Gaslighting: Strategies to identify and combat being gaslit
Gaslighting: How do I know when I’m being Gaslit?
Gaslighting can be a very subtle and insidious form of manipulation, and it can be difficult to recognize on your own. It is important to pay attention to your own feelings and experiences and to seek the help of trusted friends, family, or professionals if you feel like you are being manipulated or mistreated.
If you find yourself constantly doubting your own perceptions, memories, or judgment, or if you feel confused or unsure of what is happening, it could be a sign that you are being gaslit.
If someone’s actions don’t align with their words, it could be a sign that they are not being honest or are attempting to manipulate you.
If someone is trying to control your thoughts, feelings, or actions, it could be a sign that they are attempting to gaslight you.
If someone is trying to limit your contact with friends, family, or other supportive people, it could be a sign that they are attempting to gaslight you.
An example of gaslighting might be a husband who constantly denies his wife’s perceptions of reality, telling her that she is imagining things or that she is crazy. For instance, the husband might consistently move objects around the house and then deny moving them when his wife asks about it. Over time, the wife might start to doubt her own perceptions and believe that she is, in fact, going crazy. This is an example of gaslighting because the husband is deliberately trying to manipulate his wife into doubting her own reality.
How do I know I’m being gaslit?
- Pay attention to your gut feelings: If you have a strong feeling that someone is manipulating or lying to you, trust your instincts.
- Keep track of conversations and events: Write down important conversations and events, including the date and time, to help you remember what happened.
- Seek the opinion of others: Talk to trusted friends or family members about your experiences and ask for their perspective.
- Look for discrepancies: Pay attention to any discrepancies in what the other person is saying or how they are behaving.
- Notice if the person avoids responsibility or accountability: Pay attention to whether the person is evasive or avoids taking responsibility for their actions or words.
- Notice if the person tries to manipulate your emotions: Pay attention to whether the person is trying to make you feel guilty, ashamed, or confused.
- Notice if the person tries to isolate you: Pay attention to whether the person is trying to separate you from your support system or discourage you from seeking outside help.
- Seek professional help: Consider seeking the help of a therapist or counselor if you feel like you are being gaslit and need additional support.
How can I stop being gaslit and manipulated?
Set Boundaries. It is important to establish and maintain clear boundaries with the person who is gaslighting you. This may include setting limits on how much time you spend with them, what types of conversations you have, or what behaviors you will tolerate.
Keep track of Information and behaviors. If you are experiencing gaslighting, it can be helpful to keep a record of the person’s words and actions. This can help you clarify your own thoughts and memories, and can be useful if you need to seek help or take legal action.
Communicate your feelings: It can be helpful to communicate your feelings to the person who is gaslighting you, in a calm and assertive manner. This can help them understand the impact of their behavior and may encourage them to change their behavior.
Seek support. It can be helpful to seek the support of trusted friends, family, or professionals who can offer you a safe and supportive environment and a different perspective on the situation. If you are struggling to cope with the gaslighting or are concerned about your safety, it may be necessary to seek the support of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. They can help you understand what is happening and provide you with strategies for coping with the situation.
Consider ending the relationship: If the gaslighting is severe and ongoing, and you have tried other strategies to address the situation, it may be necessary to consider ending the relationship. This can be a difficult decision, and it may be helpful to seek the support of trusted others as you navigate this process.
How do I set boundaries?
Setting boundaries with people who gaslight is important because it helps protect your own mental health and well-being. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, and it can have serious psychological consequences for the person being gaslighted. It can lead to feelings of confusion, self-doubt, and anxiety, and it can undermine your sense of self and your ability to trust your own perceptions and memories.
By setting boundaries with people who gaslight, you are establishing clear limits and expectations for how you want to be treated. This can help you maintain a sense of control over your own life and can help protect you from further abuse.
Some examples of boundaries you might set with someone who gaslights might include:
- Refusing to engage in conversations that are designed to make you doubt your own perceptions or memories.
