Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. When someone is making you doubt your sanity and question your reality, it can feel like you have stepped right into a psychological thriller. You no longer know what to think and whom to trust.
Therefore, figuring out how to deal with gaslighting can be difficult as you are put in a position where you don’t trust yourself. To tackle such a challenge, building your emotional and mental resilience is essential. It’s also important to learn effective tools for dealing with the gaslighter on a daily basis.
This article will show you how to address insecurities that made you susceptible to gaslighting. It will also give you hands-on tools to help fight the gaslighter and break free.
We will explore:
- What gaslighting is
- How to recognize gaslighting
- How to deal with gaslighting and regain your autonomy
What Is Gaslighting?
Before you learn how to deal with gaslighting, it’s important to understand the nuts and bolts of what it is and why it happens.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the abuser reframes the victim’s perspective and experience, making them doubt themselves.
Gaslighters can exaggerate, lie, skew reality, pressure, and blame. They make it seem as if the victim is unable to see the real facts. Furthermore, a gaslighter does not shy away from claiming that the victim cannot even see their own reactions clearly. They will bluntly label you jealous, envious, rude, selfish, paranoid—without caring to ask where you are coming from.
The gaslighter gains control over the victim by making them feel insecure and confused. The abuser can use anything the victim feels, thinks, and notices. Overall, gaslighting is a severe psychologically abusive behavior.
If you are being gaslighted, it can feel as if someone has come in and “revealed” that your entire world is an illusion. Suddenly, you don’t know what to think or feel. You don’t trust yourself anymore. You start doubting anything and everything—the very pillars of who you are, as well as your daily experiences.
Finally, you begin to doubt your ability to think. At that point, the gaslighter fastens down their control over you.
If this is what’s happening to you, don’t get discouraged. There’s a way out. You’ve got Marisa Peer, a world-renowned therapist and expert, on your side. She has developed tools and techniques that will help you learn how to deal with gaslighting. With Marisa Peer’s help, you will become the master of your life. As she puts it:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we have been waiting for, we are the change that we seek.”―Marisa Peer
Why does the abuser do it?
Gaslighting is often a weapon of choice for people with a narcissistic or sociopathic personality disorder. Research revealed that such individuals use a myriad of gaslighting tactics to control their victims. Gaslighting is one of them.
The whole point is to be in control. A narcissist is inherently insecure. To avoid failures, disappointments, and emotional pain, they build an impressive toolbox of ways to assert dominance over their victim. By attacking others and asserting control over them, a narcissist masks their own vulnerability and imperfection.
For example, the gaslighter might be saying how stupid, unworthy, or undesirable you are. They frame their relationship as if they were the smartest, most picture-perfect person and you should be grateful that they are even giving you any attention.
In reality, however, they are afraid that you will see through their “picture-perfect” disguise. That is why they go into aggressive offense. They must ensure that you never trust your instincts about who they really are.
Why does a victim of gaslighting not leave?
In any situation of abuse, there are always two sides to a story.
If you feel like a victim of gaslighting, you might feel confused and stuck, and not know how to deal with the situation.
However, if you never leave and keep putting up with the abuse, it is possible that you have a victim mentality and you are hard-wired to endure abuse.
Studies show that the self-victimization tendency often develops in childhood. At some point in childhood, the idea of love and hurt got associated together in your subconsciousness.
Your parents might have been abusive, so you learned to be helpless. At the same time, you profoundly fear rejection. When these factors combine, you will need the other person but will also be open to tolerating abuse.
Alternatively, you might have received care and affection from your parents only when you were hurt or sick. The message you received was that the only way you can receive love is when you are a victim.
How To Recognize Gaslighting
The first step in understanding how to deal with gaslighting is learning to notice it right away.
Here are some typical phrases a gaslighter might say, as well as some thoughts and feelings you might have when exposed to gaslighting.
Typical gaslighting phrases
Below is a list of phrases that you might hear a gaslighter often say to make you question your sanity:
- “You know you’re acting crazy, don’t you?”
- “What do you mean I’m being mean?! You’re the one who’s not even considering how I feel in this situation!”
- “What are you, dumb or something? How could you not see that …”
- “That’s not what happened.”
- “Everyone knows you don’t know anything about …”
- “You’re being paranoid/so sensitive/jealous/hysterical!”
- “You just love pushing my buttons, don’t you?”
- “You know you don’t usually remember things clearly.”
- “Come on, you know I was joking.”
- “You’re overreacting/imagining things/projecting.”
Typical reactions to gaslighting
Being a victim of gaslighting is one of the most stressful experiences you might go through. Your entire reality crumbles as you are being aggressively convinced that you do not (and cannot) see a clear picture.
You start to question your own judgments, thoughts, and beliefs.
The gaslighter might gradually work towards eliminating all of the good-hearted people who would support you.
By using the gaslighting techniques, they will make you start doubting your friends and family, as well as your aspirations and goals.
In the context of romance, you might end up trauma-bonded to your abuser as a result.
Common reactions to gaslighting include:
- Thinking, “Am I too sensitive?” or, “Is it me? Am I really this unable to see things objectively?”
- Constantly apologizing
- Lying in order to avoid conflicts
- Feeling confused and unable to think clearly
- Having a hard time making decisions
- Feeling physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion
- Starting to believe that you are a terrible person and are selfish, unintelligent, unworthy, etc.
