What is Gaslighting? And How to Easily Respond to It More Effectively!

What is Gaslighting

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who made you feel like you were going crazy?

It’s called gaslighting, and it’s a form of emotional abuse that most often leads to domestic violence. In this article, I will explain what gaslighting is and how to respond to it. You deserve better than that!

Gaslighting can happen in all types of relationships – personal or professional – but the most common place where people experience it is at home with their romantic partners. If your partner does any of these things, they might be trying to gaslight you…and here are some ways to protect yourself from being manipulated by them.

A gaslighter may try to convince you that you need to get help, that you are going insane. A victim of gaslighting may question reality, or their own version of events as their sense of reality becomes foggy and confusing.

What is Gaslighting

Why is it called Gaslighting?

The term gaslighting has been used to describe a range of manipulative behaviors, from those undertaken by individuals in personal relationships to those employed by political leaders.

The term is thought to come from the 1938 play “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton, which was later adapted into the film “Gas Light” by Alfred Hitchcock.

In the play and film, a husband attempts to convince his wife that she is going mad by dimming the gas lights in their home and then denying that he did so.

Gaslighting can be a particularly effective form of manipulation because it causes doubt and insecurity in the victim, leading them to question their own perceptions and memories. This can make it very difficult for someone to stand up to a gaslighter or to even realize that they are being manipulated.

Examples of Gaslighting in a Romantic Relationship and How it Works…

Gaslighting is a technique that undermines a person’s perception of reality. It is a form of psychological manipulation that can be done by an individual or group in order to gain power over someone else.

When an abusive partner is gaslighting you, you may second-guess your memories, recent events, and your perceptions. You may be left feeling dazed and wondering if there is something wrong with you.

The goal of gaslighting is to make you question your sanity or memory so that you are more likely to doubt yourself and follow the lead of the person gaslighting you.

This type of manipulation can have a serious impact on your mental health and well-being, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and how to protect yourself from them.

A person who is gaslighting you might use a variety of tactics in order to confuse and cause you to question your judgment. These tactics can include denial, misdirection, lies, and manipulation.

They may also try to gaslight you by making you feel as though you are going crazy or that you are imagining things. If you are being gaslighted, it is important to remember that the Gaslighter is the one with the problem, not you.

It is also important to reach out to friends or family members for support and to seek professional help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Gaslighting can be a very difficult experience, but it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there is help available.

Some Gaslighting Examples are:

They Lie To You

Gaslighting is a term used to describe the act of manipulating someone’s perception of reality in order to make them question their own memory and sanity.

Gaslighters are frequently habitual and pathological liars who have significant narcissistic tendencies. They are known for their brazen lying and refusal to back down or modify tales, even when you call them out or offer evidence of their deception.

They might say things like: “You’re making things up,” “That never happened,” or tell you that you are making a “Big Deal out of Nothing” and/or anything along those lines.

“The cornerstones of gaslighting behavior are lying and distortion. They may appear convincing, even though you know they aren’t telling the truth. You begin to question yourself in the end.”

They Devalue You

Gaslighters spread untrue information about you to others. They may pretend to be concerned about you while also suggesting that you seem emotionally unstable or “mad.” Unfortunately, this method can be very efficient, with many people blindly siding with the bully or abuser without comprehending all of the facts.

Furthermore, someone who uses gaslighting may inform you that others share the same opinions about you. These individuals may not have ever said anything bad about you, but the individual who is gaslighting you will make every effort to persuade you that they do.

They Use Distractions

When you question a person who gaslights an issue or you call them out on something they have done or said, they may instead switch the topic by asking a question rather than addressing the concern.

This not only derails your train of thought but also makes you wonder why you should press a concern if the other party does not feel compelled to respond.

Your Thoughts and Feelings are Irrelevant

When someone trivializes our emotions, it’s a form of gaslighting that invalidates our experiences and feelings. It sends the message that we’re overreacting, or that our feelings are unfounded.

This can be extremely damaging, as it undermines our confidence in our own perceptions and emotions. Furthermore, it is a power dynamic that can give the person who is gaslighting us a sense of power and control.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware of this tactic and to stand up for ourselves when it’s used against us. We have a right to our emotions, and we shouldn’t let anyone make us feel like we’re wrong for feeling them.

