You’ve probably heard about gaslighting, the psychological phenomenon where an abuser makes a victim question their own judgment and sanity. Dealing with these situations can be tricky, especially when the person gaslighting you is an elected official supposedly acting in your best interest during a global pandemic and racial uprising. Here are some coping strategies for when he’s gaslighting you and also he happens to be your mayor.
Stay alert to the mayor’s efforts to deceive you.
Does your mayor frequently suggest that you and your peers are personally responsible for the rising COVID-19 numbers, despite the fact that he celebrated the reopening of businesses mere weeks ago? Is he making speeches acting like he has always fought for racial justice, when he actually never said the words “racial justice” before May? Pay attention; one of the first steps toward managing a gaslighter is acknowledging exactly what the mayor is doing.
Try not to get too defensive when bullying your mayor on Twitter.
When you get emotional or defensive, you lose your ground and become more vulnerable to the gaslighter. So try to stick to the facts and remain as calm as possible the next time you cyberbully your mayor about his failed coronavirus response or history of ignoring police violence.
Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about the mayor.
Don’t blame yourself; that’s what the mayor wants you to do. Instead, remember that the act of gaslighting is all about the abuser trying to grab and maintain power. One would think being the literal mayor would be enough power, but apparently not.
Get out of the situation (vote him out).
There comes a time when the safest and best way to cope with a gaslighter is by cutting off all contact. Obviously, this is a little tricky when you’re dealing with the mayor of the city where you live. But a little research will help you discover when your mayor is up for reelection; put that date on your calendar, and work as hard as you can to vote for someone who, at the very least, has the guts to admit when they’ve failed.
Dealing with a gaslighter can be difficult and draining, especially when the gaslighter is your own mayor. Try to keep your chin up and covered by the face mask your mayor insists you’re never wearing.