- Clearly stating your boundaries and expectations for how you want to be treated.
- Seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist if you feel like you are being gaslighted.
- Setting limits on how much time you spend with the person who is gaslighting you.
It’s important to remember that setting boundaries is not about trying to control the other person or their behavior. Instead, it’s about taking care of yourself and protecting your own well-being.
Communicate your needs and feelings directly and assertively, rather than letting the person continue to manipulate you. For example, you might say something like, “I feel disrespected and dismissed when you deny things that I know happened. I need you to listen to me and respect my experiences and memories.”
Establish clear limits on the types of behavior that are acceptable to you. For example, you might say, “I will not continue to have conversations with you when you deny things that I know happened. If you want to continue talking, you need to listen to me and respect my experiences and memories.”
Seek the support of trusted friends, family, or professionals who can provide you with a different perspective and help you cope with the situation. For example, you might say, “I have been feeling really confused and unsure of myself lately. I need some support and help in figuring out what is happening. Can I talk to you about it?”
Take care of your own well-being and to find healthy ways to cope with the situation. This may include seeking therapy, practicing self-care, and finding ways to reduce stress. For example, you might say, “I need to take some time for myself to process everything that has been happening. I’m going to take a walk and clear my head.”
If the person continues to gaslight you despite your efforts to address the behavior and the situation becomes untenable, it may be necessary to consider ending the relationship. This can be a difficult decision, but it may be necessary for your own well-being and emotional health. For example, you might say, “I have tried to address the way you have been manipulating me, but things have not improved. I need to prioritize my own well-being and emotional health, and I think it is best if we end our relationship.”
How Can I Create a Gaslighting Free environment?
Creating a gaslight-free environment in your living and working space is important for maintaining trust, respect, and healthy communication. To do this, it’s important to establish clear rules and boundaries within your environment to create a safe and respectful space for everyone. Make sure everyone understands what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable, and hold people accountable for their actions and behaviors, including yourself.
Encourage open communication so everyone can share their thoughts and feelings openly and to listen to each other without judgment. Encourage healthy ways of resolving conflict and come up with mutually-beneficial solutions. Practice active listening and closely listen to what others are saying while you try to fully understand their perspective.
Regularly check in with people in your space to see how they are doing and to address any issues that may arise. This can help ensure that everyone is feeling heard and supported, and it can also help prevent misunderstandings or conflicts from escalating.
And finally, model healthy behaviors. Make sure you are being respectful, open, and honest in your interactions with others, and being willing to listen and consider other perspectives.
Gaslighting can occur for a variety of reasons. It is often a tactic used by someone who wants to gain power or control over another person. They may use gaslighting as a way to manipulate the other person into doubting their own perceptions and memories, which can make them more susceptible to the manipulator’s influence. In some cases, gaslighting may be a result of a person’s insecurities or lack of self-esteem. They may use gaslighting as a way to deflect blame or to avoid being held accountable for their actions. Gaslighting can also occur in relationships where one person is abusive or controlling. The abuser may use gaslighting as a way to manipulate their victim and to maintain control over them.
It’s important to note that gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, and it can have serious psychological consequences for the person being gaslighted. If you suspect that you or someone you know is being gaslighted, it’s important to seek support and help. If you or anyone you know is being gaslit or need help, please contact Specialized Therapy Associates at 201-488-6678 for our Mental-health related services. Our highly experienced team of mental health specialists are here to help you heal and assist with your mental-health related issues.
By Lynda R. Fabbo, DSW, LCSW
Sweet, P. L. (2019). The sociology of gaslighting. American Sociological Review, 84(5), 851-875.
Tormoen, M. (2019). Gaslighting: How pathological labels can harm psychotherapy clients. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 0022167819864258.
HARRIS, D. M., & MACNEILL, D. N. (2021). Gaslighting 2: Victimhood and learned helplessness.Leave a reply
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