Blame Shifting

Few things are more frustrating than feeling like you’re constantly being blamed for things that aren’t your fault. Unfortunately, this is a common gaslighting tactic known as blame-shifting.

Gaslighters will often try to deflect responsibility by shifting blame onto their victims. For example, they might accuse you of being too sensitive or overreacting when you express a legitimate concern.

Or they might claim that you’re the one who’s really causing the problem. This can leave you feeling confused and uncertain, you will often feel unsure where the blame really lies.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for the gaslighter’s actions. They are the ones who are choosing to gaslight and manipulate, not you.

They Deny, Deny, Deny

Physical and emotional abusers are well-known for denying that they were at fault. This is a common defense mechanism used by narcissists in order to avoid responsibility for their actions.

Unfortunately, this also often prevents victims from speaking out and getting the help they need. By denying that they did anything wrong, narcissists are able to Gaslight their victims and make them doubt their own experiences.

This can be especially damaging if the victim was already dealing with issues of self-doubt or insecurity. If you suspect that you or someone you know is being emotionally abused, it is important to reach out for help.

There are many resources available to victims of abuse, and speaking up is the first step toward healing.

They Use Kindness as a Weapon Through Words

When someone is gaslighting you, they might try to phrase their words in a way that makes you question yourself. For example, they might say something like “I’m only saying this because I love you” or “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

These words are intended to undermine your confidence and your reality. Gaslighters will often use kind and loving words as a way to try to smooth over the situation. However, these words are often just a way to cover up their true intentions.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is gaslighting you, it’s important to trust your gut and rely on your own intuition. Don’t allow anybody else to dictate your life.

They Rewrite The Past

This is done by the gaslighter retelling stories in ways that are favorable to them, making the victim question their own memory and distorting reality. The gaslighting dynamic can be used as a way to control and abuse someone, and it can have a serious impact on the victim’s mental health. 

Rewrite The Past

Examples of Gaslighting:

  • You are unwilling to accept what you feel and what is occurring around you: You fight to persuade yourself that the treatment you’re getting isn’t so terrible or that you’re too sensitive.

  • You challenge your opinions and judgments: You are afraid of expressing yourself or expressing your feelings. You’ve learned that expressing your viewpoint makes you feel worse in the end, so you keep quiet instead.

  • You are concerned that they may harm you in some way: You feel vulnerable and insecure all the time around your spouse, buddy, or family member. You’re also on edge and don’t have much self-esteem.

  • You feel as though no one understands you and that you are powerless to change things: You believe that everyone around you thinks you’re “strange,” “crazy,” or “unbalanced” just as the person who is gaslighting you claims. This makes you feel stifled and alone.

  • You’re unsure if you are what they claim: The person who gaslights you claims that words make you feel foolish, stupid, inadequate, or crazy. You may even hear yourself saying these things to yourself at times as your ability to trust yourself fades.

  • You are dissatisfied with your present self and the person you have become: You may feel like a victim or a coward, as though you used to be more powerful and assertive.

  • You’re perplexed: The individual gaslighting you appears to be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • You’re afraid you’re too sensitive: “I was only kidding” or “you need to loosen up,” the person might say in order to minimize abusive conduct or language.

  • You’re anxious about what’s coming next: You may sense impending doom when you’re around this individual. This might include a sense of vulnerability and tension without knowing why.

  • You apologize a lot: You feel compelled to apologize all the time for what you do or who you are.

  • You may feel inadequate: you believe that you will never be “good enough.” You strive to satisfy the requests and requirements of others, even if they are unreasonable.

  • You question yourself: You frequently question if you accurately recall past details. Perhaps you’ve even given up attempting to communicate what you know because it’s possible that it’s incorrect.

  • You believe that others are disappointed in you: You apologize all the time for what you do or who you are, assuming people are disappointed in you or that you have made a mistake.

  • You’re unsure what’s wrong with you: you wonder if there’s anything seriously wrong with you. To put it another way, you’re concerned that your mind isn’t functioning properly.

  • You find it difficult to make choices since you distrust yourself: You’d rather let your partner, friend, or family member decide for you and avoid decision-making altogether.

