“Shame is basically the ultimate form of gaslighting”, she said.
Oh God, I thought. It stopped me right in my tracks.
Gaslighting is one of those concepts that has brought me a lot of fun in conversations I have had with friends. Never has it occurred to me that I actually gaslight myself, but I often do.
Habitually destabilizing myself through questioning my judgments and interpretations; questioning the fundamental legitimacy of my feelings. This is practically second nature.
It is healthy to have self-doubt. The best humans I know question themselves – very deeply at times.
But all thoughts and feelings are valid. This is a message that, for most of us, gets lost during childhood, and something we need to remind ourselves of again and again.
Many Enneagram Fours that I know relate to the experience of shame (although the Social subtype seems to be the most acutely aware of it). Self-gaslighting comes with the territory.
We know that Enneagram Sixes also question themselves excessively, albeit as a result of different underlying psychodynamics.
But it isn’t only Fours and Sixes that do this. We all do to one degree or another.
Here’s what I suggest, if you find yourself self-gaslighting. Take a moment and go inside. Check for whether you are turning away from the one inside you that feels hurt, or angry, or whatever it is. Instead, give that precious one some space.
Contraction > Pause > Explore > Allow > Expansion.