Are you being abused by gaslighting tactics?
To explain gaslighting: it’s a form of manipulation in which someone makes you question your reality.
Do you feel unsure of yourself all the time? Do you apologise all the time? Do you feel like you can’t do anything right?
Those are all signs of gaslighting.
Abusive people, narcissists, dictators and cult leaders all use gaslighting tactics as a way to manipulate people into doing what they want.
It’s an intentional strategy. It’s done slowly. The abusers gradually brainwash their victims while their poor victims sit defenceless, unaware that they are being manipulated.
The term Gaslighting comes from the 1944 film Gaslight, in which a husband makes his wife think she’s going out of her mind by manipulating her. The film does a good job of explaining gaslighting and is actually a really good movie and definitely worth watching.
Gaslighting techniques are a powerful form of manipulation we need to watch out for.
As someone who has been the victim of gaslighting, I’ve made it part of my mission here on THE DAILY MEDITATION to help protect others from the same thing.
One of the best ways to stop gaslighting is by simply knowing what to watch out for.
Take a look at these signs of gaslighting.
Signs Of Gaslighting
Look for these signs of gaslighting at work and at home.
- You constantly question yourself
- You ask yourself if you’re too sensitive
- You are easily confused.
- Making decisions is impossible for you.
- You cannot stop apologising for everything.
- You think you can’t ever do anything right.
- You think you’re not good enough for other people
- You feel like every choice you make is the wrong choice.
- You think you don’t deserve to have other people in your life
- You are unhappy and don’t know why.
- You’re constantly coming up with excuses for your boyfriend / girlfriend (husband / wife)
- You’re not as confident as you used to be.
- You feel uncertain about everything you do.
Got these symptoms? If so, start by making use of these tips for self worth, which will go some way to reducing the damage that has been done.
If you, or someone you know, has been experiencing those symptoms, they could be the victim of gaslighting.
Let’s change that.
To beat an abuser, we need to understand the games they play.
So here are the 10 most common gaslighting tactics.
- Lying through their teeth
They keep lying. You know they are lying to you. But they keep on doing the same thing over and over. This is completely intentionally. They want you to know that they’ve told you a big lie because they want you to be uncertain. They’re destroying your faith and confidence to weaken you.
How to deal with it: Call them out and do not let them talk their way around it.
- They do the Donald Trump thing and say it’s all fake news
When you call out a person who gaslights they will deny it outright. It doesn’t matter how much proof you have, they will deny it anyway, like Donald Trump when he denied the allegations his female victims made.
They do this in order to make you wonder if you’re just straight-up mental. Because the second you think you’re mental, you will become dependant on them (especially if we’re talking about your boyfriend, girlfriend, or boss).
How to deal with it: Have faith in yourself. Stick to your guns. Tryst that you are right.
- They use your kids, your job, or your relationship as a bartering chip
People who gaslight know how important certain things are to you. Your boss knows how important your job is. Your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife knows how important your kids are to you, and vice-versa your daughter / son knows how important they are to you.
Gaslighters will use all these sacred things as a bartering chip. And they will attack them. Your boss might make you question whether you’re good enough for the job. Family members may make you question whether you deserve your family.
Sadly, this is one of the most painful gaslighting tactics. Because when they mess with your family or job you obviously feel rocked, and that’s where they want you to be.
How to deal with it: Confidence is key. You have to know you’re good enough for your job and your family. If we’re talking about gaslighting at work, be confident that your company needs you and that if they actually did fire you you would get another job at a better company.
It’s harder when it’s a family member gaslighting you. Your son / daughter / husband / wife have the most potential to hurt you. So what do you do?
Here’s the deal:
You will be terrified of losing your family. Obviously. I get that. Family is the most important thing in the world. But you have to trust that you will not lose them. Gaslighters bluff a lot. And even though it is scary as hell, sometimes the best thing is to call that bluff. Though I would strongly recommend talking to your other family members and friends before doing anything.
- They wear you out
One of the reasons why gaslighting tactics are so effective is because they are gradual.
When we deal with a smart manipulator, they know what they are doing. And they will employ their gasighting techniques gradually. A lie here, a comment there… problem is you let them all go because they don’t seem that bad at the time.
But then they add up.
And when you look back, you realise that all those little lies and comments add up to a big deal.
How to deal with it: Look back a few months. Have little lies and comments here and there added up to knock you down? If so it’s got to change. Don’t let them get away with little lies or little comments. Call them on it.
- All words, no action
Words are cheap. Actions aren’t. Simple.
Do their words not align with their actions?
It’s a classic gaslighting technique. They’re acting in a way that you would call them out for, but at the same time they’re saying all the right things, so they get away with it.
How to deal with it: Focus on their actions, not on their words.
- Just when you’re going to call them out, they compliment you
Here’s the deal:
Most manipulators are not stupid people. They know what they’re doing. And they also know how you’re reacting to it.
When you go to call them out, they will sense a change in your demeanour. And at that very moment, they will throw out a compliment.
That compliment is designed to make you think Huh? Maybe they’re okay after all
No. They’re not. They are still playing you.
How to deal with it: This gaslighting technique is common in boyfriends, girlfriends, and bosses. There are two ways to deal with it. First off, know that the compliment is probably false and is actually being used as subterfuge. Secondly, stick to your guns. If you were going to say something or do something before the compliment, go ahead and do it anyway.
- They play mind games to confuse you
Gaslighters know that the more confused you are the less likely it is that you’ll do anything against them.
They want you to question everything.
They want you rocked. Unconfident. Confused.
Because then you will be dependant on them.
How to deal with it: Have confidence in your thoughts and feelings. The more confidence you have in yourself, the harder it will be for them to confuse you.
- Hypocrisy much?
One of the most obvious signs that someone is using gaslighting tactics on you is this: they’re a hypocrite.
Maybe they chat to members of the opposite sex all the time, but when you do it they accuse you of cheating. Maybe they bully you for drinking too much while they’re downing tequila. They do this so that you focus on defending yourself. Because when you’re focused on you’re mistakes you’re not focused on theirs.
How to deal with it: Tell them you believe in equality, and that you will try to do (whatever the action they’re talking about is) as much / as little as they do. If they accuse you of drinking, say, “Okay. I’ll drink the same as you”.
- They force other people to take sides
Gaslighters want to get as many people as possible on their sides. Because people are both peer pressure and evidence.
Think about it. If one person tells you you drink too much, you’ll probably ignore them. If ten people tell you…? Different story, right?
How to deal with it: This is one of the most painful gaslighting tactics to deal with. The social pressure can have a serious effect. The trick is to know that those people have been manipulated too, and ignore them, even if they are of greater number.
- You CRAZY!
A manipulator’s favorite gaslighting tactic is to tell you you’re crazy. Because if you believe you are crazy, you will listen to them instead of listening to yourself.
How to deal with it: Have self confidence. Trust that you are right and that there is nothing wrong with you.
There are serious effects of gaslighting, long term and short term. In the short term a victim of gaslighting can be manipulated into acting in ways that are harmful to them. And in the long term, they can be dragged into an abusive relationship (at home or at work) that they then cannot get out of.
We’ve got to stop these manipulative gaslighting A-holes from getting away with it.
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