How To Respond to Gaslighting, try these techniques:

People who gaslight others often try to avoid direct confrontations and instead opt for manipulation. If someone is gaslighting you, they are probably doing it to avoid direct conflict. This is why responding to the people who are trying to manipulate you may not be effective.

  • Ask for clarification. If your partner tries to tell you what you think or feel, tell them that you can’t understand them until they explain what they mean.
  • Don’t give in to guilt trips. Refuse to apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong, and don’t return their affection when they try to manipulate you with guilt or tears.
A person with a mask creating a smoke illusion
“Gaslighting is Designed to Make lose touch with Reality”
  • Stop holding yourself accountable for your partner’s feelings and accusations. Your behavior has no effect on how they feel or their accusations, so don’t take responsibility for your partner’s behavior.
  • Remember that you are not the only one your partner has turned against. Many abusers try to isolate their victims from everyone else and make you feel like no one can understand what you’re going through except them. Don’t believe it!
  • Realize that the person trying to make you doubt yourself is probably doing it because they feel guilty, not because you actually are at fault.
  • Find someone who will support your reality and help you when someone tries to manipulate your mind. You deserve better than that!
Gaslighting in Your Workplace

Gaslighting Happens at Your Workplace

Gaslighting often happens at work, you will probably feel like your reality has been turned upside down. One minute, you are praised for excellent performance, and the next, someone is telling you that you are incompetent. If you are being manipulated by this gaslighting tactic in your workplace, here are some points to remember:

  • It may seem strange to think of yourself as a victim when you are at work, but your boss is taking advantage of their power over you.
  • It’s not about who’s right or wrong – it’s about safety. If someone is gaslighting you in the workplace, that person may be trying to oust you from your position or intimidate you into doing something unethical. You need to do what is best for you and your well-being, not try to appease that person.
  • Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and honesty at work just as much as you do anywhere else. Don’t let someone make you question your own perception of reality.
  • If gaslighting happens, talk about what’s going on with a manager or an HR representative. If you are being subjected to harassment in the workplace, your company needs to know! They won’t be able to help if they don’t know what’s going on.
  • Keep notes of everything that happens. It can be really hard to remember dates and times when someone is trying to manipulate your memory, so write it all down.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a lawyer involved. If you have been a victim of psychological manipulation at work, you deserve to keep your job and feel safe going to work every day. It may seem hard right now, but with the right support system in place, you will come out of this just fine!

Gaslighting is a Power Dynamic to Control

A Narcissist will also gaslight you by keeping you down, and talking to you like you’re not good enough. They might tell you that people are victimizing you and that because of this, they need to be in control. They make it seem like because of all this gaslighting, they are your savior.

Gaslighting is a hideous type of controlling behavior that keeps you from being able to think for yourself and do anything on your own. If someone in your life is doing this, they are not genuine.

A person that cares will want to help you be the best you can be and want you to have opportunities in your life. They will also want you to be healthy and not need them anymore.

There are many different ways a narcissist can gaslight you. They make it really confusing and they lie and blame and make you feel like you’re the crazy one, gaslighting is how they create adverse behavior from their victims.

Before losing yourself completely there are some great ways to begin taking your power back and that should become your focus.

We live in a world where gaslighting is used by many from the local narcissist in our lives all the way up to top government officials. It is important to begin seeing through the delusion that is created via gaslighting.

Signs of Gaslighting

Unconsciously Gaslighting Others

Why your partner in a personal relationship may be gaslighting you and not even know they are doing it. Most people who are gaslighting their partners are doing it from a place of unawareness, this phenomenon is built into them as it was the way of life for them. Their parents did it and so it is what they were taught to get their way.

Gaslighting is done to make you feel crazy, it is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation really. It makes the victim second guess themselves or their memory. During a breakup, your ex may have made comments or written things that make you question your feelings toward them.

When someone does this for selfish reasons it is called narcissistic abuse, they are trying to make you feel worthless and dependent on them, that they are always right and nothing is their fault. They blame you for everything that goes wrong in the relationship.

They accuse you of doing all this because you must be trying to start a fight or it’s “all your fault” even though they started the fight and blamed you first. They use gaslighting as a form of psychological abuse to discredit what you say and leave you open to being preyed upon.

