When you reflect on your relationship with someone and realize something isn’t right, it’s a crushing feeling.
Manipulation—even if it’s not obvious—can happen in any relationship. Whether it’s a working relationship with your boss or a romantic relationship with your spouse, if you find yourself being manipulated to the point that you question reality, you’re being gaslighted.
This form of mental or emotional abuse may cause you to even question if you’re being gaslighted at all, making it challenging to identify. Recognizing what’s happening is the first step toward combating this common manipulation tactic.
Signs you’re being gaslighted
Someone who is gaslighting you will aim to trivialize your feelings and make you doubt yourself. They may say things like:
- “You’re being dramatic.”
- “That never happened.”
- “You’re just being sensitive.”
- “Why can’t you let it go?”
A gaslighter may also deny your memory of events, blatantly lie to you, or even love bomb you in an attempt to control and confuse you.
Think about your own emotions surrounding the relationship. Consider if you often feel like situations are always your fault, that your emotions are trivial, or you’ve become emotionally numb. These are common feelings for victims of gaslighting.
How to deal with being gaslighted
If you are being gaslighted, you aren’t alone. Millions of men and women experience psychological aggression in intimate relationships in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You may be tempted to give a gaslighter the benefit of the doubt—after all, that’s what they want you to do—so remember that someone who is gaslighting you will repeat this toxic behavior. It’s not just one bad day.
If you start to recognize the behavior in a conversation or argument, you can say things to the gaslighter like:
- “Even if you disagree, my understanding of what happened is valid.”
- “Don’t tell me how to feel. This is how I feel.”
- “I won’t continue this conversation if you continue to invalidate my thoughts and feelings.”
- “I know what I experienced.”
However, in some scenarios, it may be more frustrating than healing to confront the person gaslighting you. Talk to a loved one or your therapist first about what’s the right path for you. It’s often best to cut ties with a manipulative person depending on the severity of their actions.
At Valley Oaks Health, we want you to live a life that’s full of healthy, supportive relationships. We have many counseling options that can help you combat being gaslighted. We also offer group therapy so you can be around people who can relate and empathize. Contact us today to get started on your healing journey.