Gaslighting involves some serious manipulation techniques. A "gaslighter" may do or say things that will leave you questioning your sanity. It's even possible you've experienced gaslighting and weren't even aware that it was happening.
Unfortunately, gaslighting can happen in all types of relationships, so it's important to know how to identify and deal with various relationship red flags. You may be experiencing gaslighting from a significant other, a parent, a friend, a coworker, or even a boss.
Here are 10 tactics to help you put an end to manipulation.
» Looking for affordable, professional support? Check out our top picks for the best online therapy services and sites.
1. Understand What Gaslighting Is
Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation tactic used to make someone else doubt their own reality or memory. Common gaslighting phrases include: "You're making that up," "That never happened," "Are you crazy?", "You're being dramatic," or "This is your fault, not mine."
These statements are used to move any blame from the "gaslighter" to the person being gaslit to make them feel like they have done something wrong.
2. Know Your Truth
To avoid being manipulated by a "gaslighter," you need to know your truth and trust your ability to remember things.
Those who use gaslighting tactics often try to seek out people they know are vulnerable or might be easy to manipulate. It's important to be confident and trust yourself if you're ever in a situation where someone is trying to gaslight you.
3. Work on Your Confidence
Confidence is key. Keep in mind that those who gaslight typically seek out individuals they think are weak or can be easily taken advantage of. So, it's essential you stay confident.
To appear more confident when engaging with someone you think might be gaslighting you, you need to hold your head high, maintain eye contact, use assertive communication and speak in a firm voice.
It's also important to make yourself a priority and work on improving your confidence and self-esteem regularly.
You can do this by listening to daily affirmations, writing a list of things you love about yourself, and reminding yourself of your strengths.
» Here's how you get out of dating a narcissist.
4. Set Firm Boundaries
Having firm boundaries can be another way to avoid or put an end to the manipulation of a "gaslighter."
If you avoid conversations that you feel are unproductive or inaccurate, you'll be able to remove yourself from the situation before any manipulation tactics can come out.
Having firm boundaries can sound like, "I disagree with what you're saying, and I don't think it's helpful to continue this conversation," or "I feel like there's a disconnection between what I remember versus what you remember, so we'll have to agree to disagree."
5. Write Everything Down
A "gaslighter" will tell you that you are "crazy." They usually try to make it seem like you're the one who is lying or can't remember things correctly.
In these situations, it could be helpful to write things down after a conversation so that you can revisit them and remind yourself that you aren't the one being dishonest.
If you have some type of conflict or miscommunication, try spending 5 to 10 minutes reflecting on the conversation and writing down what was said by each person. This way, you'll have documentation of what you said in case the "gaslighter" tries to twist your words or change their own story.
6. Know When to Walk Away
As mentioned, sometimes conversations with a "gaslighter" can feel like you're stuck in an endless cycle of trying to prove yourself. This can be exhausting and cause you to feel incredibly defeated.
It's important to know when to walk away from the conversation. If the person you're talking to is making you feel small, blaming you, or trying to twist your words or reality, it's time to step away.
Pay attention to how you feel when talking with someone who is gaslighting you, and remember that you aren't required to engage in anything that makes you feel bad.
You have every right to walk away from conversations that don't serve you.
7. Bring in a Mediator
If you need to have an important conversation and fear that your words might be twisted or used against you, you can bring in a mediator or a witness.
If the "gaslighter" is someone from work, you could ask to have HR or possibly a supervisor present. And if the "gaslighter" is someone in your personal life, such as a friend, family member, or significant other, you could ask a friend or someone you trust to sit in on the conversation.
As a more neutral option, you could seek the support of a therapist.
» Need help building a healthy relationship? Take a look at the best online couples therapy services.
8. Lean on Your Support System
Engaging with someone who is gaslighting you can take a severe toll on your mental health. Many people who have experienced gaslighting struggle with low-self esteem and a lack of faith in themselves and others.
If you're dealing with a "gaslighter," make sure to spend some time with your support system—people who make you feel safe and loved.
9. Resist the Urge to Argue
It can be pointless to argue with a "gaslighter." You may want to prove that you are right, but even with facts or evidence, a "gaslighter" will still find ways to make you think that you're in the wrong.
If you feel like you're on a hamster wheel—running in circles trying to prove yourself—you might need to wave your white flag and surrender. There is no winning when dealing with a "gaslighter."
Check in with yourself and remind yourself that you aren't losing or giving up; you're just choosing your battles wisely.
10. Seek a Therapist
If you've experienced gaslighting, you may want to seek support from a therapist. Gaslighting can be a form of emotional abuse, and many people who experience gaslighting may face challenges with low self-esteem or have trust issues.
A therapist can show you how to identify gaslighting, respond to gaslighting, and repair any damages after experiencing gaslighting.
Putting an End to It
To put an end to gaslighting, you first need to know how to recognize it. You also need to be prepared to advocate for yourself by having firm boundaries, knowing when to walk away, and leaning on your support system.
Experiencing gaslighting over a long period of time can cause severe damage, so don't be afraid to reach out for support. You're not "crazy;" you've experienced intense psychological manipulation and deserve support.
» Fast-track your way to a better you with the help of BetterHelp or ReGain today.