What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person attempts to invalidate your reality and make you question your own feelings so that they can control you. Narcissists keep this trick in their back pockets and often use it to get what they want and assert power over others. Controlling individuals who inflict emotional abuse on their partners are often guilty of this. If you’re in a relationship with someone who gaslights you, you likely experience extreme self-doubt or even question your identity. Gaslighting is often a tactic used to control one person in a relationship but is not exclusive to romance. A manipulative person can be a boss, friend, or family member. Nevertheless, the closer you are to the person who gaslights, the harder it is to stand your ground.
How do I Know if I’m Being Gaslighted?
When you have a relationship with someone who is gaslighting you, after reading this blgo you may begin to notice an imbalance of power. It can seem like this person does no wrong and always has the upper hand despite evidence to the contrary. A partner who is gaslighting you may twist your sense of reality and cause you to question yourself. They often do harmful or dismissive things and then refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They refuse to validate your hurt feelings and can dismiss their way out of anything.Shifting the blame onto others comes second nature in those who gaslight others. Afterall, you’re just imagining things right? Keep in mind that the deeper their hooks sink in, the more you question your sanity. Manipulative people will leave you feeling alone, inadequate, and unstable. What’s worse, when you finally work up the courage to confront them, they have an explanation for everything.
Common Phrases Used in Gaslighting
- You’re overreacting
- You’re just paranoid
- You made me act like this
- Why do you keep bringing that up?
- You are blowing this way out of proportion
- You can’t take a joke
- You’re way too sensitive
- It wasn’t that big of a deal
- This is just your own insecurity
- That never happened
How to Break Free from Gaslighting
The first step to breaking free from manipulation is to set boundaries. Acknowledge the feelings of the person gaslighting you but inform them that you have your own truth. You have a right to your own feelings and your experience is valid. Keep a journal of conversations and events to help you stand firm in the truth of what happened and not the gaslighter’s manipulative spin. This can help you feel more sane and progressively gain your self-confidence back. Once you begin doing this, you will be able to see through their lies. Below are some phrases you can use to defuse the power they hold over you. Most people who gaslight will still try to power through any boundaries you set so be prepared to enforce them. There are times when you would set a boundary verbally and times when you would simply exit the situation depending on the intensity of the gaslighting. These are just a few things to consider or say.
I feel like I am not being heard, I need to take a break from this conversation.
I know how I feel, you do not have to agree with me.
I am allowed to have my own feelings and I am going to go if you continue telling me that my feelings are wrong or that I don’t understand.
My experiences and opinions are valid
I hear you, but my experience was different and I am going to hang up if you continue talking to me this way.
Until you are ready to consider my views, I am done with this conversation.
Not sure what to do? We can help!
If you need help gaining your confidence back, we are here for you. Knowing you’re being mentally abused and breaking free from it are two different things. We know how intimidating it can be to challenge someone who has been manipulating you through gaslighting. This is where we equip you with the tools you need internally and externally with the other person to set healthy boundaries. A person who uses gaslighting to get what they want may never respect your views, but they don’t have to. Asking for space, or informing them that you will talk when they can be reasonable and respectful is one way to start breaking free from their control over you.
At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we will equip you with the confidence to remove yourself from situations that no longer serve you (aka gaslighting). We are excited for the opportunity to guide you on your journey and empower you to move beyond just surviving to creating a life you are excited to live. We look forward to hearing from you and are excited to personalize your therapy experience to exactly what you need! You can get started today by calling (405) 921-7776 for more information.