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What is Gaslighting and What to do About It

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Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation that can often cause you to doubt yourself and question your reality. It often occurs in abusive relationships and can be considered a form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting makes the victim question their judgments and own reality because the abuser creates a false narrative in order to make the victim dependent on the deceiver. Read below to learn about examples of gaslighting and what you can do to shut gaslighting down.

Gaslighting Can Look Like…

Gaslighting can look like a denial of actions, lying, playing the victim, weaponizing friends and loved ones, and projection. One example of gaslighting in a relationship is when someone says “You know I do it because I love you” or “Believe me this is for the best” when it is something you’re perceiving as abusive or wrong. Gaslighters will often use love as a defense for their actions implying that you don’t love them equally. They might try to control you by sabotaging friend and job opportunities and justify it by saying they care about you. Gaslighting is all about manipulating the victim to take control and power in the relationship. If you think this might be happening in your relationship, there are a few ways to shutdown gaslighting and shift your mindset.

Shutdown Gaslighting

To shut down gaslighting, you must be aware and in touch with your emotions. By doing this, you’ll build self-reliance, confidence and the ability to stand up to whoever may be gaslighting you. The first step you should take is to commit to breaking the cycle of abuse. Staying in touch with your emotions will allow you to trust your instincts and help remind you that you don’t need to question your thoughts, feelings, or perceptions about anything. 

Shift Your Mindset

To start shifting your mindset,

  1.  Recognize if there is an underlying issue in your relationship (Ex: a power struggle)
  2. Talk to friends and family
  3.  Focus less on right and wrong, and more on feelings
  4. Give yourself permission to leave the situation
  5. Talk to a mental health professional 

Turning to people outside of the relationship can help you validate your feelings. Remaining confident in your version of events is key to escaping from gaslighting in relationships and is easier to do if you have trusted confidants to confide in outside of the relationship. Taking space from the relationship is also important. Give yourself permission to leave the situation when you feel you are being manipulated. Your distress might encourage them to keep manipulating you, so sometimes it might be better to walk away all together. If you find that the gaslighting cycle continues, talking to a mental health professional might be for you.

Outside Support

If you feel like talking to a mental health professional is your best option, contact us at the link in our bio.⠀We specialize in relationship issues, couples therapy, divorce, coping skills, emotional disturbances, and more. The simple act of deciding to begin counseling means you are already making progress. From there, we will take that momentum and help you to get where you want to be.