Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that some people may be going through right now, yet unfortunately, they have no idea that they are being manipulated by a gaslighter. You may have been, or perhaps still are being controlled by a gaslighter, too.
Their motive is for their benefit. They want to control you. They try to influence your thinking so that you begin to doubt yourself. You begin to wonder if you are thinking clearly at all! It can make you feel worried and anxious because your perceived reality is becoming warped.
Their goal is to dominate and control by psychological manipulation so that they cause their victims to doubt their beliefs and perceptions, become misled, distressed, disoriented, and lose self-confidence. Their victim eventually has more confidence in the gaslighter than in themselves. This can be when it becomes a dangerous situation.
Examples of gaslighting include denying or distorting the truth, extreme defensiveness, shifting the blame onto you or others, silently sabotaging your self-worth, and more. Typically, their victim or victims are vulnerable due to a power imbalance and find it difficult to challenge the gaslighter’s stories.
This report will help you recognize three types of gaslighters and how to deal with a person who is trying to gaslight you.
Learn to Recognize a Gaslighter
Gaslighters are toxic and you should logically want to avoid anything toxic! When something is toxic, it usually has warning signs on it. It warns you of the dangers that may fall upon you. You need to exercise extra care to remain healthy. It would be great if gaslighters had signs on them so that you could be vigilant in preventing them from affecting you, as they too are dangerous to your health.
Their constant manipulations may cause many problems to you, both emotionally and physically. A victim’s life can feel as if it is in a downward spiral and there’s no way out.
Know the Three Major Types of Gaslighter
Gaslighters typically employ several types of gaslighting until they succeed in getting what they perceive to be a beneficial response from you. To enhance your awareness about them, learn to identify them here.
The Bully Intimidator
This gaslighter is the most obvious among the three types. They employ unpleasant behaviors, such as intimidation and violence. For instance, when you confront them about something, they can display a volatile temper and yell at you to subdue you due to fear or threaten you with physical, financial, or sexual abuse.
They will ask repetitive questions like an investigator interrogating a suspect so that you eventually give in. When you talk to them, you may feel like someone who is put on a witness stand and asked questions repeatedly, with an intent to confuse you.
The bully intimidator will also put you down using verbal abuse. If queried, they will portray this as being ‘just a joke’ and further mock or make fun of you to make you feel inferior. They criticize you openly and make you feel guilty, even though you haven’t done anything to be guilty for.
Sometimes, the bully intimidator invokes the silent treatment or withdraws from interactions to punish you. You may have no idea why they are not talking to you, but you will be made to feel as though it is all your fault. In truth, they don’t want to take responsibility for their own mistakes or actions and find it easier to shift the blame.
The victim usually stops talking about their own troubled state of mind to the gaslighter because they worry that there may be something wrong with them, or that it is their fault. They also don’t want to give the gaslighter any more ammunition to use against themselves and they don’t want to provoke the gaslighter any further for fear of more emotional or physical abuse.
It deeply impacts relationships negatively because the victim will rather stay away or keep silent for their own self-protection and well-being. They feel there are no productive interactions with the bully intimidator.
The Nice Guy
The nice guy gaslighter is a master at deceiving people because openly and publicly they are seen as being a good person and respectful of others. However, privately they are the type of person who is intent on getting their own way, they are always right, and they are almost exclusively focused on their own interests. They like to do things for others to show they are a nice guy.
They may do things for you even if you don’t want them to. You then feel indebted to them, which is their motive. By them doing something for you, you are now put in a position whereby you begin to feel as though you will be repaying this debt forever.
They are not overtly nasty, but if you contradict them or question them, they may respond calmly but with aggressive emotions. They may call you ungrateful and give other negative comments. You begin to feel just as they want you to feel.
They always get what they want and make it feel as if it is all for you. Even if it looks like they care for you, you still feel empty or dissatisfied, which makes you feel even more guilty for feeling this way.
