You are a highly educated professional woman. It could be that your boss feels threatened by you. She is therefore engaging in what is called “gas lighting”. Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse. To gain more power, the abuser makes a victim question her own perceptions of reality, her judgment, and her feelings. Gaslighters keep their victim confused by a variety of methods. For example, they act as if they have the victim’s best interests at heart or they suggest they are the only person who cares or that they are the best friend the victim has. Over time, the constant questioning of their reality and shifting of the relationship gradually wears the victim down.
If this person were a friend or family member, I’d suggest you take as much distance from her as you could. But the fact that she is your boss complicates things considerably. Do start looking for another job. You will never win an argument with her. She is not interested in advancing your career. Regardless of what she says during friendly moments, she is undermining your self-esteem and your belief in yourself.
In the meantime here are some suggestions for what to do:
- Stop arguing. You will get nowhere. She needs to be right and she needs you to agree that she is right in order to feel like she is in charge.
- Develop techniques to “agree” with her without agreeing. Try sentences like: “You may be right.” “I’ll think about it.” “That’s a really interesting perception.” The goal is to give yourself room to change the subject or leave the conversation without either fighting or giving in.
- Find yourself a good support network of people who are not involved with your boss. You need people who can remind you that you are not crazy, that your perceptions aren’t wrong, and that you are an amazing, good person.
I wish you well.