The first step to stopping gaslighting is recognizing it.
So what does it look like? There are no two of the same situation, Psychology Today shares some common red flags that you can look out for.
1. They tell obvious lies.
Your boss tells you one thing on Monday and the exact opposite on Tuesday. Admitting to the simple notion that they may have changed their minds. They confuse you, which in turn makes you easier to control. You left not knowing what to believe.
2. They deny making a promise or what they may have said in a conversation, even when you have proof.
Gaslighters promise to extract time or work from you, only to renege once it’s time for them to pay up, or admit that they had said what you claim they said. They deny making the promise in the first place, they manipulate their way out of their obligations and will in some turn make you even doubt that, that there was such an agreement or conversation.
3. If you challenge them, they lash out at you.
“You’re being so irrational!” or “Don’t you think you’re overreacting?” are responses, the gaslighter uses, which in turn dismisses your emotions, and deflects their own responsibility for their behaviour. Beyond that, they make you feel crazy for even speaking up, making it more likely that you’ll let it slide in the future.
4. They throw in just enough positive reinforcement to confuse you.
If you were constantly criticized, with no compliments balancing out the crap, you’d just quit, right? With Gaslighters they realize that everyone has their breaking point, they’ll string you along, and the moment you’ve had enough of their treatment, they’ll praise you just enough to keep you from leaving them.