5 Signs You’re Gaslighting Someone, Even If You Don’t Mean To

Did you know that the term ‘Gaslighting’ originated from a play in 1938? It was about a husband who manipulated his wife by playing with the gaslights.

Nowadays that term is a serious psychological issue, in which one person manipulates or abuses the thoughts and actions of another person, ultimately leading to distortion of reality. Gaslighting can damage a relationship between two people, whether between friends, lovers, or family.  

Are you worried if you’re gaslighting someone without knowing it? To give you more insights and reassurance, here are a few signs you are gaslighting someone even if you do not mean to.

Disclaimer: This article is not made to attack anyone who may display these signs, but rather to bring more awareness to the topic!

Number 1, You minimize their feelings.

One of the most common signs of gaslighting and the most dangerous is messing with the other person’s feelings.

When your friend is crying about her stolen backpack, and you respond with “you are exaggerating” then that is a sign you have gas-lighted your friend.

Gaslighting will make the victim’s feelings seem absurd and unjust, blaming them for being too sensitive and over-reactive. This will cause an emotional unbalance for the other person, and they will begin to question themselves and their sanity.

Number 2, You distract them.

When your friend asks you about what you have done this weekend and you shift the subject by asking about the way she had said it, this might not be an obvious sign of gaslighting, but it is a start. Many people like to hide details of their life from other people, maybe because they are embarrassed or they are afraid of jealousy, but gas-lighters will distract you from your purpose, turning the tables around. For example, when you ask why the lights were on when you left the house a gas-lighter will respond with what is wrong with your memory lately.

Number 3, You lie to them.

You surely have played Chinese whispers or telephone game when you were a child. Information gets passed around a group and then revealed at the end. Most often the truth gets distorted as the words get passed on. It’s a funny game to play; however, gas-lighters take it more seriously, incorporating it into everyday life by lying and distorting the truth.

Lying can be about the simplest things, such as who switched the Tv-channel, but slowly over time, these subtle little changes will create a big impact on the receiver’s mental health, resulting in distortion of reality.

Number 4, You deny them.

“I don’t remember.”

“That never happened.”

These phrases are commonly used by gas-lighters. They deny something has happened or they have done something wrong to tamper with the victim’s memory. This will cause the victim to feel ignored and their opinion unheard.  In the future, the victim will not be sure what happened if it was real, or if they were imagining it.

Sometimes it really is the case where you don’t remember such a thing happened, maybe because you were drunk, but when you know it happened and deny it then that is gaslighting.

Number 5, You isolate them.

You will try to make the other person feel lonely and helpless by claiming that other people talk about them behind their back or that person does not like them.

Gas-lighters will isolate their victims, separating them from their family and friends by spreading false information. They will claim that “everyone thinks you are crazy.” In this way, the victim will believe that they have no one and will therefore believe the gas lighter.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation in which the victim is made to believe that their thoughts and memories are not correct. Sometimes people are not aware of their actions and the effects it has on others, so it’s important to take some time and know yourself.

If you minimize the other person’s feelings, distract them, lie about the truth, deny their statements, and isolate them then you are probably gaslighting them. 

did you relate to any of these points?

References:

Morin, A. (2020, September 5). What gaslighting is, and 5 signs someone may be gaslighting you, according to a psychotherapist. Business Insider. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/what-gaslighting-is-and-5-signs-someone-is-gaslighting-you-2020-9

Greenberg, M. (2021, June 30). 5 go-to tactics of gaslighters, and how to resist them. Psychology Today. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/202106/5-go-tactics-gaslighters-and-how-resist-them

Gordon, S. (2022, January 5). Ways to tell if someone is gaslighting you. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/is-someone-gaslighting-you-4147470

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