Stop Being Gaslit: What to Say - What to Do
Gaslighting is defined as a psychological manipulative tactic to get a person to doubt their reality. The gaslighter’s motive ultimately is to have control over the victim while the one being gaslit suffers from feelings of confusion, doubt, lowered self-confidence, anger, frustration, worry, sadness, loneliness and even depression.
Common phrases used by a gaslighter to subjugate his or her victim are not the subject of this article. The purpose of this article is to provide suggested responses that can be employed to counteract this psychological aggression.
It is important for the victim to realize that their feelings are real, important, and worthy of respect. From this position of strength, several responses are possible, ranging from agreement, (to avoid the gaslighting), to standing up for oneself, to leaving the room. Choose which option works best for you under your unique circumstances.
What can you say? What to Do?
1. Agree with the gaslighter.
It will be hard for the gaslighter to continue the argument.
2. Remain calm.
If it is safe and necessary to stay with the gaslighter, try to remain calm and firm and clearly state that your feelings are real, the situation is real, and you don’t wish to be gaslit. Be confident in your version of events. Debating them may only lead to more deflection, belittling, denial, and accusations. You may wish to say “I know what I saw. I know what I feel. It’s OK to see things differently.”
3. Create space.
Walk away from the situation. Don’t engage with someone trying to manipulate you. “I won’t continue this conversation if you continue to minimize what I’m feeling.” Leave the room, or, if not possible, stay and take deep breaths without responding. Don’t engage.
4. Capture evidence.
It may be helpful for you to capture evidence: for example, take photographs or keep a diary with exact quotes. Use these to reassure yourself of the facts so you can remain strong against this psychological manipulation.
5. Focus on Self-care.
Furthermore, you may wish to reach out to find supportive friends and/or professional help while focusing on self-care. Remember, you are important. You matter.
Choose the option that works best for you, your situation, and your personality. Trust yourself
Laura is a member of Na'amat Canada Vancouver.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are from the writer’s research and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Na’amat Canada.