Gaslighting is not just found in partners but families as well.
Read how you can choose to set boundaries or choose to cut off the relationship.
Do any of these sound familiar?
Invalidating your feelings (“You are so insensitive.” “You are overreacting.”)
Devaluing your worth (“You are stupid.” “You cannot possibly understand…”)
Denying the truth (“Are you sure this has happened? You don’t remember things clearly anyway.”)
Blaming you for their actions (“Don’t get upset over nonsensical things and I won’t get angry at you.”)
Once you identify the abusive behaviors, communicate directly with your partner about how their behavior affects you. If you don’t, you may end up reinforcing their negative behavior.
Here are a few ways you can effectively communicate your feelings to a gaslighter:
When a partner tries to convince you of a lie, you may say, “Alright, we have different memories of what happened; let’s not debate about it.”
When a partner tells you how you should or should not feel, you may say, “I understand how to feel but my feelings are my feelings. They cannot be wrong. Let’s please respect the way we feel.”
When your partner tried to pull you into a circular conversation, you may say, “I don’t know where this conversation is headed. Let’s take this up later when we both have a clearer mind.”
Since gaslighters often don’t know the extent of their malicious behaviors, communication may make them aware of their actions. Bringing in an unbiased third-party (e.g., a mental health professional) can also help you make your case. If the person truly values the relationship, they will do their best to make changes to steer the relationship in a positive direction.
Setting Boundaries and Letting Go
While mild gaslighting can be a thorn in the side of your relationship, repeated and aggressive gaslighting could jeopardize your safety.
Often, abusive partners will not give up the power they feel they have. You can start by taking the following steps:
Set limits around the usage of certain words and behaviors
Try to make them aware of the patterns of their toxic behavior
Direct them towards counseling and therapy
If your partner is unwilling to change despite your persistent efforts, re-evaluate your relationship’s worth and consider letting go. This is sometimes the only way to make space for healing and self-growth.
Photo credit to Unsplash
Manipulation is never okay. One of the best ways to sieve out manipulative behaviors is by routinely reflecting on the state of your relationship and by talking to a mental health expert who can offer an unbiased perspective on the situation.
Our thanks to Forbes for this invaluable article.