Gaslighting is when someone makes another person think that they are “crazy” or delusional. Tips for dealing with gaslighting include collecting proof, storing it somewhere safe, and confiding in trusted friends or family.
Gaslighting can occur in any type of relationship, including intimate relationships and parent-child relationships. It can also happen in other social interactions, such as those that take place in the workplace and in politics.
In this article, we will define gaslighting behaviors and explain how to deal with gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that causes someone to question their sanity and perceptions. The term comes from the 1938 play and subsequent movie Gas Light, in which an abusive husband tricks his wife into thinking that she is imagining things.
People use gaslighting to gain control over someone else. They are able to do this by:
- causing someone to distrust themselves
- making someone feel scared and vulnerable
- neutralizing someone’s ability to criticize their abusive behavior
Gaslighting is different than other forms of abuse because it relies on the abused person agreeing with the other person and truly believing that they are irrational or unstable. This belief makes them dependent on the abusive person.
A person who is gaslighting someone may frequently:
- accuse someone of lying or making things up
- refuse to listen to someone’s concerns
- accuse someone of being confusing or not making sense
- claim that someone’s memories are incorrect or imagined
- deny having said or done things
- pretend that someone’s concerns are trivial or that they are overreacting
A person might be a victim of gaslighting if they:
- constantly second-guess themselves
- often feel confused or “crazy”
- have difficulty making simple decisions
- blame themselves for being too sensitive
- feel as though they cannot do anything right
- frequently make excuses for the abusive person’s behavior
- withhold information or lie to friends and family to protect the abusive person
A person can deal with gaslighting by maintaining a sense of reality. They can do this by recording evidence to show that they are not imagining things. People can use the following methods:
- Keeping a journal: A person can use journaling to record gaslighting incidents. They should take care to store the journal in a safe place where the abusive person cannot find it.
- Recording voice memos: A person can quickly record what just happened somewhere private for future reference.
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