Gaslighting is one of the more common forms of a narcissists manipulation. Yet, when we are unaware of what this is, it’s difficult to see it happening to us while it is happening, however with more awareness once we know we can see it a mile away.
Gaslighting is psychological manipulation to distort someone’s reality, to make someone doubt themselves and reality so much they feel like they are going crazy, often by the very person who’s sending them the way, the narcissist saying. ”You’re crazy.” so that we doubt ourselves and doubt reality all the more, the common gaslighting phrases are.
A narcissist mindset consists of, ”That didn’t happen.” ”I never said that.” ” it is not my fault.” and ”You made me do it.” which is why they seem so able to gaslight others with ease, often they are lacking in cognitive reflection skills so once they’ve made their mind up about anything, to them that reality becomes their truth. Why most if given enough rope will tangle themselves up in their web of lies.
We end up with the word salad been thrown our way, which when we don’t see what’s happening leaves us all the more confused, especially if we just asked them a simple question. However, I wouldn’t recommend questioning one, it is on a spectrum, and some can be extremely dangerous so no contact would be the only way to go. I do believe some know exactly what they are doing, others it’s just an instinctive pattern of behaviour, either way, they’ve been that way a long time, it’s who they are. If you can not go no contact, due to shared child custody, or cutting of good family members, then most narcissists will still try to control and gaslight you. So the next best approach is to know their manipulation games￼, and know your own mind, so they can no longer impact your emotions.
Narcissists are thieves of joy. They want to steal everything from you, including taking your own mental and physical health, they want to keep you under their toxic spell, keep you locked in a trance and state of confusion and often isolated from others, so you can only go to them for a reality check. So you have no one to rely on or turn to other than the narcissist.
They want to take your confidence away from you and steal your voice, with gaslighting as you become to doubt yourself and doubt events and reality all the more so you become too afraid to speak up for yourself, continually questioning yourselves, overthinking everything and anything.
They achieve this in various forms of manipulation. They will criticise you, use your own insecurities against you, they will invalidate you, saying something happened when it didn’t, or something did when it did not.
They will deny the facts. They will blame you. They will try to shame you. They will guilt trip you. They will put fear into you, anything they can do to sink you further under their spell, they will. They are like a virus that’s affects everything about who you were and who you are, they don’t have to affect who you become now.
Narcissists have to remain above all others and in control, even if you know exactly what happened, if it criticised them, go against them, or they fear losing control, they will deny, deny and deny some more, they will switch the blame onto you to escape accountability. Leaving you with more self-doubt and unanswered questions.
No one throws a bigger tantrum than a narcissist, losing control of someone else’s mind.
With a lot of what the narcissist says, it often comes down to your word against their word, if you can keep communication with a third party present, via email or messages, so you have written evidence, if not especially if your at the start of learning about their manipulation games or might need evidence, keep a written diary, so when they are making you doubt something they did or did not say or something you did or didn’t say, you can check this, especially when it comes to making any child care arrangements.
Your mindset is also key, they are not in charge of you, they are not in charge of how you feel, your mind controls your emotions, and you control your mind, take back control of your mind, every step of every day, until you are you, your life or who you want to be, so if they’re trying to confuse you. You know exactly what happened, look inward to yourself and give yourself the answer, do not respond or react to them, they will not suddenly say “Oh yes sorry, you are correct.” They will just keep going for an argument or change the situation into something you’ve not done or how crazy you are. You have to learn to look to yourself and leave them be in their own false reality.
You do not have to defend yourself or rationalise to the narcissist. This is only giving them more attention, more reactions and more ammunition to use against you, keeping their control over you and your mind, just know what you know and leave them be, the only person you need to answer to is yourself.
When you do have to communicate with them, do your best to stay relaxed, do not show them any emotions, look just over their right ear. If they are reasonable, be reasonable back, if they are being negative or hurtful, do not engage, just like two wrongs don’t make a right, two people locked in negative don’t bring either happiness. You can scream and cry let those emotions out once they have left. This is why it’s best to stick to limited contact, messages and emails, especially at the start, some are dangerous so it would need to be no contact.
George Bernard Shaw.
“Never wrestle with pigs, you both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”
If you say. “It was like this”, and they say “your wrong.”
If you have to respond. “That’s ok I know you and I think differently, my opinion is for me and yours is for you.” Then leave it at that.
When they are having a dig at you, trying to put you down Things like. “That’s your opinion of me. However, it’s not mine.”
When they are twisting things around about feelings. ” I’m sorry you feel that way.” Yes narcissists do use this one, and I’m all for treat people how you want to be treated, however with a narcissist, sometimes you just have to manipulate how they manipulate, they don’t understand our communication, we can learn to understand theirs and communicate through words to them, how they do to us.
Always remain calm and always remain firm with your own beliefs, and your own boundaries, no response is always best, yet sometimes it’s not that simple. You need firm boundaries of what you will and will not accept from them. Your NO needs to mean NO.
Any form of communication with a narcissist to them is a game, there is no middle ground and no compromise, it’s their way, or you will be punished way, to them they must win at all cost, and you must lose.
Leave them with their own mindset, as they only want to argue and drag you under with them.
Any given situation when they believe they can get one over on you, they will pounce and do it, so you have to stick with, non-emotional to the point, businesslike responses.
You have to relearn your own values and beliefs system, build up your self-esteem and no longer let the narcissists affect you.
They will also use triangulation to gaslighting you. “Even they think you’re crazy.” “Everyone thinks your unreasonable.” Responses like. “Well if that’s what they want to think, let them, I know differently.” Or you could go with “That’s because I am unreasonable.” They don’t like it when we don’t defend ourselves.
Again you must stick to your own thoughts, and your own beliefs, whoever they’re saying has spoken about you in that way probably hasn’t, the narcissist is trying to trick you. If they have, they are under the narcissist’s spell and most likely one of the narcissists unwitting flying monkeys, they will have been fed countless lies about you and are just another one of the narcissists Enablers.
Most narcissists often have a lack of awareness about themselves, about others feeling and about reality, they can not accept other opinions or points of view, they have to remain in control, most are extremely good at lying and blame-shifting, so you have to learn not to react as it only gives them more to use against you, often leaving you more frustrated, more confused and more lost, the less you communicate with these people, the happier you will become.
To become free, you need to understand the narcissist, just wants your attention, your emotional reactions, and wants to keep control over your life and keep your mind all over, with them constantly in your thoughts.
You do not and can not control what they think or what they do. You can not change them into a happier better person, you can, however, learn to leave them be, let them do what they do, you can learn to ignore them, create a new much happier life for you, you can learn not to react.
The less reaction they get them more likely they are to leave you alone, they may try to up their games, as long as you continue not to play, they should eventually leave you alone, instead of reacting to them, put that time and effort into yourself.
With narcissistic work colleagues or family, try to avoid them as much as possible, don’t feed their ego, respect their manipulation it’s who they are and leaves them to it,
When they use the children, the more they don’t get reactions from you through what they do to the children, the faster they will stop the games with the children.
Let your children know. They have a right to their own reality and own opinions, do not try to fight fire with fire by telling the children your version, the children just end up caught in the middle with no one to turn to, if the children know they can come to you without, the fear of judgement, they will grow a lot stronger and wiser for it, parenting isn’t easy at the best of times, it can be even more draining with the other parent is simply counter parenting, so get rest, look after yourself, get a support system in place for yourself, someone or somewhere you can reach out and not feel so alone.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Don’t argue with a narcissist.