Signs You Are Being Gaslighted and What to Do
Gaslighting is when you question your reality as if the truth is just your twisted perception of things. What is factual suddenly becomes untrue, simply because the gaslighter who you admire/love/adore just says it to be. They can’t go wrong, at least you believe. So, what are the signs you are being gaslighted, and what can you actually do?
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1. You see yourself apologizing incessantly.
One of the most important signs you are being gaslighted is to look at how you are turning out to be during the course of the relationship (romantic or not).
There is an issue at hand but you feel it’s your fault that it happened. Do you hear yourself saying, “Oh, he might have not acted that way had I not ___.” You always have yourself to blame.
No matter how good you perceive your actions to be, they will let you know how you’ve triggered them. Sometimes they will tell you to change that quirk.
What makes it one of the clearest signs you are being gaslighted is when there seems to be a switch inside of you whispering, “Oh, they are right”. That means, it seems like there is some truth to what they assert against you. Then you’d apologize.
But when you choose to do otherwise and call their bullshit out, you feel that you’ve done the biggest mistake of your life. You will feel foolish and then regret speaking your mind out.
You will feel guilty.
But once you gain momentum in standing your ground, they turn aggressive, if not violent. And then you notice they hurl insults at you. Next thing you know they spit out disgusting words you’ve never heard from them before. Again, you’d apologize.
2. You are walking on eggshells.
Just so you wouldn’t find yourself in a situation where you’d apologize, you will do all shortcuts to please them.
You always have their welfare first in mind in everything you do. You feel that it’s your duty not to make them feel upset. So you will see yourself thinking two steps forward and being conscious about NOT doing something that may trigger their “anxiety”. There’s just this nagging feeling that you have to do right all the time–for them.
3. You feel like your truth doesn’t matter.
Your gaslighter often responds with, “It doesn’t matter.” At least this is something they would “innocently” make you feel. That means, no matter how major your concern is, they would always say it’s no big deal.
If your gaslighter is your romantic partner, they will tell you that you are just blowing everything out of proportion. Your concern is always of a lesser degree compared to their own. Always.
When an issue has been talked about and you feel embarrassed for expressing another issue that just came up because they’re so good not taking accountability.
4. You feel crazy, but your friends think otherwise
When you simply state a truth like “I don’t feel good about ___,” your gaslighter will respond confidently (if not condescendingly) that you are crazy, stupid, or making things up.
You will know that they are gaslighting you when just one friend tells you they have doubts about this person. Sometimes your friend will just mention it in passing.
Notice when a friend tells you something they observe about the gaslighter–how do you respond? If you catch yourself defending or making excuses for the gaslighter, then you are absolutely in the gaslighting zone.
No, it doesn’t take all of your friends to say it straight to your face–just one friend is enough. Listen to that person. Your intuition may have whispered this to you some time ago.
5. You sometimes think that you are actually the manipulator
They are always the victim, and you feel upset about upsetting them. It is always your fault.
Perhaps you don’t know them well enough that you have no idea what they’re capable of. Your judgment of them is how they project themselves to be, and not how you see them.
You just know that they are charming and they have your best interests at heart. And so they have already conditioned you that nope, they cannot commit a mistake.
When you point out something that doesn’t sit well with you, they are very quick to turn the tables on you. They would make it a point to remind you that they are this kind of person, and what you are “accusing” them of is truly impossible for them to do.
Once you stand your ground, they have a ready-made accusation against you. And most of the time this will cut right through your insecurity or deepest secret.
When you are firm, they will apologize. But not without conditions.
Now that you can spot those signs you are being gaslighted, let’s move on to your action steps. Practice it. It doesn’t happen overnight, but know that practice always makes progress!
What You Can Do After Confirming the Signs You Are Being Gaslighted
1. Set boundaries.
Don’t read too much about the words that come out of their mouth. And release the meaning you attach to those words.
The more you allow their words to get through you, the more you will get trapped in the vortex of guilt. As a result, you steer away from your own authentic truth.
2. You don’t have to respond to them.
You will just allow them to assert their power over you when you counter-argue or defend yourself. A balanced and healthy relationship equates to having no power struggle of any kind.
Gaslighters are in the business of getting a reaction from you or reasserting their power over you. This power doesn’t have to be a violent or strong assertion of dominance. Most of the time, it’s plain charm and sweet words.
3. Stick to your guns
We have various versions of truths. The only thing that’s important is how you live up to yours.
If you are not sure whether your truth is the truth that you should stand by, ask yourself if: is my truth for the highest good of all, or is this something that only serves me? Sometimes the truth is something we do not want to accept.
You will know it’s for your highest good and that it deserves the fight if something is at stake for you. For example, walking away or breaking up with your gaslighter–you will feel the hesitation to do it because you have invested much and you fear starting from scratch. The relationship is at stake, and losing it is something you don’t want to accept.
4. Have a clear version of who you are.
As Robin Stern puts it in Gaslight Effect, gaslighting works only when you believe what the gaslighter says and need him to think well of you. So the stronger you believe them, the stronger that they could gaslight you.
You can actually refuse to surrender that power simply by getting to know yourself better.
When you are fully and strongly aware of who you are as an individual, then no one can create another version of this truth. Consequently, you will no longer need some form of validation.
Gaslighters work so well when they have someone who put them on a pedestal. Putting yourself first will automatically remove them from your personal priority list!
If you are struggling with working on your insecurities, accept them. Acknowledge them. Knowing your insecurities will allow you to eventually embrace them. As a result, no one can ever use it against you–that’s what gaslighters do.
Seek professional help. Your anxiety or depression is not yours alone to carry. Indeed, your soul tribe can support you more than you give them credit for.
Signs You Are Being Gaslighted: Final Thoughts
You will barely notice you are in the gaslighting zone, and gaslighters rarely identify themselves as one. Gaslighters are so good at confidently believing their own reality and shoving it down your throat, to a point that you are starting to believe their version of the truth. Moreover, they always hit the right spot when it comes to your insecurities.
No matter what a gaslighter says, shine your light anyway.
Do you have any gaslighting experience? How was it and how were you able to get out of it? Would love to hear your experience–please share it in the comments section below!