Gaslighting — any sort of statement that makes someone doubt their own feelings or perceptions — is a common tactic used in abusive relationships. But it's also present in many kinds of relationships; not limited to romantic relationships, it may occur in parent-child ones, as well. Once you can spot the signs your parents are gaslighting you, you may come to realize that this type of behavior is practically normalized — although it definitely shouldn't be.
Specifically, gaslighting is "the use of deflection and distraction and blame by one person to hide some truth, or to benefit in some way, at the cost of another," according to Psychology Today. It's not always done with bad intentions, but even when it's done to educate someone or cheer them up, gaslighting someone can have harmful consequences.
Gaslighting by parents can extend way into adulthood, but it may have particularly harmed you during your childhood. Children need to learn to trust themselves, and when they're taught that what they see, hear, or feel isn't real, that can lead to a lifetime of self-doubt. They lose the ability to think for themselves, or at least don't give themselves permission to exercise that ability. And that's not OK.
Here are some signs that your parents may have gaslighted or are gaslighting you.