When Cognitive Dissonance Leads To Gaslighting Ourselves

The way out is by self-reflection and critical thinking

Scarlett Jess Perrodin
Invisible Illness
Published in
8 min readDec 16, 2021

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Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

As humans, there is an ebb and flow with our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that develop within our internal monologue. We gather data instinctively from every experience, persistently trying to make sense of life’s complexities.

We acquire concepts and belief systems from our parents, from cultural and school experiences, from consequences of our actions, from religious and political messages, from personal traumas, and from the internal drive to find meaning in our lives.

When faced with contradictory ideas and behaviors, it is easy to slip into a state of cognitive dissonance.

For example, the overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic resulted in limitless conspiracy theories, disagreements, and conflicting information on what appropriate actions to take, and therefore many emotionally-charged responses resulted.

Cognitive dissonance describes an internal discomfort and mental conflict that people have when cognition and behavior begin to contradict each other. This theory, coined by Leon Festinger in the 1950s, explains how people earnestly attempt to make sense out of conflicting ideas, hoping to conduct their lives in a meaningful way, trying to achieve…

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Scarlett Jess Perrodin
Invisible Illness

Mental health advocate, abuse escape artist, maternal aura, and comic. Personal stories. Some hints of humor. A diamond in the rough is still a diamond.