What is Gaslighting? And How to Respond to It
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. 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.
Read this article now for more information on how to recognize and respond effectively when someone tries to make you doubt your sanity!
What is Gaslighting
Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation where the abuser makes you doubt your own perceptions, memories, and sanity. The term ‘gaslighting’ refers to the 1944 film Gaslight in which an abusive husband tries to convince his wife that she’s insane by distorting facts and insisting she can’t trust herself. If you’re in this situation or know someone who is, here are some ways to deal with it.
The good things are made to seem bad and the bad things are made to seem good. You think you are going crazy.
Gaslighting Examples in a Relationship
If you are being gaslighted, it can be hard to tell if you are just having a bad day or if the people around you really do have some sort of power over your mind. That’s why it is so dangerous – by the time you realize what happened, your sense of reality has already been skewed!
Some gaslighting examples are:
-Your partner tells you that you are too sensitive or needy.
-Your partner discredits your memory/history.
-Your partner tells you that other people don’t like you or think you are stupid.
-Your partner tells you that your feelings don’t make sense and other people feel the same way.
-Your partner calls you crazy and tells other people that you are acting inappropriately (e.g., having a panic attack).
-You receive a text from your partner that says they are angry about something you did. You didn’t do it, but when you ask them what is wrong, they say nothing.
The above are all red flags of an emotionally abusive relationship.
How to Respond When Your Partner Is Gaslighting You
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.
Instead of reacting directly, try these techniques:
-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.
-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
If you are being gaslighted at work, you 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 possible, 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 Form of Control
A Narcissist will also gaslight you by keeping you down, 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.
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 break-up, 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 making 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.
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 an abuser, 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 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.
Gaslighting in Narcissistic Relationships
If you find yourself the victim of a narcissist 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.
Narcissist expects the victim of emotional abuse to give up their own thoughts and feelings for them because the narcissists feelings and thoughts are far more important than anyone else’s.
If you try to confront a narcissist 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 narcissist 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. A narcissist 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 include, “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. They will continue repeating the same narrative over and over for days or weeks until you begin to believe it. Maybe this sounds familiar as the globe has been going through this over the last 18 months.
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 an abuser 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.
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. Abusers 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 their victim that everything is their fault to make the victim feel responsible for how the abuser feels and treats them. A narcissist 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.
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 where 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 away. 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, 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.
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 Narcissistic Abuse Program to gain your clarity and take life to a new level!