Gaslighting at work: how to protect yourself with contemporaneous notes
Content / trigger warning
Gaslighting at work is a manipulative tactic that is meant to undermine your confidence or perception of reality. It can involve denying, altering or twisting facts to make you doubt your version of events. More often than not, it can cause emotional distress and can affect you in the long-term. One way to fight back against gaslighting bosses is with contemporaneous notes.
What are contemporaneous notes?
This is just a fancy term for notes that were written down as soon as possible after event happened, which makes them "contemporaneous." Contemporaneous notes will include:
- The date that you wrote the note
- The date that the event happened
- Who was there and where you were
- Your memory of what happened and what was said
By doing this, you can create an objective record of events that can help prove your story.
Why are contemporaneous notes important?
Firstly, Tribunals tend to give more weight to contemporaneous notes than to testimony based on memory alone, which can be unreliable months or even years after the event. If you are thinking of taking your employer to Tribunal, these notes can be a critical piece of evidence.
Secondly, having a clearly recorded timeline of events is helpful during days when you feel your sanity slipping because of your boss. It serves as an anchor, reminding you of what actually occurred, countering the psychological toll of gaslighting, and empowering you to maintain clarity and confidence in your reality amidst the manipulation.
When dealing with a gaslighter, remembering reality is the way to beat them.
An easy way to record events and notes
Keeping contemporaneous notes is quick and easy with Valla, simply go to the Timeline > Add a new event to make a note and capture important details. Each entry to your timeline will be automatically timestamped giving you a clear record of notes to refer to.
If you haven't already, create your free Valla account now to quickly capture notes and start building evidence.