Gaslighting at work: Everything you need to know

Memory Nguwi / Posted On: 12 April 2022 / Updated On: 27 September 2022 / Organisational Development / 401

Search Blog Click here to search the site.
Gaslighting at work: Everything you need to know

Gaslighting is a type of manipulation that causes a person to question their own sanity. It can be subtle, causing you to question your own memory and perceptions, or it can be extreme, causing you to second-guess your instincts and get caught up in a cycle of doubt. It often occurs in the workplace when someone tries to manipulate you into doing something that isn’t in your best interests. For example, when your boss is trying to get you to do something that isn’t in your job description, he may subtly manipulate you into thinking it’s your idea, or he may tell you that you’re overreacting when you refuse.

One of the most common ways that coworkers are gaslighted is when someone is expected to perform at their highest ability but constantly receives negative feedback. This can cause them to doubt their own abilities, which may lead them to believe that they’re not performing up to standard. If you feel like a coworker is constantly dragging you down or giving you negative feedback when you perform above and beyond, they may be gaslighting you. To figure out if this is the case, ask yourself: is the coworker in question always giving me positive feedback or is their feedback always aimed in the negative?

Have you noticed a change in your behavior? Do you find yourself wondering if you’re overreacting or remembering things differently than you used to? If so, your coworker may be gaslighting you. Here are some other tell-tale signs that may help you determine if your coworker is gaslighting you: Are they accusing you of imagining or making things up.


When you feel like your coworkers are out to get you, it can be hard to know who to trust. One of your co-workers may seem fine one day, but by the next, they’re ignoring you or being extra critical. It can be hard to know whether this behavior is part of a larger pattern or if something more sinister is happening. In cases of workplace gaslighting, your coworkers may try to subtly manipulate you by taking credit for your ideas or telling you that you’re overreacting when you refuse to go along with their requests.


If these behaviors sound like something you’re experiencing, it may be time to take a step back and rethink your position at work. You deserve to be valued and you deserve to feel safe and secure. If you are being ignored or spoken down to, it’s likely that your coworkers may be gaslighting you.


There are a few behaviors that are commonly associated with gaslighting, and it’s often hard to distinguish between normal conflict and gaslighting. For example, if a coworker is being normal and arguing with you about something, it’s possible that they’re being aggressive without realizing it. However, if their arguments become more accusatory or they continually ignore your thoughts and feelings without provocation, this may be a sign of gaslighting. Signs of gaslighting at work include: Your coworker accuses you of imagined or made-up offenses.


Related: Gaslighting examples 


Workplace gaslighting has a number of impacts on employees, which is why it’s important to identify it. The most common impact is that it causes employees to question their own judgment and reality. This can lead to employees second-guessing themselves and their decisions, which can have a negative impact on their productivity. Workplace gaslighting also tends to have a negative impact on the employee’s mental and physical health.


Workplace gaslighting can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health. The constant negativity and doubt that you feel can cause major stress, which can lead to symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and a general feeling of dread. This constant uncertainty can also take a toll on your physical health, causing headaches, stomach aches, and oftentimes depression. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate your position at work.


Related: What to do when you have a gaslighting manager


Many employees are reluctant to speak up against a gaslighting boss for fear of losing their job or being seen as troublemakers. However, if the behavior is affecting your mental and/or physical health, it’s worth speaking up. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to completely change your boss’s behavior, there are steps that you can take to minimize the impact of gaslighting. The following are a few ways that you can minimize the impact of workplace gaslighting:


One of the most common forms of gaslighting is when a boss does it to their employees. This type of gaslighting is often characterized by subtle forms of manipulation that cause employees to doubt themselves and their decisions. The boss will often take credit for their employees’ ideas or achievements without actually providing any meaningful guidance. This causes employees to question their own decisions and abilities, which creates a toxic work environment.


The experience of being gaslighted is a unique psychological state in which the victim believes that others are out to harm them or are pursuing their own interests. The gaslighting effect occurs when the gaslighted person shuts down the ability to see and process information, often resulting in a reduction in their empathy. It can make a person feel as if they are being interrogated by a superior and that they are not really in control of their life.


Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.Email:[email protected] or visit our websites and

Memory Nguwi
      View Memory Nguwi's full profile

Related Articles

Popular Categories