To them, it’s not abuse but a way to get power over you. The main goal is to control and it is very psychologically abusive. They also might tell other people that you are crazy or “too sensitive” when they are doing the same thing to you.

Because they are usually pathological liars, there’s no way to win an argument with them because their entire purpose is to make you feel like you’re losing your mind.

They will nitpick at your emotions (they always say “I never said that” when they obviously did) and tell you how to feel and blame you for having negative emotions.

Its called gaslighting

They might even tell you to stop wasting their time by telling them your feelings and expect you to solve the problem yourself.

Your partner might even get out of hand and become physical, pushing, shoving, striking, or grasping you. These people are so self-involved they don’t realize what they’re doing is wrong, they are programmed to be abusive, as the bully at school is a bully because he was bullied, usually by abusive parents.

This is not a compelling reason to stay, and it’s the exact opposite of why you should leave. It is up to them to change, not you to change them. This comes down to knowing your own worthiness and loving yourself and them enough to walk away from unhealthy emotional manipulation.

Confront the abuse and walk away. You can’t reason with crazy, they lack empathy and see others as objects they can control. Do not expect anything that requires self-reflection from a toxic human, bring your own closure by now knowing you have the awareness to see clearly what has happened.

How Gaslighting Works in a Co-Dependent Relationship

According to the Oxford Dictionary, being excessively dependent on a partner is one of them. In a Narcissistic relationship, the Narcissist elicits constant insecurity and anxiety in the victim. Narcissists believe they have the ability to give acceptance, approval, respect, safety, and security.

If you get into a codependent relationship with someone who is controlling (e.g., someone who constantly threatens to take away your love), you’ll be dominated by them owing to their fear of loss and vulnerability.

A Narcissist makes you feel bad. They make you think that what they say is true. And it wears you down. But they are not telling the truth. You can always tell when someone is lying to you and this person is telling a lie to try to hurt your feelings and make them seem right when they are wrong.

They do this by making you look at things differently from what really happened, like if they said that there is a rainbow in the sky when really there is nothing there, or if they said that there was water in a jar when there wasn’t any water in the jar at all.

Faking a Future is a Gaslighting Manipulation

The narcissist might act kind sometimes to manipulate the victim. Remember that this is just a trick! The nice behavior might cause people to think that things are going to get better. But they are not – the calmness is just for show, and it will probably lead up to further abusive behavior.

In a Narcissistic relationship, the abuser frequently tells the victim that they will gain something by doing what they are being told to do, or agreeing to the narcissist’s plans, whether it is a reward or punishment.

For example, the gaslighter may say “You’ll feel so much better after you have eaten this” even though eating will make their partner nauseous and cause them to feel awful.

They will try to guilt them into doing things that they do not want to do, perhaps telling them “everyone is against you” and so on.

A Joker showing the Manipulation of reality
Gaslighting is one of the most heinous forms of emotional abuse

Gaslighting in Narcissistic Relationships

If you find yourself the victim of a gaslighter who sometimes tries to be nice and charming but always blames and humiliates you, you are dealing with someone who is narcissistic.

The gaslighting narcissist wants to see how far they can push you and will often try to get away with as much as possible, so people who believe their lies might be easier targets than others.

Gaslighters expect the victim of emotional abuse to give up their own thoughts and feelings for them because the gaslighter’s feelings and thoughts are far more important than anyone else’s.

If you try to confront a gaslighter about their behavior, they will twist it around until it is your fault or find another way to shift responsibility onto someone else.

Gaslighting exists on a spectrum, from occasional lying where harmless white lies are told to avoid hurting people’s feelings, all the way up to pathological lying where a person has no concept of truth and tells whatever story will get them what they want.

Why do People Gaslight Others?

A gaslighter who is narcissistic wants complete control of their intimate relationship and everyone in it. They believe that they are entitled to be happy and safe, and anyone who gets in the way is bad. Gaslighters can be malicious, willful, selfish, and cruel people who want to win at all costs.

Gaslighting is a strategy that narcissists use to gain control or achieve their goals. When they gaslight others, it’s an act of aggression because they are purposefully trying to harm another person’s mental state.

Their goal is to make their victim second guess themselves and feel foolish for thinking they were ever right about anything.

