Do you ever feel like someone is trying to manipulate your thoughts or make you doubt yourself? If so, you may be experiencing gaslighting, which can really take a toll on your mental health. Here are some gaslighting symptoms you should be aware of:
- Making excuses for someone’s bad behavior to friends or family
- Constantly doubting yourself
- Taking the blame for how others treat you
- Convincing yourself that their behavior isn’t all that bad
- Feeling like you need to walk on eggshells around that person
- Thinking you are the one that is too sensitive
- Doubting your own thoughts, observations, and judgments
- You feel trapped and lonely
- You doubt your own sanity
- Feeling powerless to speak up about your beliefs or how you feel
- You constantly feel threatened and on edge
- Believing what the gaslighter tells you about yourself, even though it’s not true
- You find yourself apologizing all the time and feel like you can’t do anything right
Keep in mind that gaslighters often come with their own mental health challenges. Their behaviors could stem from past experiences or psychological conditions. For example, gaslighting is often a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or similar psychological mental health illness.
How to Know if You Are Being Gaslit
A study of 250 young adults revealed that gaslighters who abused their partners also displayed high levels of impulsivity, emotional detachment, anti-social behaviors, and risk-taking.
If you think you’re being gaslit, it’s important to act and protect yourself by removing yourself from the situation. The following strategies will help you stay strong against a gaslighter’s influence:
Talk to someone you trust about what’s going on: Don’t let the gaslighter isolate you from the people who care about you.
Pay attention to their actions: Gaslighting is achieved with action and not just words. A gaslighter will tell you what you want to hear so you stay committed to the relationship. However, watch them closely and their actions will believe their words and reveal the truth.
Don’t blame yourself for the abuse: You didn’t do anything to deserve it, and it’s not your responsibility to fix the other person’s behavior. The sole purpose of gaslighting is to control and manipulate you, and there is nothing you can do to trigger them into behaving this way.
Avoid arguing with a gaslighter: Gaslighting is not a rational behavior, so trying to reason with them will most likely trigger an argument you can never win with logic or reasoning. If gaslighters take an opportunity to insult or question your sanity during a conversation, remove yourself from the discussion.
Start trusting yourself again: It may take time, but you can learn to trust your own instincts and perceptions again. Remember that the gaslighter’s version of you is not the truth.
The influence of a gaslighter may be subtle at first but can cause long lasting harm if you allow it to continue. If you’re experiencing gaslighting from a partner or family member and aren’t sure about your options, visit this page to learn more about how counseling can help: Trauma Treatment