5 Ways to Respond to Gaslighting

You probably have heard the word gaslighting or manipulation before. These are extremely hard situations to experience and can often be hard to navigate. To better explore what gaslighting is and how to respond to it, in this article, we’ll be looking at five ways to respond to it.

But First, What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the manipulator – or gaslighter – tries to convince another person that they cannot trust themselves. They may convince their victim that they are fabricating scenarios, exaggerating details, or overreacting to situations. To further their false narrative, they may also lie about details, minimize feelings, or bring in other people to their side (Mindbodygreen 2021). This type of manipulation can be extremely distressing to the person experiencing it. So what are some ways you can fight against it?

1. Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is important for your well-being in any situation. When dealing with someone trying to gaslight you, it’s important to have boundaries in place to protect yourself. Staying firm in what you believe, experience, and feel may make the gaslighter more frantic, but letting them know that you will walk away or discontinue the conversation if they keep manipulating the situation will keep them from having power over you. It is also important to make sure you follow through on your boundaries if they don’t stop to discourage them from their behavior. 

2. Remain Confident in Yourself

Confidence is key in many situations, but especially when dealing with a gaslighter. When someone makes you doubt yourself and how you think/feel/remember, it is important to identify that this is manipulation and to hold true to what you believe in. Part of this can be achieved through self care practices such as talking about your situation with others, writing down your thoughts and feelings, and affirming to yourself that you are valid. When someone is gaslighting you, they are trying to kill your self-confidence so fighting against this will be in your favor.

3. Have Proof If Available

Having evidence in whatever available form; screenshots, recordings, etc. can be helpful in multiple ways. While it may not always convince the gaslighter, and you may find that no matter how strong your evidence is, they will still find a way around it, it can be affirming for yourself to know that your perception is validated. So while providing proof to someone may or may not be effective, it’s important to be able to fall back on affirming your beliefs and following through with your boundaries to remove yourself from a situation. 

4. Talk with Others

Having a strong network of people whether they are family, friends, or mental health professionals is very important. On one hand they can help you affirm your beliefs and build your self confidence. On the other, they can provide you emotional support when dealing with a toxic situation. Another benefit would be that getting someone else involved in a gaslighting situation can help dissuade the gaslighter as they may find it harder to manipulate multiple people.

5. Know When to Walk Away

Sometimes it’s hopeless when dealing with a gaslighter. You may find that they will take every opportunity to manipulate you despite your best efforts. Knowing when to walk away, whether it’s from the conversation or for good is important. Additionally taking steps to improve your situation may include talking with your HR department if the situation is work related, legal consultation, or turning to a mental health professional to help process your emotions. 

While gaslighting along with all the other types of manipulation are extremely hard to navigate, it’s important to do so for your wellbeing. Getting in touch with the right people, resources, and professionals can be a great way to find your way out of these situations and improve your life. Let us know what your thoughts are on this topic. Are there any other tips you can think of? Let us know in the comments!

References:

  • Mindbodygreen. (2021, April 27). What Do You Say When Someone’s Gaslighting You? A Therapist’s Go-To Comebacks. www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-deal-with-gaslighting
  • Raypole, C. (2021, September 9). Think You’re Being Gaslit? Here’s How to Respond. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-gaslighting#involve-others
  • Rodríguez, G. S. (2021, May 14). Gaslighting: How to Recognize it and What to Say When it Happens. The Psychology Group Fort Lauderdale. thepsychologygroup.com/gaslighting-how-to-recognize-it-and-what-to-say-when-it-happens/

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