Don’t be gaslighted  

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It’s an insidious tactic of psychological abuse in the form of manipulation where a person (or group of people) covertly plant seeds of doubt in the mind of a targeted person (or group) to make them question their own memory, judgment or perception of an event, particularly for the offender’s advantage.   

Merriam-Webster, one of the most trusted dictionaries, highlighted it as the word of the year.  


“You are entitled to your feelings, never let any boss/company invalidate them, and toxic behavior in the workplace is not OK. If you’ve been told this once… that’s too many times. You deserve better. Go get it,” Jay said.   

Psychology Today (PT) reports that “workplace gaslighting can also be the result of systemic, institutional bias, or negative media and social media coverage. A gaslighter may target and victimize groups as well as individuals.”   

Workplace gaslighting, according to PT, is different from other forms of job-related issues like:   

  • The difficult work situation is because of a consistent individual, group or institutional bias and negativity, rather than solid proof, strong facts, established cases and/or proven data.   
  • The harsh work environment creates a negative narrative about the gaslightee (contrary to evidence) and damages the gaslightee’s personal or professional reputation.   
  • The mistreatment persists over some time, despite a clear track record of the gaslightee’s positive collaboration, contributions and accomplishments.   
  • When approached on the matter, the gaslighter typically deflects and denies it.   
Anthony Mottley, a certified behavior health coach, told the Michigan Chronicle that there’s certain instances where gaslighting occurs in relationships between men and women and even racially where Black people are gaslit.   


“That is what we would call it … essentially when there are legitimate grievances in the African American community where people might say [you are being] too sensitive or that your reaction that’s just crazy that you would feel like that.”  

Mottley said that it’s psychological manipulation when someone is being told that their legitimate feelings or insights aren’t valid.  

When asked for an example of racial gaslighting in the Black community he talked about the death of George Floyd in 2020 and subsequently afterward how people portrayed him as not responding appropriately to the officers while handcuffed and on the ground already.  

“What else could he have done?” Mottley said, adding that essentially he was a “big and Black” man who was perceived to be a threat.  

“I think it’s underestimated how much language does matter,” he said, adding that some Black people even gaslit themselves but it’s time to do one’s own research and change the narrative. “We have to identify resources in the community, mental health resources, third party resources maybe another legitimate person in your family, your church, your mosque … [whoever] can back you up in case of an emergency because a lot of times you know that’s all you have is that third party authority.”  

Tisha Hammond, media strategist and small business cheerleader, told the Michigan Chronicle that after being gaslit by her boss for years at her former Detroit federal job she had enough.  

“What I found is that when I would bring my concerns about our work, our office [to my leadership] … at the next company meeting or the next staff meeting they’re pointing out all of [my] mistakes,” she said, adding that there had to be a change. “I ended up retiring at the age of 41 in order to be a caregiver [to my mother] … It’s either my insanity or my freedom.”  

For the past several years she has encouraged others in similar situations to continue to validate their emotions and turn the tables on the gaslighter. She is now starting her own company, Ascent Preparatory Academy For Entrepreneurs, 

“This is your career and your livelihood. You have got to stand up and say something for yourself and advocate for yourself,” she said. 


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