Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse that involves manipulation to the extent that the victim will question their memories, actions, thoughts and events around them. It ultimately erodes an individual’s sense of reality.

Often it can lead to individuals questioning their own sanity and it can be difficult to spot whether you’re being gaslit or not.

It can be severely detrimental to our mental health and it can take a long time to heal from.

This article will briefly explain some of the signs of gaslighting and explore ways to deal with it, so that we can come prepared if it happens to us.

It is worth noting that gaslighting can occur in any type of relationship, although it is most common in romantic relationships.

Gaslighting

So, first of all, here are ten signs of gaslighting:

  • Feeling that you’ve lost yourself
  • Believing everything is your fault
  • Being anxious around certain individuals
  • Questioning your own self-worth
  • Apologising very often
  • Distrusting yourself
  • Spending a lot of time ‘walking on eggshells’
  • Doubting your memories
  • Feeling powerless
  • Feeling invalidated

These can occur because of these techniques that gaslighters often use:

  • Frequent lying e.g. ‘that never happened’.
  • Dismissing your pain or feelings e.g. ‘you’re always overreacting/ you’re so sensitive’.
  • Disregarding responsibility for their actions e.g. ‘you make me feel like this’.
  • Altering past events e.g. ‘that is not how it happened’.
  • Disrespecting you behind your back e.g. ‘she’s absolutely crazy’.
  • Falsifying conversations with other people e.g. ‘they all think you’re going nuts’.
  • Claiming victim status e.g. ‘I’m the one you should be feeling sorry for’.
  • Denying their speech or actions e.g. ‘I didn’t do/ say that’.
  • Constantly saying things like ‘I should know/ what are you talking about/ you worry me’ and much more.

So what can we do if we’re being gaslighted?

Ultimately, we recommend that you seek out some professional support. But aside from that, here are seven tips for responding to being gaslit.

Learn the signs

Gaslighting involves repeated patterns of manipulation and it is worth noting that not every difference in opinion or dismissal is an intention to gaslight. So learning the signs in this instance may be useful so that we can be sure that we’re being gaslit.

Discuss the gaslighting behaviours

In some cases, whilst this can be difficult for obvious reasons, it may be worth speaking up about the behaviours involved in gaslighting. This will hopefully deter the gaslighter from thinking that these harmful strategies are working, although try to avoid conflict where possible.

Build self-confidence

This is one of the key things that gaslighters and manipulators seek to destroy. This may involve working out your core values, learning to set boundaries, being kind to yourself, practicing hobbies and working towards your goals. Things like writing and exercising are also great tools for confidence, but ultimately it will be down to you and your needs.

Spend time with those you care about (e.g. friends and family)

Social connection is so important and it’s often an easy tool to relieve stress and boost serotonin. You may even want to discuss your situation with them and seek advice or support.

Gather evidence of gaslighting

Some people, such as Crystal Raypole, suggest that gathering evidence for yourself is a good way to counteract gaslighting because it can help you to keep track of events or conversations. This will provide internal validation, and this evidence can often be used to counteract the denial of a gaslighter.

Leave the relationship behind

Often gaslighting is a sign of narcissistic personality disorder in which an individual develops an unhealthy obsession with themselves and believes that the world revolves around them.

Manipulation is often a classic trait of a narcissist, and in most cases the best thing that you can do is leave the toxic relationship, for the sake of your own mental health.

·····

For more on Gaslighting, click here.

For more mental health tips, tricks and education, please visit our articles page or follow us on social media!