Is someone intentionally distorting reality to make you feel like what you're thinking or saying is made up? If so, you may be a victim of gaslighting, and it could lay the groundwork for you to suffer from false accusations and threaten your future academic career.
What is Gaslighting?
While gaslighting—a form of psychological manipulation—may seem like a novel phenomenon, the phrase was coined in the 1938 thriller play "Gas Light," wherein a husband manipulates his wife, intending to have her deemed legally insane and institutionalized.
Victims of the practice are deliberately and systematically fed false information about events that leads them to question what they know and understand to be true. A student experiencing gaslighting may end up doubting their memory, perception, and sanity, making it for the victim to see the truth.
Signs of Gaslighting
- Denying your recollection of events
- Asserting you said or did things you know you didn't say or do
- Manipulating past events to shift blame from them to you
- Refusing to consider your side of the story
- Conveying doubts to your peers about your actions, behavior, or mindset
Examples of Gaslighting
For instance, one night, you hook up with someone after a college party, and that person—or that person's friends—attempts to convince you that you behaved inappropriately even when you know you didn't and didn't say or do the things in question.
Maybe a friend in class has bullied you into helping them cheat on the upcoming exam. They begin playing mind games with you in the attempt to convince you that cheating on the exam was your idea in the first place.
Don't Control the Narrative
Not only can gaslighting manifest into a worse relationship with people in college but it could also be used to build a foundation for you to become a victim of false accusations in the future. You may think you can handle the situation yourself, but between the complexities of Title IX and the standard college administration bureaucracy, fighting false accusations can be more troublesome on a student than it would in a traditional court of law.
When you've been subjected to gaslighting, it can be very tempting to try and control the narrative. However, it will almost always backfire, and you could inadvertently derail your case. It's imperative that you exercise your right to remain silent in this situation.
Contact a Proven Attorney
Victims of gaslighting often feel there isn't anyone that can help them—wrong. Even if you think that there is evidence that might look incriminating, an attorney could use it to prove your innocence.
It's helpful to consult an expert advisor that will offer professional guidance based on experiences defending students for over a decade.
Joseph D. Lento is an attorney and proven student defense ally. Attorney Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm are empathetic and understand what gaslighting means, and have unparalleled experience defending clients across the United States and protecting their reputations. To reach the best possible outcome, call 888-535-3686 to discuss how the Lento Law Firm can defend you.