What Is Gaslighting and How Do You Respond?

What Is Gaslighting, and How Do You Respond? You might be a victim of gaslighting if someone purposefully distorts reality to make you believe what you’re seeing or experiencing isn’t genuine. A love partner, an employer, a family member, a doctor, or anybody else in a position of authority can gaslight you. There are obvious measures you can take to cope with your abuser and obtain help if you’re being gaslighted.


What Is Gaslighting, and How Do You Respond?

What Is Gaslighting and How Does It Work?

Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique based on instilling self-doubt. Paige Sweet, Ph.D., an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan who studies gaslighting in relationships and the workplace, describes it as “trying to connect someone with the label “crazy.”


“It makes someone appear or feel unstable, illogical, and untrustworthy, as if what they’re seeing or feeling isn’t genuine, that they’re making it up, and that no one else would believe them.”


Gaslighting is characterised by a power imbalance between the abuser and the individual who is being gaslighted. Abusers frequently prey on preconceptions or weaknesses associated with gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status.


In a 2019 paper published in Inquiry, Andrew D. Spear, an associate professor of philosophy at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, writes, “The most distinctive feature of gaslighting is that it is not enough for the gaslighter simply to control his victim or have things go his way: it is essential to him that the victim herself actually come to agree with him.”


Gaslighting: How to Deal With It

Inform as many individuals as possible about what’s going on.

“Don’t simply mention to one person, ‘I believe I’m having this,’” Sweet advises. “Tell several individuals in your social network so that they may vouch for you and confirm your perception of reality.”


In their study, Rodrigues, Mendenhall, and Clancy wrote, “When friends and coworkers confirm your experiences of maltreatment are true, you’re better equipped to understand that the abuse is not related to personal faults.”


Maintain contact with family and friends.

It’s critical to maintain communication with friends and family members, even if you’re not explicitly discussing the gaslighting.


When you’re alone, you’re more likely to have self-doubt. 

Gaslighters are well aware of this and will frequently try to persuade you that only they have your best interests at heart. “’You’re insane,’ he said. No one cares about you. You’ve come to see me. One victim of gaslighting told Sweet, “You don’t have anyone else here.”


Keep a diary.

“If gaslighting has eroded your self-esteem and left you feeling confused and disoriented, maintaining a diary might help you reclaim some control,” said My CWA, a charity that assists families who have been victims of domestic violence.

“You may double-check your version of events to be sure everything happened the way you recall it.


What Effects Can Gaslighting Have on Your Mental Health?

Gaslighting is used to instil fear and doubt in a victim’s mind, which may be damaging to their mental health. If you’re being gaslighted, you could notice:


  • Anxiety\Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety condition that occurs
  • Hypervigilance is a term for an exaggerated dread of danger.
  • Suicidal ideation


Consider seeking help from a mental health counsellor or other therapists if you’ve been the victim of gaslighting and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. It can assist you in navigating the trauma both during and after a specific incident.


Read Also: What Should You Do If You’re Being Gaslighted?

Read Also: How to Recognize Gaslighting in Relationships?