Ugh, gaslighters. You may have heard of this whole gaslighting thing, but are confused at what it actually means. Why is it bad? What are the effects? How do you stop gaslighting in a relationship?
Don’t worry, it’s all in this post.
It’s important that you know what it is, and how to stop gaslighting in your relationships.
Everyone from your partner to your boss can gaslight you, so you need to be prepared to respond!
PLUS, you can sign up to receive a FREE Abusive Relationships Ebook, where you’ll learn how to spot abuse, and how to recover from it!
This post contains:
What is gaslighting, anyway?
Common examples of gaslighting
Is gaslighting abuse?
How to respond to gaslighting the RIGHT way
What is Gaslighting, Anyway?
You’ve been a victim of gaslighting if someone has made your feelings or thoughts seem invalid or crazy. It’s a manipulation tactic that makes you doubt yourself and your perception of things.
Gaslighting can happen in non-romantic relationships.
If you’ve ever had a family member or boss tell you that you’re crazy or that you must be confused, you’ve most likely been gaslit. Remember: the whole goal of gaslighting is to make you doubt yourself so that you’re easily manipulated.
The long-term effects of gaslighting only help the people who are doing it.
After someone gaslights you consistently, you’ll start to feel unsure of yourself. You’ll also stay quiet because you’ll just expect someone to tell you that you’re wrong/crazy/sensitive.
Your self-esteem will definitely take a hit after being gaslit all the time.
So, how does it benefit the person gaslighting you?
They’ll take advantage of your uncertainly because now, you’re easier to manipulate. You won’t challenge them anymore and you’ll trust their judgement even more.
You’re the perfect quiet person that they can push around.
Common Examples of Gaslighting
Now that you know what gaslighting actually is, let me give you some real life examples of gaslighting that you can expect to see in real life.
They’re not always obvious, so keep in mind that some people can be sugary-sweet while manipulating you. Keep your cool though, because we’ll get to how to stop gaslighting in the next section.
Let’s break it down with some examples:
Denying the story (even with proof):
“That never happened”
Twisting the story on you:
“No, this is actually what happened”
“I’m not cheating on you, you’re the one cheating”
Ignoring important topics you bring up:
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“Oh my god, you’re really bringing this up?”
Using your emotions to question your credibility:
“Just calm down, you’re being dramatic”
“You must be confused/remembering things wrong”
Using the blame game:
“You think that’s bad? You did something so much worse…”
” I never would have done that if you hadn’t done this”
Minimizing it or making it a bigger deal than it really is:
“I was just joking”
“Well I guess I’m just not gonna make jokes or talk anymore”
Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, someone tried to gaslight you.
Doesn’t that make you mad? I’m mad for you!
Let’s move on to the next burning question: is gaslighting abuse?
My Partner Gaslights Me! Is Gaslighting Abuse?
Short answer: Yes, gaslighting is abuse.
A good relationship has to have healthy ways of communication. Unfortunately, gaslighting is not healthy ways of communicating with your partner.
An abusive relationship is all about screwy power dynamics.
One partner (the abuser) will pick on the other to feel bigger and more powerful. They can do this by gaslighting you, or by using other tactics of abuse. Even in other relationships, like with relatives or a coworker, the gaslighter is all about making sure that they’re more powerful than you.
The sad part is, some people don’t even realize that they’re doing this.
Should you stay with a gaslighter partner?
Think about it: Do you want to doubt yourself and fight to prove your point for the rest of your life with this person?
I sure didn’t, so I bolted out of there.
While people can change, you need to know when to stop trying so hard.
What’s that saying about leading a horse to water? You can’t fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed, or worse yet, doesn’t see anything wrong with their behaviour.
Let me tell you, you deserve so much better. Gaslighting, in the long run, ruins your self esteem because you start doubting yourself.
If the communication between you and your partner sounds like this a lot, you’ve got some important choices to make.
