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I just sat there asking myself “How did I get that sooo wrong? I really thought the situation had changed.” I walked away feeling like I’d lost my mind…like I couldn’t trust my instinct. Confidence plummeted. A constant loop of every interaction went through my head as I tried to figure out how I got things soooo wrong. Then I watched this video by Terri Cole and…

I realized I hadn’t lost my mind. I wasn’t crazy. Someone was gaslighting me.

Gaslighting is defined as manipulation that makes another question their sanity…or make them feel like they have done lost their minds.

So, how do you know if you are being gaslit? Well, see if any of the below sound familiar.

  1. They lie. Lots of times over dumb stuff. When you call them out you are in the wrong.
  2. Their tactics escalate over time. You give them the benefit of the doubt once…then twice…then three times…finally, you just feel defeated.
  3. Actions match do not match words.
  4. They project. The exact weakness you see in them…well…they see those weaknesses in other people. It sounds a lot like blaming. Your gaslighter says “You do this, or you do that. So I’m going to put some arbitrary boundary in place to make sure you don’t do that again.”
  5. They make you second guess everything. You feel like boundaries are always being adjusted to meet their needs. When you bring up an event they flat out deny anything was wrong. You follow up with them and stare at you like you are crazy and mumble something like.. why are you bringing that up? I wasn’t serious. 

Here is how they make you feel….

  1. You are always second guessing yourself. You overthink all of your actions. Should I send this or not? Should I ask them a question or not? Should I tell them or not?
  2. You find yourself saying sorry all the time because you think you must be doing something wrong. After all, why would they be treating you this way if you weren’t doing something wrong?
  3. You aren’t happy and you can’t quite figure out why.
  4. You miss the way you used to be…before you second guessed everything.

So, what can you do? My best advice is this:

Trust your instincts. All. The. Time.

Here is how.

  1. The very first time someone makes you second guess your instincts consider yourself on notice. Don’t simply accept you’ve misread the situation. Just know that this person may be a gaslighter.
  2. The second time it happens there is an issue. A pattern has emerged.
    1. Make sure you now trust your gut…more than ever.
    2. Realize this isn’t about you. At all. It’s all about them.
    3. Don’t try and make them see the errors in their ways. It’s a waste of time.
    4. Don’t participate in their bad behavior. You can choose to walk away.

Here’s the deal. It sucks to be gaslit…dare I say you feel like you’ve been burned.  BUT knowledge is power. Once you understand what’s happening, take back your power. Recognize their bad behavior for what it is. Eventually, you’ll be able to stop, drop, and roll, and put out the fire caused by the gaslighter.

 

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