Today you’re going to learn the main 10 signs of gaslighting.
The word gaslighting is used to describe the manipulative activity that an abuser uses to make their target doubt themselves and think they’re going crazy.
The gaslighter aims to gain absolute control over their victim.
Where Did The Word “Gaslighting” Come From?
The word “gaslighting” comes from George Cukor’s 1944 film titled “Gaslight”.
In the film, a gentleman persuades his young wife to stay in the old house where he grew up. He then pushes his wife to doubt herself and think she’s crazy by changing the lights of the house’s gas lamps.
10 Subtle Signs of Gaslighting
The following are common signs you’re being abused by a gaslighter:
1. Blatant lies
You know they’re lying but they tell this lie in a relaxed manner.
2. Denying that they said/did something even though you have evidence
Despite the fact that you have evidence for what they said or did, they keep denying it.
Eventually, you start to question your reality.
3. Wearing you down slowly and over time
Gaslighting is usually done gradually and over time.
The gaslighter will tell a lie here, or make a derogatory comment there until you’re with very low self-esteem.
4. Discounting your feelings
They may tell you that you shouldn’t be upset when you have every right to be upset.
They may also laugh at your hurt or compare your situation to other people’s or their own in a way that leaves you feeling as if you’re overreacting.
5. Projecting their problems or flaws onto you
For example, they might be addicts, but they don’t see themselves as having a problem and instead blame you.
Eventually, you start to question yourself.
6. Their actions don’t match what they say
Most often, the gaslighter’s actions won’t match their words.
You need to look at what they’re doing because what they say means nothing.
7. Using what is important to you against you
If you love your children most, they may use them to manipulate you.
They may tell you that you don’t deserve those children.
8. Trying to turn people against you
This is when the gaslighter uses other people as a pawn to play off against you.
This leaves you not knowing who to trust and feeling isolated.
9. Telling you or others that you are crazy
The gaslighter might tell you that no one will believe you if you tell them that he’s abusive or controlling.
He may call you crazy or tell other people that you are crazy.
10. Getting you to question your memory
They’ll tell you that things didn’t happen the way you remember them, even though you vividly remember doing or saying certain things.
Related: The Narcissist’s Prayer Explained
Do Narcissists Know They Are Gaslighting?
Narcissists can often be aware that they are manipulating or controlling others, including engaging in gaslighting behaviors.
In some cases, narcissists intentionally gaslight others as a means of maintaining power and control over them. They may be fully aware of the impact their behavior has on their victims and use it to further their own agenda or feed their ego.
However, not all narcissists are consciously aware of their gaslighting tactics. Some may engage in this behavior more unconsciously, driven by their own insecurities and need for validation.
It’s also possible that some narcissists may not even recognize their behavior as manipulative or harmful.
FREE Toxic Relationship Worksheets PDF
How to Deal with Gaslighting?
Dealing with gaslighting can be emotionally challenging, but there are strategies you can employ to protect yourself and regain your confidence. Here are some suggestions for handling gaslighting:
1. Recognize the Signs
The first step in dealing with gaslighting is to recognize it.
Gaslighters often use tactics such as denial, contradiction, lying, and minimizing your experiences or emotions.
Understanding the signs can help you protect yourself and not internalize the gaslighter’s manipulation.
2. Trust Your Instincts
Gaslighting can make you doubt your own judgments and instincts. It’s important to remind yourself that your thoughts and feelings are valid.
Trust your gut and acknowledge that your perception of reality is important and should not be dismissed.
3. Seek Support
Gaslighting can be isolating, so it’s crucial to reach out to supportive friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide validation and perspective.
They can help counteract the gaslighter’s narrative and offer a safe space for you to express your thoughts and emotions.
4. Document Incidents
Keep records of incidents where you believe gaslighting occurred.
This can include writing down specific conversations, actions, or behaviors that made you question your reality.
Having a documented record can serve as evidence and help you gain clarity in moments of doubt.
5. Set Boundaries
Establish clear boundaries with the gaslighter to protect yourself from further manipulation.
Be firm in stating what behaviors are unacceptable and communicate the consequences of crossing those boundaries.
It’s important to prioritize your well-being and create a safe environment for yourself.
6. Practice Self-Care
Gaslighting can take a toll on your emotional well-being.
Engage in self-care activities that help you relax, rejuvenate, and build resilience.
This can include practicing mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, exercising regularly, or seeking therapy to process and heal from the gaslighting experience.
7. Educate Yourself
Learning about gaslighting and its effects can empower you in dealing with it.
Understanding the tactics and dynamics involved can help you recognize and respond effectively when faced with gaslighting behavior.
There are numerous books, articles, and online resources available that can provide valuable insights.
8. Practice Assertiveness
Gaslighters often try to undermine your confidence and assertiveness.
Developing assertiveness skills can help you stand up for yourself, express your needs and boundaries clearly, and hold the gaslighter accountable for their actions.
Role-playing assertive scenarios can be helpful in building this skill.
9. Limit Contact if Necessary
In some cases, limiting or cutting off contact with the gaslighter may be necessary for your well-being.
This decision should be made based on your unique circumstances and the level of toxicity in the relationship.
Prioritize your mental health and safety above maintaining contact.
10. Focus on Your Strengths
Gaslighting can diminish your self-esteem and self-worth.
Counteract these effects by focusing on your strengths, accomplishments, and positive qualities.
Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you, and engage in activities that boost your confidence.
If you ever feel overwhelmed or unsafe due to gaslighting, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor, who can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific situation.
Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.
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