You may begin to feel depressed and hopeless about your future involvement with this person because you don’t have any freedom for doing the things you want to do, or having the things that you may want. The nice guy works to get what they want and you should want it too… with no questions asked.
The Glamor Persona
This type of gaslighter lures their victims with love and romance. They are the most romantic person you have met, or will ever meet! They will shower you with affection and attention and no doubt fall head over heels in love. Once they have you involved in their life, their true colors will begin to show.
If you have concerns about your glamor gaslighter, such as by discovering something they are doing that you do not like, they will vehemently deny it. They will then flatter you with compliments and lavish you with gifts to cover up their unacceptable behavior.
You will doubt yourself for thinking so badly of them. After all, how could they be doing anything terrible, when they are so loving to you? These are diversionary tactics to turn your focus of attention to romance and stop you from being upset or annoyed about their behavior.
This gaslighter can also be two-faced, talking derisively about someone behind their back, yet they are kind to them personally and when together in public.
If you question this type of behavior, they will lie about the person further and make you believe that what they are saying is true, and you too may begin to either dislike the disparaged party or have negative thoughts about them.
They will use their charm to make you agree with their views, and eventually ignore their offensive behaviors.
Know the Signs of Being Gaslit
There are hundreds of ways people manipulate others. Some tactics include using a deep emotional connection to control another person’s behavior, or taking advantage of a person’s insecurities, lying, using fear, placing guilt on a person, or using the silent treatment. You begin to wonder what is real and what is not.
You may have experienced some or all of these behaviors. Many victims are unaware they are being manipulated for a long time.
Knowing how to deal with a gaslighter is necessary, otherwise your physical, mental, and emotional health may suffer. You will question your sanity and self-worth. It is important that you recognize when you are being gaslit and how to deal with the gaslighter.
When you know the signs, you can prevent them from going any further, and you can have the power to break the cycle. Some techniques a gaslighter uses are denying, discrediting, diverting, isolating, and trivializing.
Consider your feelings, not just their actions. If they make you feel good one minute and bad the next, such as criticizing you and and then praising you, it is a sign of gaslighting. It’s a cycle of abuse and love.
They will question your recall of an event (questioning your memory) and fabricate their own story. The manipulator will lie by pretending an event didn’t happen or that you remember it incorrectly.
They will also discredit you, by implying to others that your memory of events is inaccurate even if you remember the event perfectly. They will also make out that you easily get confused, or worse, that may indicate that you make things up.
The gaslighter pretends not to understand what you are saying and doesn’t want to listen to you. They will change the topic of conversation and if you question this problem or their behavior, they will deny it. They also trivialize your needs or feelings and imply you are overreacting and being irrational.
If you want to have a discussion, they will dismiss you, refuse to listen, and act as if they don’t understand why it is necessary. You will be made to feel as if you are never really heard at all.
They also like to isolate you from your family, friends, and any support network. In extreme cases you may even feel like a prisoner in your own home, as you are not allowed to go anywhere, and questioned relentlessly when you do.
How to Deal with a Gaslighter
The unknowing victims of any gaslighters may wonder where the problem lies. Is it with themselves or the gaslighter? Knowing the signs of gaslighting and what type of gaslighter you are dealing with is the first start to dealing with one. You will learn how they are trying to manipulate you, which will help you anticipate and prepare a better response.
There are effective ways to become more resilient and help you deal with a gaslighter. Here are just a few:
Keep a Journal or Diary of Events
Keep a record of what you do. Make sure you write down everything important, such as who you see, where you go, or who you spoke to on the phone. Write in your journal every day.
You will be able to look back and recall events when needed. You will personally know what really happened, not what you are being told happened from someone else’s perspective. You will know what is true and what is false. Even if they try to mislead you, you will be able to believe your own handwriting.
If the gaslighter keeps on telling you something different, you will not feel confused. You will be confident because you have evidence of the truth. Other ways to document your conversations or events are by recording them discreetly on your phone, taking screenshots of emails and texts, and writing the dates and times of your summarized conversations with relevant direct quotes.