The highly intelligent gaslighter who uses this tactic is dangerous because they are able to figure out what you need to hear in order to believe that the gaslighting behavior isn’t happening, or might happen to other people but not to you.

The gaslighter persuades their victim that they are overreacting, sensitive, or even crazy for challenging the gaslighter’s reality.

How Do People Gaslight Others?

There are several common ways in which someone might use gaslighting tactics on another person. The most frequent one is attempting to convince the victim that they are overreacting to something.

When using this method, the gaslighter might reply with something like, “You are being ridiculous,” or “that never happened.”

Other methods of gaslighting include making statements that are completely illogical or irrational in order to get the victim to question their own judgment.

It’s quite common to hear things like “that never happened” or even “you made that up.” Other statements used to gaslight someone includes, “you’re crazy,” and “you’re imagining things.

The abuser might also tell you something happened when it didn’t. They will make empty promises they have no intention of keeping, act like they don’t know what you’re talking about when you confront them, or pretend they don’t understand what you want from them.

How to Stop Someone Gaslighting You

The best way to stop someone from gaslighting their victim is for the victim themselves to understand what is happening.

Once a person knows that they are coping with a toxic individual who wants complete control of the relationship, they can begin to break free from the gaslighting effects.

Self Awareness and Mindfulness become your best friend as you begin to see what is happening. This often involves getting the victim to leave the toxic environment.

Gaslighting is a tactic that abusers use when it becomes clear to them that their victim is questioning what the abuser wants them to believe and think.

Narcissists try to control and manipulate their victims, so they start this process of taking away the victim’s self-confidence in order to gain complete control.

The abuser might tell the victim that everything is their fault to make the victim feel responsible for how the abuser feels and treats them.

A gaslighter will also try to isolate their victims from people who could help, or they might turn friends and family against you by telling lies in an attempt to keep you away from those who love you.

If the abuser is a parent, they might tell their child that they are just making up lies because they are “being bad.” They will use whatever methods necessary to take away the child’s self-esteem, confidence, and trust in themselves.

An abuser can be anyone; it could even be another child at school bullying another student.

A woman laying on the floor in disbelief from emotional abuse
Gaslighting is designed to drain you of your life force.

How to Cope with Someone Using Gaslighting Techniques.

The best way to cope with someone using gaslighting techniques is to get them out of your life. It’s difficult, but you have to do it in order to be happy and healthy. You need time for yourself – the time when you don’t have to worry about being guilted, shamed, or intimidated.

Remember that you are a good person and that only someone who is truly evil would harm you in such a way. Keep this thought in your mind as often as possible because it will help you to feel better about yourself and your situation. You might be surprised at how powerful thoughts can be when used to change the way you look at things.

You might feel really upset, angry, or even heartbroken when an abuser tries to control your thoughts and emotions. You have the right to feel these things because it hurts being treated so badly by someone who claims to love you. But don’t let yourself stay stuck in this place of anger and pain for too long.

Remember that no matter how much it hurts you, there is probably another person out there who has been through the exact same thing and can help you. Talk to a friend or family member about what’s going on and tell them everything the abuser did. It might even help to write down your thoughts in a journal.

After getting yourself back in control, you can start thinking about your future and how to get out of the situation. It might feel like you’ll never stop feeling terrible because gaslighting is designed to make victims question their own sanity.

Focus on positive thoughts about yourself, your life, and what’s important to you. You deserve respect, love, and happiness – just like everyone else does. I hope this article on how to respond to gaslighting has been helpful for you, and that it will help you know what steps to take next.

A word from Create Higher Vibrations

I hope this article on how to respond to gaslighting has been helpful for you, and that it will help you know what steps to take next. Join my 8-week intense healing from the Narcissistic Abuse Program to gain your clarity and take life to a new level!

Embodiment Coach Vishnu Ra
Vishnu Ra

Master Embodiment Coach | createhighervibrations.com

Vishnu Ra is a Reiki Master & meditation coach with an impressive background in deep meditation. He has spent countless hours delving into the mysteries of human consciousness, and he is passionate about sharing his wisdom with others. Vishnu is also an entrepreneur and truth seeker, always on the lookout for new opportunities to explore. When he’s not sitting in meditation or teaching workshops on mindfulness, Vishnu loves being by the ocean!