You are not alone if you are unfamiliar with the phrase “gaslighting” or are unsure of what it is. Calling out gaslighting when it occurs can be difficult, especially because it is not always clear when it occurs. In this blog, we’ll look upon gaslighting signs and examples.
Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse and mental manipulation that will make you doubt your own reality and wonder whether you’re in the wrong in practically every fight. Furthermore, gaslighting does not just occur with romantic partners.
Perhaps you are being duped by someone close to you. Gaslighting can occur in romantic relationships, families, friendships, and even businesses, and it is frequently a sign of an abusive relationship. So be aware of the warning signs of gaslighting.
In this essay, we will explain gaslighting indications and provide instances so you can recognize them if it happens to you. We’ll also talk about gaslighting behavior and subtle signs of gaslighting. We’ll go over:
- The meaning of gaslighting
- The origin of gaslighting
- Common gaslighting signs and examples
- Relationship signs of gaslighting
- Friendship gaslighting
- Workplace examples of gaslighting
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is the purposeful twisting, modifying, or distorting of reality in order to control how others think or feel. Gaslighters deceive individuals in order to make them doubt their own truth. As a result, victims of gaslighting frequently feel befuddled, insecure, lonely, and fearful of trusting themselves.
Gaslighting is a common method used in emotional and narcissistic abuse. It frequently follows a predictable pattern: one person will constantly gaslight another, and it becomes an essential element of an unbalanced dynamic.
Why Is It Called Gaslighting?
The phrase “gaslighting” derives from Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play “Angel Street,” which was subsequently adapted into Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Gas Light.”
A manipulative spouse in the thriller film tries to make his wife believe she is losing her mind by making tiny alterations in her environment, such as gradually and steadily decreasing the flame on a gas light. He not only disrupts her surroundings and convinces her that she is nuts, but he also abuses and dominates her, isolating her from family and friends.
As a result, the woman begins to doubt herself, her feelings, her senses, and her recollections. She also feels neurotic, hypersensitive, and out-of-control, which is the purpose of gaslighting: to make the target feel off-kilter and unsure of what is true and what isn’t.
Because this film accurately depicted manipulative people’s controlling and destructive behaviors, psychologists and counsellors began to term this form of emotionally abusive conduct “gaslighting.”
Gaslighting Signs And Examples
In order to keep influence over their victim, an abuser may employ a variety of gaslighting strategies. They are all designed to make the person being gaslighted question their own reality. These are some of the most typical signs and examples of gaslighting in relationships, parenting, friendship, and employment.
Gaslighting may take various forms. With the help of the following kinds, you may see or detect examples of gaslighting someone. It can occur in both abusive and nonabusive relationships. You may see gaslighting in the following situations:
Signs Of Gaslighting Yourself
It’s nearly hard not to gaslight oneself after being subjected to continual gaslighting. This is referred to as self-gaslighting.
Internalized gaslighting can lead to self-gaslighting, in which you continuously doubt or question yourself and your experiences, memories, beliefs, and decisions. Negative self-talk, self-blame, or internalized negative views can all be interpreted as negative self-talk. Some signs of Self-Gaslighting
- It wasn’t all awful.
- I’m not up to the task.
- Something is wrong with me.
- I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I were stronger.
- That was not their intention.
- It’s not worth it for me.
Signs Of Gaslighting Parents
- They reject their children’s encounters.
- They distort facts to suit their own ends.
- They are convinced that they are always correct.
- They are never sorry.
- Parents believe that they know what is best for their children.
- They feel their children know them better than they know themselves.
- They continue to reject their children’s emotions.
Examples Of Gaslighting Parents
Labeling the Child’s Feelings
You’re not really hungry. Also, you’re not unhappy at all. You’re exhausted. Even if a parent has good intentions, telling a child how they feel in a specific scenario might overlook how they truly feel in that moment. Because they don’t feel anybody would listen or care, these kids may grow up repressing their own emotions.
Parents that are gaslighting will openly lie about specific scenarios. They may, for example, assert that they never said something or that the child is making things up. They may seem to be oblivious to what the kid is saying. This might drive children to doubt themselves and feel insecure all the time.