- Starting to doubt your abilities, friendships, principles, and beliefs
How To Deal With Gaslighting
To learn how to deal with gaslighting, you need to develop unconditional respect and love for yourself. Luckily, Marisa Peer has created an amazing set of techniques that will help you get there. These tools will help you stop being the victim of a gaslighter.
Talk to a therapist
As with any other form of abuse, you need bulletproof support to break free.
Because in most cases, being tied to an abuser is an experience that is largely caused by your subconscious beliefs. Our subconscious programming guides our decisions, even when we believe that we are thinking things through consciously.
Unfortunately, your subconscious mind is filled with expectations that made you prone to being maltreated.
Your subconsciousness may be guided by the idea that you are unworthy and deserve to be mistreated. Therefore, you subconsciously picked people to come into your life who confirm those beliefs.
These subconscious expectations about how life is going to treat you are notoriously difficult to tackle on our own.
Fortunately, you can rely on an experienced RTT® specialist therapist to help you grab hold of your subconsciousness. They will help you shed light on the hidden beliefs that hold you back and make you put up with abuse.
The UK’s #1 celebrity therapist, Marisa Peer, has condensed her 30 years of experience of helping people all over the globe into Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®).
A trained RTT® therapist can help reprogram your mind to learn how to deal with gaslighting. They will help you understand and control your emotional reactions better. Once you tap into your inner strength, you will also learn the practical tools you can use to end the abuse once and for all.
The RTT® therapist will also be there for you as you transform your experience of the trauma of being abused and gaslighted.
Build invincible self-esteem
Over the years working as a therapist, Marisa Peer discovered that the root cause of most people’s issues is the belief that they are not enough. This constantly present feeling erodes your confidence and serves as a weakness that can be exploited by a gaslighter.
Marisa has helped thousands of people to overcome this limiting belief of “not feeling enough” and rediscover the confidence they were born with. She packaged the insights gained over the years in a free ‘I Am Enough’ masterclass.
You will learn how to train your mind to have an unshakable belief about your worth. When you use the practices explained in the masterclass consistently, you will experience true self-acceptance, become confident in who you are, and learn to trust yourself fully. The gaslighter will no longer be able to shake your confidence and manipulate you.
Reach out to friends and family
One of any abuser’s greatest concerns is that the victim will have others to support them—and help them see through the gaslighting.
They tend to isolate their victims, especially in romantic relationships. That’s because if you have other people who support you in your life, it is less likely that you will succumb to the gaslighter’s manipulation.
Additionally, when you are surrounded by more points of view, the gaslighter’s perspective will be less influential.
Therefore, in your personal life, surround yourself with people who give you a sense of reassurance on who you are and what you stand for.
When you are trying to figure out how to deal with gaslighting at work, for example, try to reach out to co-workers and managers who would back you up when you feel like you’re being manipulated.
Address your limiting beliefs
Your mind has the power to create any reality.
As Marisa Peer put it, “First you make your beliefs, and then your beliefs make you.”
What does this mean? Our beliefs present a blueprint for how our lives are going to evolve. If you accept beliefs that limit you, you are facing the prospect of many adversities. Luckily, the opposite is true as well.
If you accept the gaslighter’s messages about your lack of worth, they will become your reality. You will seek and create confirmation for such a belief. And the gaslighter will gladly provide you with many examples that “show” how unintelligent, unattractive, lousy, and so on you are.
On the other hand, if you focus on developing calmness, self-love, and confidence, you will live a life filled with positive experiences.
To unleash the full potential of your mind to create the reality you want for yourself, you need to set it free from limiting beliefs.
Gaslighters tend to make our limiting beliefs stronger. To break free, you need to unlearn the old ways of thinking. This may not come easy, especially if you were exposed to gaslighting for a long time. The gaslighter likely created a toxic pattern for you to think and feel within.
One way to discard the limiting beliefs faster is through meditation and mindfulness practices. These centuries-old techniques will help you detach from the messages the gaslighter implanted in your mind and see the situation from a more objective perspective.
Meditation helps us create a healthy distance from our immediate reactions and feelings. When you step back with the help of meditation, you will have a much easier time seeing through the gaslighter’s manipulation. They will no longer control you using your instant emotional response or your insecurities.
What do you say to a gaslighter?
How to deal with gaslighting on a daily basis? Here are a few sentences you could adapt and use the next time gaslighter is convincing you that you are irrational:
- “Don’t label my reactions. I am the one who will determine how I feel/think/perceive the situation.”
- “What I feel/think/believe is valid. We will not continue this conversation if I am not being treated as equal.”
- “I know what I saw/did/felt. Can you continue the conversation with respect to my perspective?”
- “I did not give you permission to insult me/interpret my experience for me. If you continue doing that, we cannot have a mature conversation.”
- “I don’t need anyone to tell me who I am/how I feel. I need you to respect that or we cannot continue this conversation.”
Regain Your Autonomy
If you are exposed to gaslighting for long enough, you become unable to think clearly or make your own decisions. However, you don’t need to allow this to continue any longer.
So, if you want to know how to deal with gaslighting quickly and efficiently, contact an RTT® specialist therapist today and get Marisa’s top experts on your side. Break free, rebuild your life confidently, and never be swayed to doubt yourself again.