Gaslighting and your Fear of Success
Artists- this is a loaded subject that could use so many blog posts- and maybe I will write many more. But let’s dive in. I have much to say.
What is Gaslighting?
In the simplest terms, gaslighting is when your narrative is stolen by another voice. It is when you begin to question your own reality, based upon the willful (usually) manipulation by someone else. You feel convicted and clarity turn to doubts and confusion, because of feedback from external sources.
How to Recognize Gaslighting
There are classic phrases that you can use to recognize gaslighting, such as “why do you always” and “you are so emotional,” and “can’t you just,” but the theme here is your reality is cast into doubt by blame, accusation or otherwise discrediting you. Oftentimes we hear about gaslighting in relationships. Gaslighting also exists in groups- communities, families or even societal groups question or weaken each other’s points of view in order to elevate their own. Gaslighting is never ok.
Gaslighting in the Arts Community
Sometimes gaslighting comes from insecurity and the insidious need to elevate oneself. Other times, gaslighting comes from cultural, familial or societal misunderstandings that become handed down that serve one body of people over another in some way. I believe both exist in the arts community, but the second more than the first is what I have seen most often. There is a lack of information and some broken systems that persist and we continue to believe in. While gaslighting does infer that the perpetrating party is aware of the misinformation and manipulation, even if they are not, the impact to you as the artist, is the same. So for the sake of the next illustrations, we may believe that the parties precipitating the gaslighting behaviors may know better (true gaslighting), or may not (inadvertent or accidental).
Gaslighting and your Creative Personality
Your Creative Personality is important and powerful. It features aspects such as powerful impulses, strong feelings, the need to making meaning, and above all, be creative. Nature has packaged these and other aspects together for you in your personality to prepare you for the enormous energy required to be innovative. However, this is not widely supported in the mental health or medical communities, nor many others (like professional, educational and more.) The result? Creative people are led to believe their emotions are “too much,” their impulses “too strong,” and their creative drives are marginalized. They lead lives that are frustrated, derailed, and misunderstood. I believe this is more an example of misinformation and inadvertent gaslighting behaviors, and more education for social groups and individuals would benefit all!
Gaslighting and the Value of your Creativity
Artists are regularly undervalued for their creativity. In the marketplace, they are underpaid for their products, in business underpaid for their work. They are regularly told by peers, friends and family they “won’t make any money,” and requests to do work “for free,” are common. This is more purposeful gaslighting because it serves those that perpetuate it! As artists, you are led to believe that your creativity is not valuable, not to charge for or believe in your services, and generally undervalue this most precious part of yourself. What about successful professional artists? How did they get there? Believe, a big part of it was changing this narrative for themselves!
Gaslighting and the Fear of Success
Regularly in Creativity Counseling and Creativity Coaching, we are battling this insidious topic of fear of success. It tends to branch off in one of two main ways: afraid of the life changes that come with succeeding wildly, or fear of seeing what you are truly capable of, including your limitations, when you put your best effort forward. When society, friends and family regularly feed us as artists a narrative that artists fail and our creative work is only worthy of a “hobby,” we are feeding this horrible fear of success. We are giving ourselves messages like “why try?” And “so much is at risk I can’t afford to risk it!” But- if you search your soul deeply- is this also what you believe?
Counseling for Artists & Creativity Coaching for Gaslighting
An important function of Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia and Creativity Coaching in the US, UK and Canada is to recognize how our belief systems have been impacted by our lives and those around us. Separating beliefs from those created by our lives vs those innate to us is powerful work. Living authentic to yourself is powerful and your path to happiness and success.
Start Creativity Counseling & Creativity Coaching for Gaslighting
If you are interested in real, impactful and lasting life change for your creative mind, I would love to help you. Let's connect and launch your life to the next level! I have three steps you can take, right now from my site if you are ready to take an important step forward in your life:
1) Join my Artists in Residency Program. This is a Free, Online Community of Artists where you can build support, accountability and a network of Creative People as a stepping stone towards reconnecting and committing to your authentic, creative self.
2) Book a Free Consultation. All new clients to Creatively, LLC are entitled to a 15 min, free consultation to sit with me and discuss your needs, services available, and we can problem solve and hand-pick best next steps to help you succeed.
3) Book a Coaching Package. Are you a working Creative in need of specific support? I offer a range of Coaching Packages- let's get started with one that is right for you.
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.