Psychologist, Daniel S Lobel explains how gaslighting harms children. He says: “Parents can gain respect from their children by taking responsibility for their errors and flaws.”
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where victims are led to doubt their memories, beliefs, feelings, or sanity. Then they can be taken advantage of in some way. So people come not to trust themselves.
Gaslighting is destructive to all relationships. Children are particularly vulnerable and can be devastated when they find that a parent is inflicting it on them.
Betrayal by a parent is a betrayal of all that came before … It challenges the child’s sense of reality and safety.
Children’s brains are not yet fully developed. So they’re more easily confused than adults with fully-developed brains. They are also more vulnerable because they love and are emotionally dependent on their parents.
The end of innocence
Perry loved both his separated parents. But one of them said the other had not called each day to speak as promised to Perry. When Perry discovered the truth he lost his ability to trust his parents and other authority figures. He developed an anxiety disorder and took years before he could trust close relationships.
Joy’s grandfather was always late when he visited her. She loved him but not how late he was. He thought it was funny to trick her by changing the car’s clock. She never trusted him again. She learned to doubt men in general too.
For any family and especially when a family is separated, we can all watch out for how gaslighting harms children. It can damage family relationships and lead to long-lasting issues with trust and intimacy. Children respect parents who are honest and take responsibility for their choices and actions.
Photo by Reneé Thompson on Unsplash