The term “gaslighting” has been circulating as a psychological term for a while. The attention that this term has received has helped people in identifying and naming specific dysfunctions that are occurring in their relationships, and it has empowered many to stand firm in their individual truths. Despite being aware of the phrase and comprehending what it means, many people still find it challenging to manage situations when they are the ones being gaslit. So let’s discuss how to avoid gaslighting and maintain your integrity:
1. Be able to spot gaslighting when it occurs
Typical gaslighting expressions:
“You’re making up stuff,”
“That never happened.”
“You’re being over the top.”
“You’re exaggerating the situation.”
When someone is gaslit on a regular basis, they begin to exhibit symptoms of poor self-esteem and emotional dependency on the abuser. You could feel a variety of feelings during a disagreement with someone who is gaslighting you, including confusion, anger, and frustration. You might also find yourself arguing aloud and in your head. This constant back and forth is draining and might undermine your confidence.
You can begin to end the loop once you can accurately identify gaslighting when it occurs in the present.
2. Remain firm in the truth
Gaslighting aims to cause the recipient to question their own reality. The person who is gaslighting you can be attempting to dodge responsibility while progressively creating emotional dependence within you. This leads to a great deal of internal confusion, which diminishes your confidence in your memories and self.
Hold strong to your truth and own your perspective! Don’t allow them to tell you how you feel. It sounds like saying “I know what I saw.”
3. Put things in writing
It can be beneficial to write things out as they happen to help you ground yourself in the truth. Write in a journal about your experiences, and make it a practice to read back over some of your entries daily. A journal is a fantastic tool for keeping track of events throughout time. This will increase your confidence in what you already know to be true.
4. Keep the discussion brief
When you start the conversation, be aware of your objectives. What do you hope to achieve? Resolve? What are the things you want to make clear? Someone who is gaslighting will lie openly, change the story, and downplay how you feel. Knowing your purpose before you start the conversation will prevent you from becoming sidetracked in any of the ways that a gaslighter might take you.
5. Be prepared to end the conversation
Additionally, the gaslighter may devise strategies like minimizing and deflection. Practice self-validation in these situations, and pay attention to when the conversation becomes unfair and repetitive. When you begin to notice that your reality is being dismissed, give yourself permission to exit the conversation.
To keep your perception of events, move away before the gaslighting becomes severe. Keep in mind that the gaslighter’s purpose is to make you doubt your reality.
6. Resist the urge to try and “outsmart” the gaslighter
Disengaging is the best course of action when facing a gaslighter. A gaslighting person will still find a way to deflect, minimize, or dismiss even if you come prepared with a ton of proof, including photos, videos, and more. It is essential to walk away with your unaltered reality.
7. Lean on your circle of supporters and tell the truth
If the person gaslighting you has narcissistic personality disorder, they may want to isolate you psychologically and make you emotionally dependent. We further absorb our truth when we communicate with our support system about our reality, what is happening, what we know, and what we have seen, witnessed, and experienced.
When someone is gaslighting you, it can be incredibly disorienting to talk to them. They make every effort to throw you off balance and shift the issue at hand so that you are now being blamed for “blowing things out of proportion, misunderstanding, being selfish..” when you are just sharing your feelings and making an effort to solve the problem.
It’s perfectly acceptable and often necessary to leave the conversation. You may find great help to stand in the truth by leaning on your support system and reading books and listening to podcasts on the issues you are facing with a gaslighter daily. Finally, learn to give yourself grace for what you are going through in the relationship and choose and get the help you need so you can live in reality and make healthy decisions for your future.
If you have found this to be helpful but need someone who can who cares and is specifically trained to help then there is hope. New Vision Counseling is here for you. We are a team of highly trained therapists who care and will meet you where you are and help you heal and move forward. We will be in your corner supporting and connecting you to the healing and freedom you long for. The next natural step can be to reach out by calling (405) 921-7776