Gaslighting at work: Everything you need to know

Gaslighting at work: Everything you need to know

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Gaslighting is a type of manipulation that causes a person to question their sanity. It can be subtle, causing you to question your 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 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 at the negative?

Have you noticed a change in your behaviour? 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 behaviour 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 behaviours 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, your coworkers may likely be gaslighting you.


There are a few behaviours 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, they may be 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 offences.


Related: Gaslighting examples 


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


Workplace gaslighting can hurt 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 behaviour 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 behaviour, 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 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
Super User
This article was written by Memory a Super User at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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