How to Respond to Gaslighting the Right Way
Whether it’s with a partner, your boss or your family members, the main goal of responding to gaslighting is to protect your energy!
The last thing we want is for you to constantly feel drained, especially when the person gaslighting you is someone you have to be around all the time.
Let’s get to it!
1. Evoke Some Feelings in Them
First thing’s first, let’s give the gaslighter the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don’t even know they’re being mean!
To test this, all you have to do is ask them: “How do you think that (their behaviour) makes me feel?”
It’s that simple.
If their intentions are genuine, a sentence like that will make them stop in their tracks and THINK.
So, next time your boyfriend tells you that it’s all in your head that your professor seems to have favourites, use that sentence.
Sometimes, you just gotta talk about feelings!
2. Use the Grey Rock Technique on the Person Gaslighting You
Now, the Grey Rock technique is more commonly used for gaslighting in a relationship, but it can be used in any gaslighting scenario!
This is good to use in a situation where you can’t leave, such as in a workplace environment.
The whole goal of this technique is to be as boring as a grey rock to eventually bore the gaslighter.
I’m talking wearing boring clothes, avoiding eye contact with the person, even speaking in a robotic tone of voice!
If used correctly, the person who is gaslighting you will get bored of picking on you and move on.
This also really helps with preserving your mental energy when you’re confronted with a tough situation like that.
A lot of the times, people who gaslight you will make you feel crazy and tell you that a certain event never happened. Eventually, you’ll start feeling crazy!
To prevent that, start writing down records of what they say and their actions.
By having detailed logs of what happened, you have evidence that you’re not being crazy, and that they’re gaslighting you. This helps you keep your feelings in check, because you’re in control!
HUGE DISCLAIMER, PLEASE READ: Do not, under any circumstances, show this record to the person gaslighting you. They’re slippery little eels and will absolutely find a way to use that against you (and you really don’t need to hear that you’re crazy for the hundredth time).
5. Validate Your Feelings Yourself to Stop Gaslighting
When you’re constantly the victim of gaslighting, your self esteem sinks way low. You’ll start resenting your own feelings!
This is why validating your own feelings is important.
Take a sheet of paper and ask yourself the following questions:
Do your feelings matter?
Who can control your feelings?
If someone says to me that my feelings aren’t real, do my feelings disappear?
Are you seeing the pattern here? What this means is your feelings don’t disappear because your loser boyfriend Joe told you you’re being too sensitive. YOU control your feelings, and your feelings do matter! This exercise really simplifies it so you can see clearly.
6. Use Mindfulness and Stay in the Moment
People who gaslight you LOVE it when you react.
Gaslighting totally has a way of catching you off guard, and slowly makes you lose trust in yourself.
By being mindful of what’s going on, YOU’RE in control.
How do I do this, you’re asking? Focus on your thoughts and feelings.
Have that inner monologue with yourself in the moment. Here’s what that looks like:
“I am feeling upset and he told me that I’m being crazy. He’s gaslighting me! Ok, I’m going to stay calm.”
Remember to breathe and take it one step at a time. You’re in control.
7. Consider the Value of the Relationship to Stop Gaslighting
Now that you keep a log of the gaslighting, consider how important this relationship is. Are the benefits outweighing the gaslighting?
If this is a constant thing, I’m sorry but you can’t fix it.
I’ve already talked about this, but let me repeat this: You can’t fix people who don’t want to be fixed.
Preserve your mental health and cut ties with this person. The value of the relationship is really low if they think they can talk to you like that.
Conclusion: Stop Gaslighting to Live Your Best Life
Now, you won’t be able to clear your entire circle of acquaintances from gaslighters. Sometimes, you just have to put up with it for the sake of your job or your family relations.
What you do have control over, however, is how you react to it. You have the power to realize that you’re being gaslit, and let it roll off your shoulders. This takes a lot of practice, but with the tips in this article, you’ll be a pro in no time!
TELL ME: Which of these tips are you excited to use to stop gaslighting? Let me know in the comments!