Questioning the Child’s Memory
You have no recollection of what occurred. Do you honestly think I made this up? Even if a parent’s subjective experience differs from that of a kid, a gaslighting parent will insist that only their version of the tale is correct. As a result, youngsters frequently believe that their experiences are invalid.
Ignoring the Child’s Needs
It’s completely fine for parents to refuse specific requests, but gaslighting parents are frequently nasty and vengeful in their responses. They could say things like, “You’re so spoilt,” or “Why do you always ask me for things?” This makes the kid feel burdened and may aggravate anxiety and despair.
Here are some examples of gaslighting phrases used by abusive parents:
- Don’t be a fool. That never occurred.
- That is not correct. You must be perplexed once more.
- You’re doing it again, making something up.
Signs Of Gaslighting In A Relationship
In a relationship, there are signs of gaslighting.
- They are unconcerned about how you feel. “I was simply kidding,” or “You’re making this about you,” says that your sentiments are inappropriate.
- They downplay your emotions by calling you silly or “crazy,” or insinuating you don’t know what you’re talking about.
- They make you believe that your perspective is always incorrect by replacing your memories of events with false claims or thoughts.
- They keep interrupting you. “They’re dismissing your feelings by not allowing you to finish.”
Examples of Gaslighting in a Relationship
Gaslighting partners distorts reality to preserve control and authority in their relationships, which is common in narcissistic, abusive, and toxic relationships. Here are some examples of gaslighting in a marriage or relationship:
Distracting with compassion
Gaslighting partners may frequently sugarcoat harmful situations with nice platitudes in order to divert their partners from their sentiments. Unfortunately, this frequently leads to their partners believing they are overreacting or being overly harsh.
Feelings are minimized or mocked
Abusers will accuse their victims of being too sensitive, judgmental, or theatrical. They are also frequently upset or mocked when they weep or exhibit other emotional outbursts. As a result, the emotionally influenced spouse frequently feels humiliated and may attempt to suppress their feelings entirely.
Gaslighting partners may feel threatened and envious of their partner’s achievement. As a result, they frequently criticize or doubt various accomplishments. For example, they may use backhanded compliments and words such as, “It’s fantastic you earned a promotion, but it’s a shame you’re still so underpaid in your profession!”
In circumstances of physical abuse, the abuser may flatly reject what occurred. They may assert, for example, that their spouse stumbled, fell, or somehow injured themselves. They may even be so persuasive at times that the victim begins to believe this version of the truth.
Signs Of Gaslighting Friendship
So, what are some red flags that someone loves playing the victim?
- They refuse to take responsibility for what they’ve done.
- They will not forgive you unless you apologize (even if they are wrong).
- They exist just to give pity parties.
- If you confront them about something, they will blame it on you.
- They act as though they are beyond correction or criticism, and if you do it, they will be envious.
Examples of Gaslighting in Friendships
Toxic friendships are frequently one-sided and unjust. Because gaslighting buddies friends makes the relationship all about them.
Friends pitted against each other
Those friends who gaslight one other thrive on confrontation and frequently incite it. This motivation is frequently motivated by intense envy. This friend could start rumors merely to watch how people react. They frequently expect people to be “grateful” for their honesty.
Befriending Romantic Partners
Gaslighting pals frequently wish to be near their friends’ significant ones. They might be purposely inciting envy, or they could be genuinely interested in taking someone else’s relationship. When questioned, they frequently deny their intentions and even criticize their friend’s partner for being so flirty.
Showing Inauthentic Concern
I’m concerned about how easily you forget things. Gaslighting friends may perform charades, pretending to care about someone else’s well-being while tearing that person down. The victim is frequently perplexed by the statement and begins to doubt its veracity.
Friends who are gaslighting may make comments implying that others are usually exaggerating or acting improperly. “You don’t truly feel that way,” they may say, or “It’s not that bad- other people have it so much worse than you!” These comments can be hurtful and humiliating to others.
Signs Of Gaslighting In The Workplace
So, how can you know for sure whether you’re a victim of workplace gaslighting? Keep an eye out for the following signs of gaslighting:
- You keep hearing bad feedback about your performance.
