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7 Essential Tips to Becoming “Un-Gaslightable”


Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that can leave people feeling confused, doubting their own reality, and isolated from others. There are different kinds and severities of gaslighting, ranging from minor comments and control-related tactics, to completely dependent and abusive relationships. Every situation is different, and the actions you take will depend on your personal needs. 

It’s important to remember that there are many reasons why people gaslight, and it’s often because of mental health issues, insecurity, or narcissistic tendencies. While gaslighting itself is hurtful to others, people are capable of stopping gaslighting and forming healthier relationships. This can be a long and in-depth process, so professional therapy is typically recommended. If you want to support someone with overcoming gaslighting, or you are struggling with it yourself, read our Gaslighter’s Guide to Quitting


Escaping gaslighting requires courage, self-awareness, and strategic actions. In this guide, we’ll explore the best 7 ways to break free from gaslighting and regain control of your life. 


Recognizing the signs of gaslighting is the first step. Some common indicators include:


Constant Denial: The gaslighter denies events or facts, causing someone to question their memory.


Projection: Accusing someone of behaviors the gaslighter is guilty of, deflecting blame.


Minimization: Downplaying someone’s feelings, making them feel their emotions are exaggerated or invalid.


Isolation: Gaslighters may isolate someone from friends and family, making them more dependent on the gaslighter’s version of reality.


Learn more about the mind of a gaslighter and why they gaslight in our other article, All About Gaslighting: Signs and Reasons Why People Manipulate


Should You Address Gaslighting? Put Your Safety First!

Depending on the situation, it may not be safe to address gaslighting directly or to help others overcome their gaslighting tendencies, especially if it’s part of a physically abusive relationship. This could also apply to work situations where you could lose your job or experience other effects on your livelihood. If you feel unsafe, it’s always best to find a backup plan and leave the situation instead of putting yourself in a risky position. 


Tip 1: Trust Your Instincts

Acknowledge Your Emotions: Sometimes gaslighting can be subtle and hard to identify directly, but you will often have a sense of something not feeling right in your relationship with the other person. Trust your gut feelings and acknowledge your emotions. If something feels off, it very well might be.


Document Your Experiences: A common gaslighting tactic is to confuse you by distorting events and conversations you’ve experienced. This can make you question your memory and be more likely to either let things slide or agree to their side of the story. Keep a journal to document instances of gaslighting as you experience them, helping you see patterns and validate your experiences.


Tip 2: Seek External Perspectives

Talk to Trusted Friends or Family: Share your experiences with someone you trust to gain an outside perspective. This person can either be directly connected to the situation, which can be helpful to see if they also recognize the signs, or someone separate with an unclouded perspective. Either way, make sure they are someone you trust to give you an unbiased opinion. 


Consult a Mental Health Professional: Seeking the guidance of a therapist can provide objective insights and coping strategies. Licensed therapists are trained in a wide range of mental health issues and are extremely effective in assessing situations. You can easily talk to a licensed online therapist for advice at Focus today. 


Tip 3: Define Clear Boundaries

Communicate Boundaries: Before having a conversation with the person gaslighting you, it’s important to fully understand what your boundaries are and have them written out. Conversations with people who are gaslighting can be challenging because they may try to twist your words or past situations, so written notes can be helpful. Communicate your boundaries, asserting your need for respect. 


Identify Unacceptable Behaviour: Once your boundaries are clearly identified and conveyed it will be easier to identify unacceptable behaviour going forward. If your boundaries are breached in the future, you’ll be able to recognize what’s happened and communicate more effectively about it being unacceptable. If your boundaries continue to be disrespected, you may need to remove yourself from the situation. 


Tip 4: Consistently Reinforce Boundaries

Stick to Your Limits: Consistently reinforce your boundaries, even in the face of resistance. This can be challenging with gaslighting but if your boundaries are clear and specific you should be able to notice more when they’re being pushed and be able to reinforce them.


Consequences for Violations: Communicate the consequences of crossing established boundaries. The main idea for consequences isn’t to punish the other person for their actions, but to respect yourself and your needs, and provide yourself with the next steps if your boundaries aren’t being respected. It’s very important to uphold these consequences otherwise it’s unlikely the other person will respect your boundaries going forward.


Tip 5: Prioritize Self-Care

Engage in Activities You Enjoy: Rediscover activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Having hobbies that get you out of the house, meeting new people, or that get you in a positive mindset are great for reducing stress and providing a fresh perspective. 


Practice Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness practices to stay grounded in the present moment. This could be meditation, exercise, paying more attention to the physical things around you, or any other grounding technique you prefer. Many techniques for mindfulness are also great ways to calm anxiety, and you can find 20 quick ways to calm anxiety in our blog here.


Tip 6: Build a Support System

Connect with Supportive People: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or support groups. This will provide stability for any situation you’re in and potentially offer a backup plan of support in case you need to leave an unhealthy relationship.


Therapeutic Support: Consider therapy or counseling to navigate the emotional challenges of gaslighting. It can be difficult to regain confidence and trust in yourself and others after experiencing gaslighting, especially if it’s from a loved one. Talk to a licensed mental health professional at Focus Mental Wellness today for effective and empathetic advice. Get matched to a therapist who meets your needs today. 


Therapy is also a great resource for people who want to overcome their gaslighting tendencies. Since people who gaslight tend to do so from learned behaviours, mental health issues, or narcissistic tendencies, help from a mental health professional is often required to start recognizing behaviours and building healthier relationships. 


Tip 7: Prepare for Resistance

Anticipate Pushback: Be prepared for resistance from the person gaslighting you when asserting your independence. This can be in the form of convincing you it’s not that bad, making false promises, or trying to undermine your confidence in your decisions. Be mentally prepared and bring a family member or friend for support with you if you need it. 


Stay Firm in Your Decision: Trust your decision to regain your mental well-being and stay firm in your commitment to yourself. It’s easy to second-guess yourself while in a manipulative situation but taking time to think, process, set boundaries, and work on yourself will help you gain an understanding of where you are now, and where you want to be in the future.


Final Thoughts

Escaping gaslighting is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. By recognizing the signs, trusting your instincts, establishing boundaries, and cultivating self-empowerment, you can break free from manipulative situations. Remember, you deserve to live authentically and trust in yourself. Seek support and prioritize your well-being.


For those who are struggling with gaslighting others and want to develop healthier relationships, read our guide for overcoming gaslighting. Remember, gaslighting is a choice, and you can choose to learn and grow healthy habits for self-reflection and positive relationships. 


If you need expert advice or assistance, easily book phone, video, or text therapy with a licensed Canadian therapist at Focus today. 


Get custom matched to a licensed therapist and start feeling better today.