Have you ever felt as if you were going insane at work because someone insisted on having a discussion with you about which you have no recollection? Is it conceivable that you truly stated that you would finish a project despite the fact that you needed to leave by 5 p.m. to make it to your child’s soccer game? Most likely, you’ve been the victim of gaslighting at work.
Gaslighting at Work, How to Spot Workplace Gaslighting
There’s a significant difference between a micromanager or someone who nitpicks your work and a gaslighter. The gaslighter is intended to undermine you, not to help you develop or succeed.
They’ll accuse you of being perplexed or misguided, or that you misinterpreted what they said because you’re insecure. They may even tamper with paper trails to “prove” their point.
Here are some indicators that you may be a victim of workplace gaslighting:
- You know you submitted a proposal, but the gaslighter claims you never did.
- The gaslighter speaks hurtful or even sexist/racist remarks to you, but always out of earshot, so there’s no way to prove it. If you report it, they will either deny it or turn the charge against you.
- The gaslighter behaves like your greatest friend or biggest fan in front of others, yet when you’re alone, they berate you.
- The gaslighter, who in this scenario may be a coworker, lies to you about why they didn’t finish a job — even if they know you know they took a three-hour lunch break.
- You have the impression that you must go above and above to prove your worth to the gaslighter, but you have no clue what is required of you.
- You have suspicions that someone has been in your home, moving items about, perhaps even using your computer, but you have no proof.
- You’re the lone one who hasn’t received a team email or meeting invitation, or has been purposefully left out of the loop. Then you’re chastised if you don’t answer or show up.
- When a gaslighter is called out, they deny it, become aggressive, and defensive.
How can you catch a gaslighter?
Keeping careful record keeping is essential. Put every discussion or encounter with that individual into an email with a subject line like “Just to review, here is what we discussed.” After that, make a list of the bullet points. Keep written documents if you are gaslighted so that you have notes in case you decide to report it.
Make an attempt to communicate with the alleged gaslighter.
It’s conceivable that there were some genuine misunderstandings, or that your boss is simply overworked and not purposefully gaslighting you.
You can try having an open and honest talk about how you feel, demonstrating proof and sharing examples of times when you’ve been gaslighted.
If the individual is purposefully gaslighting you, don’t anticipate an admission of guilt – if anything, they’ll become even more insistent.
The good news is that you may use that discussion as evidence in the event that you decide to file a complaint.
Enlist the help of others.
If someone is gaslighting you, there’s a good chance they’re doing it to your coworkers as well. Make sure you confide in individuals you can trust and get feedback from. If you and your coworkers believe that someone is engaged in workplace gaslighting, get together to share notes and discuss a meeting with HR.
Take it a step farther.
Follow your company’s harassment reporting processes, whether that means going to that person’s supervisor or the HR department. Bring all of your paperwork, and if you know anyone else who is in the same boat as you, see if they’d be willing to join you.
Now is the time to move on.
Hopefully, you will be able to reach an agreement, but if the employer refuses to support you, you should look for a new job. Yes, it’s unjust, but living in a poisonous atmosphere is bad for your sanity and your health.