- You hear the suspected gaslighter publicly say nasty things about you.
- You hear negative, inaccurate rumors about yourself; and you begin to doubt your vision of reality at work.
- They compliment you privately but criticize you in front of the rest of the team (or vice versa).
Examples of Gaslighting in the Workplace
Gaslighting is very aggravating in the office. These destructive strategies may be used by narcissistic employers, narcissistic coworkers, and toxic administrators with their staff. Examples of gaslighting at work include:
A coworker or employer who is gaslighting may attempt to damage an employee’s reputation by harming their job. For example, they may promise to transmit a key document but never do so. Alternatively, they may “forget” to invite an employee to a meeting, only to berate them afterward for failing to attend.
Omitting Essential Information
Employers that are gaslighted may expect their staff to read their minds. As a result, they may be purposefully unclear while providing project directions. Employees are frequently placed in lose-lose positions as a result of this deception. On the one hand, they don’t want to misinterpret the demands of their violent boss. However, people frequently worry that asking for an explanation would make them appear dependent or inept.
When they make a mistake, gaslighters do not accept personal responsibility. Instead, they take a defensive stance. For example, if an employee seeks to set a boundary on unacceptable behavior, the gaslighter would often reply dismissively or angrily.
Employees that are gaslighted will “appear” to aid their coworkers, despite the fact that their efforts are deceptive. For example, they may claim to be nearly finished with a job when they haven’t yet begun. Or they disseminate a myth that everyone in the department is getting increases when that is not the truth.
Impact of Gaslighting Abuse on Mental Health
Consistently being informed that you are mistaken, confused, or even “crazy” can have disastrous consequences for your mental health. Victims of gaslighting frequently feel lonely and helpless, in addition to questioning their own reality and beliefs. Low self-esteem, confusion, self-doubt, and difficulties functioning in school, job, or social circumstances are other signs of gaslighting abuse.
As a result, victims of gaslighting are more likely to suffer from anxiety, sadness, and suicide ideation. Young adults who have these symptoms previous to the abuse may be more prone to gaslighting, which exacerbates their mental health problems.
Furthermore, even after leaving an abusive relationship, persons who have been gaslighted frequently suffer from PTSD and have difficulties trusting others as well as themselves. As a result, they may engage in codependent relationships and struggle to form true bonds. Because gaslighters seldom apologize or admit guilt, their victims find it difficult to move on from the experience.
How To Respond To Gaslighting
Anyone, whether a spouse, family member, acquaintance, or coworker, can gaslight you. If you suspect someone is gaslighting you, reacting to their actions may help you regain control. If you see the early signs of gaslighting or suspect signs you are a victim of gaslighting, you can respond in the following ways.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. If you notice that the topic of a conversation turns into a blame session on yourself rather than a back-and-forth dialogue, this might be an indication that you are being gaslighted.
- Pay attention to where the discourse can shift from balanced to confrontational. If the talk is no longer constructive, you might inform the gaslighter that you want it to cease.
- Explain to the gaslighter that you can chat with them more when things aren’t so hot.
- Pay attention to the gaslighter’s behavior rather than their words, because they might say one thing but behave another.
- Choose not to interact with someone who makes you doubt your reality or makes bad assertions about your mental health.
- Avoid getting into a fight with the gaslighter. Trying to persuade them that they are wrong might add gasoline to the fire, and they are unlikely to back down or realize they are wrong. It might be wise to call it a night.
- Whether the gaslighter is employing diversions like changing the topic to avoid discussing their behavior, you could reply calmly by asking if the conversation can be returned to what you wanted to address or expressing that you can discuss a new issue later if that is what they want to do.
Examples Of Gaslighting In Politics
According to a Buffalo Law Review article, political gaslighting happens when a political party or figure lies or manipulates facts in order to dominate others.
For example, the individual or political party may minimize the actions of their administration, denigrate their opponents, insinuate that critics are mentally ill, or utilize controversy to divert attention away from their blunders.
