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5 Ways to Deal With Gaslighting

Gaslighting can be an extremely distressing experience, but it doesn't have to be something that controls your life.

Gaslighting can sound like this:

  • You're upset over nothing.

  • Stop imagining things!

  • Just calm down.

  • You're too sensitive!

  • Why are you so defensive?

  • I never said that, you're making stuff up.

  • I was only joking, honestly.

  • You're always so ...

Here are the top five ways to handle gaslighting and regain control over your life.

1. Recognize the behavior: The first step to handling gaslighting is to recognize that it's happening. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser manipulates the victim to doubt their own reality. It's essential to identify the behavior so that you can respond appropriately.

Gaslighting in a relationship can look like this:

  • Your partner rages at you for asking honest questions

  • Your partner uses things or people you care about against you

  • Your partner constantly corrects what you say, and gives you their version of events

  • Your partner tells outrageous lies deliberately

  • Your partner mixes lies with positive reinforcement, leaving you confused and unsure of what to believe

  • Your partner's actions do not match their words

2. Trust your instincts: If something feels wrong, it probably is. Trust your gut instinct and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Keep a record of incidents, so you have evidence if you need it.

Being a victim of gaslighting can make you feel and behave like this:

  • You feel like everything you do is wrong

  • You apologize for everything

  • You don't feel like yourself anymore

  • You constantly question yourself

  • You feel like you are too sensitive

  • You feel unhappy for no reason

  • Most interactions with your partner leave you feeling small and ashamed

  • You edit every word in your head before you speak, changing any thought they could misconstrue

  • You hide your relationship from friends and family

  • You feel ashamed of your partner

3. Set boundaries: Boundaries are essential when dealing with gaslighting. Establish what is and isn't acceptable behavior and communicate that to the person gaslighting you. Be firm and assertive in your communication and don't back down. Consider using the "Grey Rock" method of dealing with the abuser.

Grey rocking is a term used to describe a technique that people use when dealing with an abuser or a narcissist. The technique involves making yourself as uninteresting and unresponsive as possible, much like a grey rock, to avoid being the target of the abuser's attacks.

When dealing with an abuser or a narcissist, it's essential to remember that they crave attention and drama. They thrive on the emotional response they get from their victims. The grey rock technique involves minimizing the attention and emotional reaction the abuser receives from you.

To use the grey rock technique, you need to adopt a neutral and unemotional demeanor when interacting with the abuser. You should avoid engaging in discussions or debates with the abuser that can lead to conflict. Instead, you should respond in a monotonous and disinterested tone, giving short and vague responses that don't give the abuser anything to latch onto.

For example, if the abuser starts an argument with you, respond with a simple "I see," "Okay," or "Sure." Don't engage in the argument or offer any emotional response that can escalate the situation.

The grey rock technique can be an effective way to avoid being the target of an abuser's attacks. By making yourself as uninteresting and unresponsive as possible, you can minimize the attention and emotional reaction the abuser receives from you, making it less likely for them to target you in the future. However, it's important to note that this technique should only be used as a short-term strategy, and seeking professional help is recommended for long-term solutions.

4. Seek support: Dealing with gaslighting alone can be challenging, so seek support from family, friends, a trauma-informed coach or a therapist. Having a support system can provide you with the strength and courage to tackle the situation.

5. Practice self-care: It's crucial to take care of yourself when dealing with gaslighting. Engage in activities that make you happy and boost your confidence. It could be something as simple as calling a friend, going for a walk, practicing yoga, journaling, meditating, or reading a book.

Dealing with gaslighting can be challenging, but by recognizing the behavior, trusting your instincts, setting boundaries, seeking support, and practicing self-care, you can regain control over your life. Remember that you are not alone and that there is always help available. Keep your head up, stay positive, and take back your power!

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