How Gaslighting Works
When someone is gaslighting you, you may second-guess yourself, your memories, and your perceptions. After communicating with the person gaslighting you, you may be left feeling dazed and wondering if there is something wrong with you.
Gaslighting can confuse you and cause you to question your judgment and overall mental health. It may help to know more about the tactics a person who is gaslighting someone might use.
1. Lying to You
People who engage in gaslighting are habitual and pathological liars. They will blatantly lie and never back down or change their stories, even when you call them out or provide proof of their deception. They may say something like: “You’re making things up. That never happened.”
2. Discrediting You
Gaslighters spread rumors and gossip about you to others. They may pretend to be worried about you while subtly telling others that you seem emotionally unstable or “crazy.”
Unfortunately, this tactic can be extremely effective and many people side with the abuser or bully without knowing the full story.
Additionally, the gaslighter may lie to you and tell you that other people also think this about you. These people may never say a bad thing about you, but the gaslighter will make every attempt to get you to believe they do.
3. Distracting You
When you ask a gaslighter a question or call them out for something they did or said, they may change the subject by asking a question instead of responding to the issue at hand.
This not only throws off your train of thought but causes you to question the need to press a matter when they don’t feel the need to respond.
4. Minimizing Your Thoughts and Feelings
Trivializing your emotions allows the gaslighter to gain power over you. They might make statements like: “Calm down,” “You’re overreacting,” or “Why are you so sensitive?”
All of these statements minimize how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking and communicate that you’re wrong.
5. Shifting Blame
Blame-shifting is another common gaslighting tactic. Every discussion you have is somehow twisted to where you are to blame for something that occurred.
Even when you try to discuss how the abuser’s behavior makes you feel, they’re able to twist the conversation so that you end up believing that you are the cause of their bad behavior.
They claim that if only you behaved differently, they would not treat you the way that they do.