Friday, February 16, 2018

DOT Supervisors: Are Your Addicted Employees Gaslighting You?




Use a checklist with quantifiable signs and symptoms DOT supervisors Training
Have you heard the term "Gas-lighting?"

One of the most effective manipulations that addicts use is called gaslighting. Named after a popular film in the 1940s, gas-lighting refers to someone convincing you that your perceptions, thoughts and memories are incorrect. Abusive spouses do this to domestic abuse victims. And, it is a classic defense used by employees when supervisors do not document effectively, yet attempt to confront them about past job performance problems issues conduct or attendance issues.

Children are famous gas-lighting when confronted about behavioral problems by parents. Adults can be no different, so in DOT Supervisor Training, it makes sense to spend a few minutes on this commonly used defense. The idea is to impress supervisors with the need to use documentation in supervising employees. Any drug and alcohol training program you develop internally or purchase (like the one at WorkExcel.com) should have a solid checklist of quantifiable performance indicators.

Back to the 1940's movie where gas-lighting was made popular. In the movie, a woman is convinced that she is mentally ill by constant lies that her experience of the world around her is faulty.

How do you know your employees are gaslighting you? Here are the top three manipulations to detect:


  • 1.      Obvious lies. Your worker tells you one thing and then tells you the opposite a couple of days later. You begin to wonder if you heard correctly the first time.

  • 2.      Saying one thing and doing another. Addicts tell you what you want to hear and then do whatever they want. They’ll try to convince you this isn’t true.

  • 3.      They personally attack you when you confront them about their lies. They’ll call you crazy or accuse you of lying
  • 4.    Finding others nearby who will be unable to verify the truth, but the active asking a stander's by makes it appear that an alibi obviously exists somewhere.


You need an approach to this disturbing behavior. What do you do if an employee with drug or alcohol addiction is gaslighting you?

  • Do not place your focus on prior incidents. Right now you have reasonable suspicion. Stick with that, and document it.


Good reasonable suspicion training and DOT supervisor training will address issues around gaslighting. Knowledge is power in this situation. This handout in particular is highly recommended, and it's reproducible.


  • Write everything down. If you commit your perceptions to paper, you have proof, at least for yourself, what you said and did. But this documentation will always be considered as strong evidence that you have no axe to grind and are documenting effectively.
  • Recording your interactions also helps you connect with your intuition. Gaslighting, especially over time, teaches you to not trust your instincts. Remember our example of an abused spouse? They also begin to doubt their own sanity, and you will also begin to doubt yourself. A written record will help you regain confidence in your gut feelings.

If you are confused about whether your perceptions are accurate, run them by someone you trust, confidentially of course and without using names of employees you supervise. Your spouse, a longtime friend or a therapist can help you sort out what is true about yourself and your actions, and what isn’t. This is not rocket science. What it takes is objectivity.

Gaslighting makes you doubt yourself and may even be frightening. Take these concerns to the people you love and trust and allow them to help you become grounded in the truth again.

Have others present when you confront the addict who regularly attempts to gaslight you. When someone is attempting to gaslight, there’s safety in groups. Having someone from HR or another supervisor will help you identify inconsistencies in the worker’s story as well as a witness who can collaborate statements made earlier in the conversation.

Addicts who attempt to gaslight their supervisors have a good chance of talking their way out of a situation that calls for a referral to testing. With training and taking steps to combat this destructive behavior, you can make your organization a better place to work.

Get DOT supervisor training for reasonable suspicion of substance abuse.

#dot #dottraining

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