Abuse is extremely complicated. With so many types of abuse and how abusers can be subtle in their tactics, it may be difficult to identify when it’s happening or not. Abusers are sneaky in their ways and have different strategies to keep you coming back. To help identify some of these strategies, in this article, we’ll be looking at 7 gaslighting things that abusers do to control you.
But First, What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that an abuser will use in order to gain your trust. They do this by making you feel that you cannot trust your own judgment, emotions, or memory with the goal that you will look to them to provide this (Gordon 2022) .
With that out of the way, here are 7 things:
1. They Always Find a Way to Counter Your Statements
Abusers will do whatever it takes to avoid accountability. You may find that when you confront an abuser on something they did, they will deny it and make you feel that you’re misremembering (Huizen 2022). They may say that something happened differently to make you feel that you cannot trust your own experience. No matter how planned out you are in what you say, you may find it impossible to “win” against them.
2. They Trivialize Your Experience
Abusers will make you feel that you are overreacting in a situation. While you may be heated and overflowing with emotions, they will remain calm and quiet while telling you that you’re being dramatic. They may pass off whatever was bothering you as “no big deal” and explain to you why your feelings are wrong (GoodTherapy 2018). Gaslighting is manipulation, so in doing this, they’re trying to get you to put your trust into them. By making it seem like they know how you should act and feel in situations, they hope that you will look to them.
3. They Deny
Another way an abuser can shy away from taking accountability is through denial. They deny their involvement in something, find a way to make it someone else’s fault, or even stating that they don’t remember (Huizen 2022). Somehow, whatever they did is not their fault and they will find whatever it takes to get you to believe that it wasn’t them. They cannot afford to be wrong in a situation.
4. They Make Up Lies About You and Other People
It’s common for abusers to make up lies to get what they want out of you. When you’re in an argument with them, they may pull others in and make it sound like other people are against you. Saying things like “all your friends agree with me” or “everyone thinks you’re horrible” (Goodtherapy 2018).If they have a hard time getting through to you, then they will make it seem like that it’s not just them thinking that way. After all, the more people believe something to be true, especially those that you trust, you may find it more convincing.
5. They Divert Attention Away
As abusers will try hard to avoid taking accountability, they will do their best to shift the focus somewhere else. This can be done by blaming other people and accusing them of influencing you. They will ignore the issue at hand and make it about someone else. They may also accuse someone close to you of planting ideas in your head to make it seem like you’re incapable of making your own mind up (Goodtherapy 2018). At this point, they may not even be focused on what your argument is about.
6. They Lovebomb You
Lovebombing is a manipulation tactic that usually occurs in cycles. When an abuser is lovebombing you, they are on their best behavior. They may buy you gifts, give you tons of praise and affection, and make you feel that you are special. However, this is to keep you from getting away in which they will then fall back into abusing you. This can be incredibly confusing as the shift may be sudden and unpredictable. They may seem perfect in the moment making you second guess what you’ve been through with them.
7. They Make you Question Your Judgment
Overall, gaslighting is a tactic to make you question and doubt yourself. Gaslighters will try to get you to put your trust in them so you rely on their viewpoints over yourself and others. The gaslighter can be so subtle in their manipulation that they make you feel that you aren’t intelligent and that you can’t trust yourself on making decisions. You may feel that you need to walk on eggshells around them and that you must go through them before making any type of decision on your own (My CWA 2019).
Abuse is complicated and tricky to deal with. It’s important to know that it’s never your fault for being abused and that there’s resources available for help. We hope you were able to find this article helpful and encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Resource for abuse:
- GoodTherapy. (2018, June 13). Gaslighting. GoodTherapy.Org Therapy Blog. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/gaslighting
- Gordon, S. (2022, January 5). What Is Gaslighting? Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/is-someone-gaslighting-you-4147470
- Huizen, J. (2022, July 14). What is gaslighting? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/gaslighting#gaslighting-examples
- My CWA. (2019). https://www.mycwa.org.uk/gaslighting. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=X+Gaslighting+Things+Abusers+Do+To+Control+You