Have you ever felt that something isn’t right in a relationship or conversation, but you can’t focus on what it is? If so, you may have been a victim of gaslighting. Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that distorts someone’s sense of reality to gain power over them.
A descriptive definition of gaslighting: ‘The act of manipulating others to doubt themselves or question their own sanity; individuals confronted for committing microaggressions deny their biases, often convincing the targets to question their own perceptions.‘
Signs of Gaslighting:
Here are 11 signs that someone might be gaslighting you:
1. They deny things you know to be true.
This could be as simple as denying that they said something or that a certain event happened. By doing this, the gaslighter makes you doubt your memory and perception of the situation. For example, they might deny that they said something hurtful to you, even though you remember it clearly.
2. They use your emotions against you.
The gaslighter may try to convince you that you’re overreacting or being too sensitive, causing you to question whether your feelings are valid. This can be particularly damaging since it can cause you to question your emotional responses and view yourself as overly emotional or unstable.
3. They make you doubt your own memory and perception.
By telling you that you’re misremembering something or that your perception of a situation is wrong, the gaslighter is trying to make you feel like you can’t trust your brain. This can cause confusion and self-doubt, making it easier for the gaslighter to maintain control.
4. They twist the facts.
Galighters are known for twisting facts and twisting others’ words. They may change the details of a conversation or event to make you doubt what you remember. For example, they may say that you agreed to something you know you didn’t agree to, or they may claim that a conversation went differently than you remember. By doing this, the gaslighter is trying to make you question your recollection of the situation, making it easier for them to manipulate you.
5. They use your past against you.
Gaslighters may bring up past mistakes or shortcomings to make you feel bad about yourself or doubt your judgment. This can be particularly damaging since it can make you feel like you’re untrustworthy or don’t have the right to speak up. They also feed on your insecurities since they know all about you. They bring up your weak points to weaken you in difficult situations for their benefit.
6. They play the victim.
Gaslighters may try to make you feel guilty or responsible for something that’s not your fault, making themselves out to be the victim. They use emotional blackmailing to evade difficult situations, and this can be a manipulative tactic to get you to do what they want or to make you feel like you owe them something. They may say things like, “You’re always attacking me,” or “I’m just trying to help you.” This can make you feel guilty for standing up for yourself or expressing your feelings.
7. They use positive reinforcement to confuse you.
They might compliment or show you affection to make you doubt your negative feelings about them. This makes the situation all the more confusing since it can make you feel like the gaslighter is a good person, even if they’re behaving badly.
8. They isolate you from others.
Gaslighters feed off their friend. They may try to cut you off from your other friends and family, making you feel you have nowhere else to turn. By isolating you, they can maintain more control over you and make it harder for you to see the situation for what it really is.
9. They use manipulation tactics.
Gaslighters may use tactics like guilt-tripping or playing mind games to get what they want. This can be a very dangerous tactic since it can make you feel like you’re the problem, even though you’re not. Gaslighters may use threats and intimidation to control and manipulate you, and this can be physical violence, emotional abuse, or other forms of coercion.
10. They lie.
Gaslighters may tell outright lies, making it difficult for you to trust them. This can be a particularly harmful tactic since it can make you question everything they say and do, leaving you feeling confused and unsure.
11. They refuse to take responsibility.
Gaslighters may refuse to take responsibility for their actions or behavior to make you feel like you’re the problem. Gaslighters may blame you or others for their behavior, bringing down a person.
What if you’re the gaslighter?
If you find any of these signs in yourself, you might use gaslighting tactics to control others. This behavior is usually due to the parents of the gaslighter using similar tactics to control them when they were young or if they have experienced toxic relationships.
But do not fret. If you find yourself to be the gaslighter in your relationship or circle of friends, start practicing empathy. Empathy is the only correct way to get out of this behavior. Spend time alone, contemplate your wrongdoings, and find ways to correct them step by step. This manipulative tactic doesn’t go away independently but needs thoughtful actions and corrections in the behavior. But it’s not something you cant achieve!
What if you are being gaslighted?
If you’ve experienced any of these signs, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Gaslighting can be a harmful and confusing experience, but recognizing the signs is the first step in protecting yourself. If you’re unsure about a relationship or conversation, trust your instincts and seek support from a trusted friend or professional.
It is better to distance yourself from the gaslighter as soon as possible or talk to the person and make him realize how badly his behavior affects you. Most gaslighters are unintentionally doing this because of their background or upbringing. Nevertheless, you should practice self-care, protect yourself first and then help them if you may.
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic used to get above delicate situations and control friends and family. It is usually a product of unsual upbringing. Gaslighters can badly affect your mental health and your overall progress in life. If you’re a victim of gaslighting and have experienced any of these signs, ask for help! If you find any of these signs in yourself, it is never too late to make amends!