Many politicians employ the rhetorical strategy of repetition to make their arguments. It’s a powerful means to propagate a message — and, unfortunately, it’s also a powerful way to make a false assertion appear to be true.
Real-life examples of gaslighting
So, what are some instances of gaslighting? There are several famous examples of gaslighting. The following are some real-life and historical examples of gaslighting.
- One of the most common ways individuals gaslight is by transferring responsibility to another person in order to evade accountability, a practice known as deflection. A gaslighting parent, for example, may blame their kid for their own faults, or an abusive partner could blame the victim for the violence.
- Another form of gaslighting in relationships is minimizing or disregarding someone’s demands. “At this point, the gaslighter makes the victim’s needs seem irrelevant.” They may say things like, “Why do you always ask me for stuff?” or “You are so needy,” to make the other person doubt and question themselves.
- Gaslighters frequently separate or otherwise alienate their victims from their support systems in order to acquire more control. A gaslighter may say things such as, “I don’t think your family has your best interests at heart.” She observes that “by making verbal abuse appear to be supported, they are separating the victim from their own judgment.”
- Forgetting is an example of gaslighting in which the gaslighter appears to have forgotten or rejected what occurred. This one is particularly difficult because there is no way to confirm whether someone genuinely forgot something—but if you didn’t forget, you’ll know.
How To Recognize Gaslighting?
Recognizing that you are being gaslighted is critical because it helps you to identify as the victim and take the required measures to maintain your sense of self. It also allows you to withdraw from relationships that are no longer beneficial to you. Gaslighting symptoms may include:
- Constantly second-guessing your own feelings and opinions
- Constantly apologizing despite the fact that you did nothing wrong
- You justify your abuser’s actions.
- You frequently feel gloomy, joyless, and inept.
If you feel you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to take action by completing the above list.
Protect Yourself from A Gaslighter
If you feel you are a victim of gaslighting or you are being gaslighted, follow this advice:
- Pay attention to what a person does rather than what they say. Gaslighters say one thing, but their actions suggest something very different.
- Don’t listen to someone who tells you “you’re crazy” all the time or makes other statements that make you doubt yourself.
- Don’t trust someone who claims that others, particularly relatives and/or friends, agree with them rather than you. Gaslighters frequently utilize individuals closest to you as targets.
- Present indisputable facts and be straight with the gaslighter when they try to reject or deflect the truth, as long as you are in a secure place.
Is Gaslighting A Crime?
While it may appear that a crime is being committed due to the gaslighter’s persistent emotional manipulation, whether gaslighting is unlawful or not depends on where you reside.
Patterns of coercive or controlling conduct, for example, are punished by up to five years in jail in the United Kingdom.
Gaslighting is frequently a symptom of various types of emotional abuse, which is a crime. Gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse are frequently warning indicators of other types of abuse, such as money exploitation and future physical assault. Whether gaslighting is a crime or not, it is a kind of abuse, whether it occurs at work, in a friendship, or in an intimate relationship.
How to Handle Gaslighting Abuse Symptoms
Once you’ve determined how to tell whether someone is gaslighting you, the next step is to leave the relationship as soon as possible and prevent additional potential gaslighting scenarios. Here are some actions you may do to protect yourself if you are being gaslighted in a relationship or at work.
- Discuss what is going on with others. Don’t let the gaslighter alienate you from friends, family, or coworkers that care about you and value your opinion. Share your experience with as many people as possible so that they can validate it.
- Concentrate on deeds rather than words. In order to keep you in the relationship, a gaslighter may occasionally tell you what you want to hear. But their words are useless unless their actions change as well.
- Remind yourself that you are not to blame for the abuse of a gaslighter. Nothing could or should have been done differently to prevent being gaslit. The gaslighter’s attempts to dominate and manipulate you were to blame for the abusive conduct.
- Try not to dispute with a gaslighter. Gaslighting is not a reasonable practice, and those who engage in it will not listen to the argument or reveal their genuine intent. If a spouse, friend, or coworker uses dialogue to insult you or call your sanity or abilities into doubt, move away from the conversation—and the connection if feasible.
