What Is Gaslighting? 7 Ways To Deal With It

What Is Gaslighting? 7 Ways To Deal With It

Gaslighting can be elusive to detect, especially since it often begins with subtle actions and can be mistaken for similar behaviors. However, true gaslighting unfolds as a repeated pattern of manipulation, with the gaslighter aiming to instill self-doubt and reliance on their affected reality.

Gaslighting serves as a psychological tactic to manipulate thoughts of uncertainty and question one's perception and recollection. The term originates from the 1938 British play "Gas Light," where a husband deliberately changes the home environment and denies doing so when his wife raises concerns about the changes. He just invalidates her reality, claiming that her memory is unreliable.

By enhancing our understanding of gaslighting, we empower ourselves to recognize and navigate this manipulative strategy.

1. Know how to recognize when gaslighting is happening

Know how to recognize when gaslighting is happening

Identifying the symptoms is crucial. Individuals persistently subjected to gaslighting demonstrate diminished self-esteem and emotional reliance on the abuser. They might be torn between a whirlwind of emotions, from confusion and anger to sheer frustration.

Gaslighting phrases such as "You're making things up," "That never happened," "You're being dramatic," and "You're blowing things out of proportion" are disturbingly common.

2. Take note of interactions

Take note of interactions

Gaslighting involves the manipulation of your thoughts, actions, and memories, making it crucial to question everything. Keep notes on conversations and interactions, empowering yourself with evidence to boost your confidence in your memory of specific conversations and events. Confronting the manipulator may feel daunting, but having evidence at your disposal can be a game-changer.

3. Stand firm in your truth

Stand firm in your truth

The person doing the gaslighting often wants to evade responsibility while gradually making you emotionally dependent on them. This causes tremendous psychological despair, destroying your self-esteem and memory. To counteract this, stand firm in your truth.

That means trusting yourself, your emotions, and what you know to be true. Own your perspective by asserting, "I know what I witnessed," or "Don't dictate my emotions; this is how I genuinely feel." By proclaiming your truth, you reclaim your power from the manipulator.

4. Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself

Experiencing gaslighting can have a significant impact on both your mental and physical well-being. For instance, research on gaslighting in professional medical settings stated that nurses subjected to gaslighting by their employers reported experiencing adverse health effects and symptoms.

To eradicate the stress caused by gaslighting, it is crucial to prioritize self-care activities such as engaging in hobbies, acquiring new knowledge, and socializing with friends. Even taking a leisurely walk to remove yourself from the situation can serve as an act of self-care.

5. Be willing to leave the conversation

Be willing to leave the conversation

Gaslighters may devise various tactics to manipulate others, including deflecting and minimizing. In such instances, practicing self-validation and being mindful of circular and unjust conversations is crucial.

Grant yourself the freedom to exit a certain place or people when you detect signs of denial or minimization of your reality. Bear in mind that gaslighters aim to create doubt in your perception. Therefore, leaving the situation before it escalates allows you to understand events clearly.

6. Don't worry about trying to "outsmart" the gaslighter

the gaslighter

To effectively counter a gaslighter, the key lies in disengagement. Despite presenting an overwhelming arsenal of evidence - be it videos, recordings, or more - a gaslighter will persist in deflection, minimization, or outright denial. Hence, preserving your perception by gracefully walking away is more valuable. Remember: self-preservation wins over futile effort.

7. Lean on your support network

Lean on your support network

Going through a veil of gaslighting can make it difficult to see the truth. However, establishing a support network comprising those who provide a grounded perspective on your capabilities can help combat self-doubt. Seeking guidance from a mental health professional can further assist in this pursuit.


The bottom line is that gaslighting isn't something you have to put up with. By identifying the signs, taking the necessary steps to work on them, and seeking help from friends and family, you can work for yourself again and regain control of your life.

Feel free to reach out for help if you think someone might be trying to manipulate or control you. It is vital to acknowledge that it's not your fault - and help is out there. With the right support and resources, you can find a way to stand up for yourself and reclaim your life.

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