According to an article by Good Therapy and Psychology Today, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse aimed to make a person doubt their own thoughts and feelings, which can often be subtle at first. With gaslighting, an abuser executes various actions and behaviors that manipulate the victim into questioning everything they feel, believe, and think. Eventually over time, they may end up doubting their memory, perception, and even their sanity. If you’re a victim of gaslighting, then you are being denied what you have seen with your own eyes and you know to be true. Being denied an experience you have had and you know is real.
Here are just a few ways to deal with gaslighting. Note many of the tips are from a TED talk by Ariel Leve, an American author and journalist who dealt with gaslighting in her childhood as well as Alyssa “Lia” Mancao, a licensed clinical social worker and certified cognitive therapist.
1. Stand firm in your truth, remain defiant.
For the person who is doing the gaslighting, their goal may be to avoid accountability while causing you to have an emotional dependence on them. This creates immense internal confusion, chipping away at your ability to trust yourself. To combat this, stand firm in your truth. Believe in yourself, your feelings and what you know to be real and true. You own your perception, “I know what I saw” or “Don’t tell me how to feel.” Also, write things down to maintain a record of what is happening over time. It’s a way to make sense of the chaos by organizing it on the page.
2. Know that there will never be accountability.
Acknowledgement is simply not in the cards and asserting yourself can be harmful because the person gaslighting you will most likely not respond to logic or reason. If you think that you can apply logic and reason, you’re going to feel let down with this recognition.
3. Increase your support system and Speak about it.
When we reach out to our support system to share with them our experiences and reality, we are further integrating our truth into our head. The more we stay silent about our realities, the more likely the seeds of doubt will grow. Sometimes we need external validation from our support group to build our inner confidence, especially being victims of gaslit. Please ensure that you share your truths with safe and trustworthy people.