- Regain your faith in yourself. It may take some time and patience to regain faith in your instincts and perceptions after ending a relationship with a gaslighter. Remember that the image the gaslighter made of you is not the true you.
Key Takeaways about Gaslighting
Gaslighting is a form of emotional and psychological abuse that seeks to destabilize, distort, and ruin the victim’s reality to the point that they don’t know what to trust or how to think, and they are unable to deal with their circumstances.
Gaslighters have several features, so keep an eye out for them:
- They lie openly and with a straight face.
- They are rude, snarky, and belittle their victims.
- They transfer blame.
- Accepting accountability for their actions is never an option.
- They assert that they are the only ones who could possibly love the victim.
It is tough to leave the abuser, but the best way to do it is to stop contact as soon as possible and seek support for dealing with it. If you’ve been a victim of gaslighting, get support from family, friends, and a professional to cope and arrange a safe leave.
The Ending Note
People who have been gaslighted may feel befuddled or as though they can’t do anything correctly. They may doubt their recollections or be concerned that they have a mental disorder. They may also justify the abusive person’s actions and feel dependent on them. Finding safe methods to document occurrences, make a safety plan, or exit a relationship are all vital strategies to protect yourself against gaslighting and other types of emotional abuse. A domestic violence group or a mental health expert can assist a person who is afraid that their spouse is gaslighting them.
It’s natural to feel annoyed, puzzled, upset, and guilty if someone is consistently gaslighting you. It’s critical to remember that their behaviors are not your fault. Knowing how gaslighting works and being aware of frequent gaslighting signs and examples will assist you in breaking away from this type of abuse. If you feel imprisoned in your relationship (or if the gaslighting hasn’t ceased even after you’ve left), you should seek professional help. Therapy provides a secure space for you to examine your thoughts and feelings. People who have been gaslighted may feel befuddled or as though they can’t do anything correctly. They may doubt their recollections or be concerned that they have a mental disorder. They may also justify the abusive person’s actions and feel dependent on them.
Finding safe ways to document occurrences, creating a safety plan, or leaving a relationship are all critical strategies for avoiding gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse. A domestic violence support group or a mental health professional can help someone who is concerned that their spouse is gaslighting them.
Do gaslighters love their partner?
Gaslighters like using your love and affection for them against you and will use this statement to justify a wide range of unpleasant actions. But the bottom line is that you can love someone while being upset about something they did. When you love someone, you don’t let them get away with anything.
How do gaslighters react when confronted?
When confronted with their conduct, gaslighters frequently change the subject or counter-attack by claiming that it is all their fault or that they are the source of the problem. They may claim that you influenced their behavior because you irritated them.
Do gaslighters apologize?
They apologize, but only under certain conditions. The “conditioned apology” is a skill that gaslighters have mastered. When someone says, “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.” That is hardly an apology; the other party is not accepting responsibility for his actions. By addressing your feelings, he is essentially manipulating you into feeling seen.
Gaslighters will only apologize if they want something from you. Even if they do apologize, if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that it’s a non-apology (e.g., “I’m sorry I cheated, but if you were a better wife, I wouldn’t have looked for affection elsewhere”), and they’ll usually only do so because you asked for it or because a judge or mediator forced them to.
How do you outsmart a gaslighter?
If you’re wondering how to get back at a gaslighter, the solution is simple: beat them at their own game. However, it is sometimes easier said than done. The following are several techniques for dealing with a gaslighter:
- Turn their techniques against them and give them a taste of their own medicine.
- Maintain silence during outbursts until they weary of ranting with no response.
- Don’t question yourself; they’ll interpret it as a weakness.
How do you turn the table on a gaslighter?
Deciding that you’ve had enough and are ready to put the gaslighter down is a brave but important step. Regaining control of the situation allows you to stop feeling frightened around them and reclaim your self-confidence. A gaslighter can be turned around in a variety of ways.
- To catch a gaslighter in a web of falsehoods, listen to and examine their logic.
- To prevent revenge and reverse the narrative, confront a gaslighter gently and logically.
- Collect evidence, set limits, and rally support to outwit a gaslighter at their own game.