Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation typically used by narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths. You’ve probably heard the term before, but might not be completely aware of how it works – or if anyone you know has been using it on you! Gaslighters basically manipulate how you see reality. They cause you to question your own abilities, memories, and even your sanity. When you’ve been gaslighted, you often feel like something is wrong with you, but you are not certain what or why. Here are some of the tactics gaslighters use to confuse and manipulate you!
Number 1 – They Lie To You
Gaslighters are habitual and pathological liars. They will tell bald-faced lies and then insist that they are telling the truth – despite all evidence to the contrary. You can’t convince them to admit to a lie. In fact, they will insist that any evidence you might offer, is itself a lie. They demonstrate such conviction in their lies, that they can cause you to second-guess objective truth. They will insist on “their truth” and can do so very persuasively. They are able to keep you feeling confused and off-balance. Even when they don’t fool you, you can be left with the impression that they are being perfectly sincere, albeit their position or perception is obviously wrong.
Number 2 – They Undermine Your Reputation
Gaslighters are able to identify people who will take their side, no matter what the issue may be. They then recruit these people to attack you by making up rumors that call your character – or even your sanity – into question. They may even state that they are concerned about you and suggest to others that your behavior is disturbing. This approach can be very effective. By initiating Movie Hustle and then dominating the narrative, the gaslighter will gain allies while keeping them in the dark as to what is really going on. They may even tell you that other people think there is something wrong with you – while others might not be saying any such things at all. But unfortunately, a gaslighter can be very convincing and this can devastate your relationships with people.
Number 3 – They Steer You Away From the Actual Topic
When you ask a gaslighter about something or try to nail them down for something they have said or done, don’t be surprised if they change the subject without addressing it. They will often either ask you a question to deflect you or accuse you of something. A gaslighter will typically react by claiming that they never said what you say they did. They will accuse you of remembering incorrectly or imagining things, or suggest that you got the idea from your “crazy” friends.
Number 4 – They Ridicule How You Think and Feel
A gaslighter may try to gain control over you by discounting your feelings and thoughts. They will accuse you of being overly sensitive or tell you that your thought processes are faulty. By trivializing YOU, they disarm any point of view you have or any argument you make. This can make you question yourself and the validity of your own views and feelings. You could then come to lose self-confidence and even self-respect, leaving you vulnerable to their thought control.
Number 5 – They Transfer Blame
Gaslighters love to transfer blame to others. If you sense that someone is constantly twisting a discussion so as to place blame on you, that person is very likely a natural gaslighter. These people don’t stop at facts! If you try to simply talk about how they are making you feel, a gaslighter will construe what you are saying so as to blame you for how you feel. They are so adept at this, that you can end up thinking that THEIR bad behavior is YOUR fault. They even tell you that they would treat you better if only you acted differently.
Number 6 – They Deny Doing Anything Wrong
Gaslighters NEVER do anything wrong, and they are never responsible for anything that goes wrong. If they make a bad decision or fail at something, they avoid taking responsibility for it. If their actions have caused you pain, they will not admit to it. Gaslighters do not apologize! This behavior further injures and frustrates victims, who are left wondering what they have done to earn such treatment. As a result, these victims are often unable to overcome their hurt feelings.
Number 7 – They Turn Compassion into A Weapon
When cornered, gaslighters will appeal to your compassion and understanding. But they use compassionate words merely as a form of attack. But it is really an accusation. It is not authentic, and you will feel somehow unsatisfied with it, although you might not realize why.
Number 8 – They Twist and Reframe Conversations
Gaslighters especially like to use this one during a discussion about a past event. For example, they may reframe a conversation where they claim that you gave them permission to spend your money. They know it didn’t happen, and you know it didn’t happen. But if you try to confront them about it, they will just further fabricate the story. They will explain how they asked when you were busy doing the dishes and you said that it was fine. As with their other tactics, gaslighters try to confuse you and make you question your own memories and perceptions.
Number 9 – They Turn What Is Important To You Against
You Gaslighters know what’s important to you, so it’s often the first thing they attack. For instance, you may be proud of a certain talent. A gaslighter will question your talent or its usefulness. They may tell you that it’s a total waste of time. They can destroy your sense of self-worth.
Number 10 – They Use Positive Reinforcement
To confuse you a gaslighter exercises control by putting you down and minimizing your value. Yet, every so often, they suddenly compliment you on something. This is a very sly tactic for gaining authority – leading you to think that if a person’s praise is valid, then their criticism must be valid as well! This also keeps you off-balance, as you may feel that you can no longer accuse them of always finding fault. One way to identify a gaslighter is by what they are praising. It is typically something that benefits them!
Number 11 – They Project Onto
You Projection is a defense mechanism. People use it to transfer the cause for their own bad conduct or character to others. If you accuse a gaslighter of lying, they will accuse you of the same thing. So now, instead of focusing on their behavior, you are forced to defend yourself.
Number 12 – They Wear You Down
Gaslighting is not a one-time thing. Gaslighters use their tactics over a long period of time. It may come in small doses at first, but if a gaslighter gets away with it, it will come more and more frequently. Even the most self-confident and intelligent people can get pulled down by gaslighting because they can’t identify the point where it becomes destructive.