Is someone gaslighting you? Here is some advice on responding to it regardless of whether it’s a boss, relative, friend, or romantic partner.
Gaslighting is an insidious form of psychological manipulation in relationships, such as friendships, romantic relationships, family dynamics, or the workplace. The emotional and psychological manipulation involved in this behaviour can significantly harm a person’s mental health and well-being, causing them to doubt their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Acknowledging and addressing this problem is crucial to establish a secure and nurturing environment for those affected by gaslighting.
The gaslighter aims to gain control, power, and dominance over the victim, resulting in a loss of confidence and a distorted sense of reality. Gaslighting can occur for several reasons, including a desire for control, insecurity, or conflict avoidance.
Regardless of the cause, it is crucial to recognise gaslighting as a form of emotional abuse that requires attention. Victims of gaslighting may experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, confusion, or self-doubt and may become more dependent on the gaslighter.
Therefore, acknowledging and addressing gaslighting is essential to prevent adverse effects.
How To Recognize And Handle Gaslighting
How To Recognize Gaslighting
- Dismissing your experiences: The individual may dismiss or invalidate your emotions, thoughts, or experiences, causing you to question your reality. They may say things like, “You’re overreacting”, or “That never happened. They aim to make you doubt your perception and protect their self-image.”
- Constant lying: Gaslighters often lie about insignificant things. They may deny saying or doing something despite your clear recollection. Over time, this creates confusion and self-doubt.
- Blaming and evading responsibility: Gaslighters frequently shift blame onto you, making you feel guilty for things that are not your fault. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they may make you believe you are causing problems.
- Creating doubt in your memory: Gaslighters may intentionally distort facts or events, causing you to question your memory and perception of reality. They may insist that something didn’t happen how you remember it, making you doubt your recollection.
Gaslighters can alter your perception of events and contradict your experiences with their own version of the truth.
- Isolating and controlling behaviour like they isolate you from support, control information, finances, and decision-making.
- Emotional manipulation of your emotions to keep you dependent on them. This leaves you feeling unbalanced and unsure.
Trusting your instincts and recognising when something doesn’t feel right in your interactions is critical. If you suspect gaslighting, seek support from a trusted friend, family member, or professional counsellor who can provide an objective perspective and assist you in navigating the situation. You might also like to take a brief gaslighting test to get confirmation from a 3rd party.
How To Handle Gaslighting
Dealing with gaslighting can be difficult, but there are ways to protect yourself and regain a sense of reality. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Trust your instincts: Trust your gut feelings and acknowledge any feelings of manipulation. Your intuition can help you identify gaslighting behaviour.
- Educate yourself: Learn about gaslighting and how it operates. Read books or articles or seek professional guidance to learn about gaslighting and its effects.
- Maintain a support network: Surround yourself with supportive and trustworthy individuals who can provide validation, perspective, and emotional support. Please share your experiences with those you trust and seek their advice or feedback to counteract the gaslighter’s attempts to undermine your reality.
- Keep a record: Document incidents of gaslighting, including dates, times, and specific details. This can serve as evidence and a reminder of what you have experienced, helping you understand the situation clearly.
- Establish boundaries: Set clear boundaries with the gaslighter and communicate your expectations. Be firm about unacceptable behaviour, and know you will not tolerate gaslighting or emotional abuse.
- Seek professional help: Consult a therapist, coach or counsellor specialising in abusive relationships or emotional manipulation. They can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies for dealing with gaslighting and help you develop healthier coping mechanisms.
- Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote well-being and build self-esteem. Engage in activities that bring you joy, practice self-compassion, and use mindfulness or relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
- Challenge the gaslighting narrative: When faced with gaslighting, calmly express your perspective and maintain confidence in your own experiences. Refuse to accept false reports or let the gaslighter distort your reality. Trust your perceptions and memories.
- Consider distancing or ending the relationship: In cases where the gaslighting is severe or causing significant harm to your well-being, you may need to consider distancing yourself from the gaslighter or ending the relationship altogether. This can be a tough decision, but prioritising your mental health and safety is crucial.
Remember, handling gaslighting requires strength, self-awareness, and support. Surround yourself with uplifting people and seek professional guidance if needed.
If you feel like someone is gaslighting you, you must seek help from a reliable and trustworthy person. This could be a close friend, a family member, or a licensed counsellor who can give you an objective perspective. They can provide you with clarity and guidance on how to deal with the situation, and it’s crucial to prioritise your well-being and get the appropriate support to navigate this challenging experience.