HOW TO RESPOND TO IMMATURE GASLIGHTING PHRASES
If you let it continue too long, you will doubt yourself more.
Gaslighting, a manipulation tactic often wielded by emotional abusers, gradually makes you question your judgment, feelings, memories, and reality. Because of its insidious nature, it can be challenging for victims to recognize it as it’s happening.
Abusers use gaslighting as a way to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship. They break down your confidence over time by making you think your interpretation of events is incorrect. The more you second-guess yourself, the more you start to believe their version must be the accurate one.
Unfortunately, gaslighters never employ one method to distort reality. Carlyn Beccia, a writer in Medium, give some weapon to respond immature gaslighting phrases.
“Stop being so dramatic.”
Dramatic, emotional, and crazy — this is garden variety invalidation. The gaslighter tells you that what you are feeling is wrong, and you have no right to feel the way you do.
Calling someone crazy is just another way of saying, “my bad behavior doesn’t match your reaction.” And that might be true. But it still isn’t a very loving response to your partner’s pain. You have to see the fire to put it out.
If there is a glimmer of empathy in your partner, try playing the role reversal game and ask them how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.
Unfortunately, when someone tells you that you don’t have the right to your feelings, there’s no use arguing with them. Even a cactus has feelings. You are on separate teams at that point, and the gaslighter is not coming to your side.
“But what about the time you….”
This form of gaslighting is called kitchen sinking. Instead of discussing the present issue, they weaponize past hurts and throw at you everything but the kitchen sink — i.e., that one time you were late, your loud chewing, or the fib you told six months ago.
To be clear, if a past issue is still bothering your partner, they have every right to bring it up. But their past issue should not trump your present problem.
The best way to respond to whataboutism gaslighting is to say, “I want to address your issue, but can we please stay on topic and discuss this current issue? Then we will discuss yours.”
I will warn you. Most gaslighters don’t have the emotional intelligence to shelve their grievance. Usually, they are not harboring any resentments. They are only using their past wrongdoings to deflect from their present misdeeds. Please don’t fall for it.
“It’s your fault.”
People who gaslight will often shift the blame to their partner. This constant blame-shifting traps couples in a cycle of who is wrong and who is right. Unfortunately, in most disagreements, the fault is rarely on one side.
Gaslighters play a zero-sum game when fighting. They will often use “always” or “never” when communicating, even if it is your first time committing a crime. Disagreements get black and white with a gaslighter.
When your partner shifts the blame to you, focus on a solution. Ask questions like “What did you wish I had done in this situation?” or “Here’s what I wish you had done in this situation.” That gets you future-focused on working together as a team instead of battling it out with more “whose fault is it” fist-a-cuffs.
“Why are you with me if I am so horrible?”
Ah, yes, that one narcissistic shame. My ex used to say this to me every time I called him out on acting disrespectfully. (And this was not eating crackers in bed misdeeds.)
When a gaslighter makes this statement, they shift the onus onto you to solve the problem by leaving. They are saying — well, you know I am a jerk, so why are you tolerating it? That makes you guilty of their abuse.
Regroup and make sure you are addressing your partner’s behavior and not attacking their character. There is a big difference. Behaviors can be changed. Character is damn near impossible to change. If you can honestly say you have not resorted to childish ad hominem arguments, then you should believe them — they are telling you that they can’t be in a loving relationship. Run.
“I was only joking.”
If the joke isn’t funny to the other person, you are punching down and not up. People who use humor to deflect their wrongdoings are acting out of shame. And shame always gets in the way of intimacy.
Being able to see the humor in a situation is a gift. Is your partner using your donation to manipulate you? If yes, tell them that their actions are not funny and call them out of using jokes to deflect.
Sometimes people don’t realize they are using humor to deflect. Spirit becomes a knee-jerk self-preservation reaction.
Gaslighting is death by a thousand cuts. It’s the slow corrosion of your confidence. And if you let it continue too long, you will doubt more than just your reality. You will second guess every aspect of yourself.
#THE S MEDIA #Media Milenial #how to respond gaslighting