Unintentional or unconscious gaslighting occurs when someone dismisses or negates someone else’s emotions or experiences without realizing the potential impact of their words or actions.
Unconscious gaslighting can be especially sinister because it isn’t done with malicious intent and may be hard to detect. However, it has the same damaging effects as intentional gaslighting, leaving the victim feeling confused, invalidated, and unheard.
Unconscious gaslighting usually rears its head into our lives because:
- A person dismisses or negates someone else’s emotions or experiences unintentionally.
- An individual may not be aware that their words or actions are causing the other person to doubt their own reality.
- Someone has a biased perspective that influences others to believe something that isn’t entirely true.
Can Gaslighting Be Unintentional When the Person Is Aware Of Their Behavior?
Yes, gaslighting can be unintentional, even when the person knows what they are doing.
This is because the individual may not understand or consider the potential harm their words or actions could have on another person.
For instance, a couple may struggle to communicate effectively, and one partner begins feeling overwhelmed. The other partner may attempt to explain their point of view, but in doing so, they may make comments that disregard their partner’s feelings or invalidates their experience.
In this situation, the individual is aware of their words and actions and understands they are hurtful but does not fully understand how it affects the other person. As a result, they may unknowingly gaslight their partner even though they know they aren’t controlling their emotions.
It can also affect the gaslighter as well, as they are likely unaware of the impact they’re having on another person.
Unconscious gaslighting can lead to guilt and shame, alienation from others, a lack of support, and even isolation.