This is the second post in my series, “Is my small business normal?”
Merriam-Webster chose the word “Gaslight” as their word of 2022 with this definition:
“psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”
In my work with other business owners, I can see the relief on their faces when I call out the gaslit bullsh** they’ve experienced from their staff, mentors, and coaches.
“When I ran the department, I didn’t have the problems you’re having .”
Implication: You’re doing something wrong.
Reality: What you’re experiencing is the (messy) truth.
“I’m confused; you never told me to do it that way.”
Implication: Your memory isn’t trustworthy.
Reality: Your memory is just fine.
“We’re having overwhelming success with no bumps in the road.”
Implication: You obviously don’t know what you’re doing (and I do).
Reality: Nothing is without obstacles.
Gaslighting others is destructive.
Check-in on yourself if you find yourself losing confidence in your skills, instincts, or abilities.
If something looks like a mess, trust what you’re experiencing.
You’ve got this.