Home Conflict How to respond to gaslighting

How to respond to gaslighting

How to respond to gaslighting

“Maybe that’s what you heard in your head, but it’s not what I said.”
“You’re too sensitive.”
“It’s not a big deal.”

See also

  • ⛔ How to set boundaries
  • 🤥 How to respond to lies
  • ✋🏾How to set boundaries with a partner
  • Why do we communicate what is untrue?

Start Here

What does gaslighting feel like? (Source: The Psychology Group)

  • Constantly feeling confused or like you’re going crazy
  • Frequently doubting yourself (e.g. “am I too emotional?” “did this actually happen?”)
  • Having difficulty trusting yourself and other people
  • Constantly assuming you did something wrong (feeling it’s always your fault or that you’re to blame)
  • Feeling the need to apologize (leading to over apologizing)
  • Making excuses for other people’s actions (or rationalizing why they did something that hurt you)
  • Feeling like you have to prove everything
  • Feeling like you constantly have to back up your reasoning/views of things with an abundance of facts
  • Sensing something is wrong, but feeling like you’re not able to “put your finger on it”
  • Regularly feeling misunderstood and alone

What does gaslighting sound like? (Source: The Psychology Group)

  • “You’re so dramatic”
  • “You’re too sensitive”
  • “You’re too emotional”
  • “You’re imagining things”
  • “You know you sound insane right now, right?”
  • “You’re always making stuff up”
  • “You’re making a big deal out of nothing, like always”
  • “Nothing you’re saying makes sense, do you even hear yourself?”
  • “You’re being paranoid”
  • “You’re acting crazy” or “you’re overreacting”
  • “I was joking! You take everything personally”
  • “That never even happened.” “This is what happened…” or “this is what I said…”
  • “Why should I believe you? Everyone knows you’re full of it”
  • “You’re not thinking clearly”
  • “You’re making yourself the victim when I’m the one who should be mad”

Talking Points

  • We remember things differently.
  • If you continue to speak to me like this, I’m not engaging.
  • I realize you disagree with me, and this is how I see the things: <describe concisely your side of the story>
  • I understand that your intention was to make a joke, and the impact was hurtful
  • You don’t get to decide how I feel or if I was hurt.
  • This is my experience and these are my emotions.
  • I know what’s best for me.
  • This is what I want and what I need right now.
  • This is my decision to make.
  • I’m struggling to stay in this conversation, I’ve already said “no” several times.
  • I don’t like how much energy I’m putting into proving my perspective and it would mean a lot to me if you gave me the benefit of the doubt.
  • I feel like you’re not validating my right to an opinion/my perspective.
  • I know my truth, and I’m not going to debate you.
  • We will just have to agree to disagree.
  • I hear you, but that wasn’t my experience.
  • You and I don’t see things the same way.
  • We can debate about the solution, but I’m not open to debating my feelings or the right to my feelings.
  • The way I feel is not up for debate.
  • We clearly see things differently. Let’s agree to disagree.
  • I’ve heard your point of view many times and I still don’t agree with it.
  • I hear your concerns but I’m okay with making this choice.
  • I know you feel strongly, but I hope you can see that my feelings are valid too.
  • I don’t appreciate you saying <what they said that offended you.>
  • My emotions are valid and I believe I have expressed them clearly and respectfully.
  • Can you be more specific with your details? Words like “always” or “never” are a little vague and it would be helpful to have more actionable detail.
  • We are discussing what hurt me, not my reaction. We can discuss my reaction at another time.
  • Just because I perceived things differently from you doesn’t make me crazy or wrong.

Further Reading


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