I’ve shared a little bit about my experience with narcissism and gaslighting on my social media accounts, but I’ve never dove deep into the conversation and I’m feeling froggy.
I am not a professional but I have definitely dealt with my fair share of being on the receiving end of this tactic.
During my husband’s worst seasons, gaslighting was his go to.
Gaslighting is a covert aggressive way of distorting another person’s perception of reality to the point that that person questions their sanity or their memory.
Gaslighting is crazy-making, it makes you think that you’re actually going crazy.
It can really mess with someone’s mind and mental health if they aren’t aware of what is happening.
One thing you should know upfront is that gaslighters are compulsive liars, and this is basically just lying with a goal.
Why use gaslighting?
They use this tactic as a way to get out of those lies and to make you feel as if you are mistaken or wrong in the situation.
They will use gaslighting to gain power and control over others.
They will use gaslighting to convince you that they’re right and your perception of what happened is wrong.
They will use gaslighting to dismiss your feelings, your needs, your perceptions of reality.
They will use gaslighting to minimize or to erase the abuse that took place.
They will use gaslighting to play the victim.
They will use gaslighting to evade responsibility.
They will use gaslighting to fabricate conversations or events that never happened.
They will use gaslighting to reneg on an agreement or a promise that they previously made.
They will use gaslighting to make you feel like you’re crazy or something is really wrong with you.
Gaslighters will say things like “I didn’t say that, that didn’t happen, it’s not a big deal, or you said…” and then they’ll fill that in with something that you never said.
They’ll tell you you’re crazy or you’re paranoid when you start to question things.
They’ll tell you you’re unhinged when you start to emotionally react to the abuse.
They’ll tell you you’re mentally unstable, that you’re overreacting or you’re hypersensitive for expressing your opinion or thoughts on a situation.
In most instances, you can have physical proof of things being exactly what they seem, and you’ll still be convinced otherwise.
You’ll start to feel like you are in the wrong.
You’ll question yourself and your sanity.
You’ll feel guilt for ever questioning or having an opinion.
You’ll eventually start to keep quiet and let the lies continue because it isn’t worth the argument.
But this is no way to live.
You can overcome the cycle of abuse by speaking up for yourself.
Toxic people create chaos, point fingers, shift blame, and avoid taking responsibility.
This is not something that you can fix and there has to be a point where you say enough is enough.
Recognizing the signs and speaking the truth will literally change you.
I have some tips for you to deal with gaslighting. Again I’m not a professional but this is just in my experience.
1. Notice the inconsistencies between what a person says and what they do or what they say one day and what they say another day. Use your ability to feel, to sense if something feels off or not quite right. Validate your intuition first before comparing versions of reality with someone else. Go get a reality check from someone outside the situation.
2. When you’re really certain what happened, own your reality. Speak up with conviction about your perception of reality and notice the other person’s response.
3. Don’t try to rationalize with the person once you realize they’re gaslighting you. You can’t rationalize with a person like that.
4. Don’t try to get a gaslighter to take responsibility for what they’re doing. The whole reason they’re doing it is to avoid responsibility. Trying to do this will just cause you more mental stress and isn’t worth it.
5. Opt out of any unnecessary interactions with gaslighters and when possible cut them out of your life entirely because they are putting your sanity at risk with no apologies. (this seems a bit harsh, but you are the priority. Your mental health is always number 1.)
6. Reprogram your mind and the way you speak to yourself to remind yourself what reality is, when those doubts start to creep in, when you start to doubt yourself or you hear the voice of the gaslighter in your head trying to confuse you.
I’ve never been the type of person to “give up” on someone, or cut someone out. But sometimes there are situations that are out of our control and we realize they aren’t healthy for us.
Don’t blame yourself or feel like you’ve done anything wrong in seeing the reality of a situation and speaking that truth.
Don’t let that abuser take over your thoughts telling you “you’re wrong”, “you’re a bad person”, “you’re irrational”.
Don’t let them act as if nothing has happened and crazy-make your mind.
I read this quote somewhere and it rang so true with me… “the erasure of the abuse was worse than the abuse.”
This is absolutely the truth. Seeing the issues, inconsistencies, avoidance, blatant lies, or even ignorance to the cause of the problem, knowing they are there, and being told it’s all in your head is the most hurtful part of the whole process.
But you can overcome it.
When narcissists unmask themselves to the wrong people, they’re in trouble.
No amount of hovering, mind games or manipulation can
draw back a survivor who’s had enough, who has seen enough, and knows enough is enough. The awakened survivor is a narcissist’s worst nightmare.