaslighters are experts at making you doubt your own self-worth and capabilities. It’s important to remember that you’re not the issue; they are. Learn to set boundaries and be vocal about treatment that makes you uncomfortable.
Struggling in silence isn’t the answer. Report the situation to your superior or human resources, and check your company’s policy regarding harassment and bullying. Present them with your evidence, and be confident that advocating for yourself is the key to protecting your mental health and ensuring a safe and productive work environment.
It’s important to remember that a gaslighter’s perceived power is built on an unstable foundation of their own low self-esteem and insecurity. If you feel that you’re being gaslighted in the workplace, advocate for yourself and your mental well-being and take back your power. is a clinical psychotherapist, cofounder and codirector of the West Island Therapy and Wellness Centre in Montreal and one half of Wise Women