You can also take photographs. A picture tells a thousand words. Having your own proof kept in a safe place will help restore your emotional well-being and peace of mind.
The main objective is not to make a case to use against them, although in some areas this might be useful. The goal is to be able to reassure yourself privately that you are valid and that your perceptions are based on fact. From here you can make a determination as to whether or not having a relationship with this person is in your best interest, or only theirs.
Stand Your Ground Where Possible
Ideally, you should hold on to the truth and stand your ground if your abuser is trying to make you doubt your memory or your perception of an event. Your record of events as discussed above will help you here. However, this is not always a viable option, particularly if any harm – physical or emotional, is a likely outcome.
Gaslighting aims to shake your confidence with insults and criticisms. Speak up calmly and politely saying you will not accept their remarks.
To resolve the issue, know your purpose and state the main points you want to convey. If you speak up for yourself you are applying your own personal boundaries.
If you set boundaries and stick to them you won’t be as easily misled or steered in the direction the abusive person wants to take you. The gaslighter will be compelled to leave you alone. A gaslighter’s methods only work while ever they can manipulate you.
Depending on the relationship, if your boundaries are respected the relationship can enter new ground and has an opportunity to continue on a more honest and equal partnership.
However, most gaslighters are also narcissists. This means that they will truly believe that they are not the problem, which is a huge problem in itself. They are not interested in an equal relationship but only in one where they are not always right, but are believed to be so.
Remain Calm to Avoid Arguments
If it’s not possible to distance yourself and your conversation is becoming a power struggle, as calmly as possible express your desire to take a break. You should remove yourself from a situation if possible to prevent escalation. Do what it takes to calm yourself first.
Remaining calm helps to prevent you from being hurt and criticized, and you can avoid further argument by walking away. If you don’t, you may find you are once again swayed by their manipulations and doubt your own thoughts.
Practicing self-care for your physical, emotional, and mental health is necessary to improve your mindset and well-being. You can spend time relaxing with family and friends, take time for daily affirmations or meditation, include positive self-talk as a daily habit, exercise and whatever else gives you peace and happiness.
Just remember to keep a journal, not only to record events but to help process your emotions too. Practicing self-care will help you become stronger and ready to face whatever the gaslighter may throw at you next.
Equip Yourself with a Support System
If the abuser’s goal is to isolate you and make you become emotionally dependent on them, you need to make sure you have outside emotional support, such as from your family and friends. This will help you keep you from despairing that you don’t have any options or alternatives. They will also help reassure you and let you know that you are not incorrect in your recall of events or behavior.
If it’s a workplace gaslighter, you must avoid being alone with the person as much as possible. If you have to meet in social situations, it’s advisable to bring along a trusted neutral companion who can listen to your conversation, so you can get a second opinion if ever it is required.
Gaslighting is psychological manipulation and abuse that will make you emotionally dependent on the gaslighter. Unwittingly, you can ultimately alter your behavior so that you can no longer function in what you would have considered being a normal manner.
They are experts in making their victim question their reality by presenting a false narrative that can be confusing and misleading. The reason behind their manipulations is to make you agree with whatever they want you to do or be and not question their motives or behavior.
Constant gaslighting will cause a person to develop low self-esteem and lack of self-trust because they begin to doubt their feelings, perceptions, memory, and reality. They will experience a range of negative emotions, such as confusion, anger, anxiety, depression, and frustration.
If you think you are a victim of gaslighting you need to protect yourself emotionally. Be aware that they want to isolate and confuse you. They want you to feel alone and that there is no one else to turn to but them. Gaslighters are typically the person closest to you, whom you are meant to trust, which is why it’s easy for them to use their manipulative tactics.
Know that you do have the power to break the gaslighting cycle with the above suggestions. If it becomes more serious, you should seek help. The most important thing is that you look after yourself and don’t let them gaslight you anymore.
If possible, remove the gaslighter from your life as they are not a positive influence at all. Trust yourself more and not them!