How To Respond to Gaslighting: 5 Tips From a Therapist

As a therapist for women in Denver, the term “gaslighting” is used in sessions frequently by clients who feel stressed in a personal relationship. If you’re like me…you had to google this term to make sure you understood it correctly.

Often, I see gaslighting coming from individuals who:

  1. Have substance abuse issues. This population tends to use whatever tactic possible to maintain their relationship to an external substance.
  2. Trauma histories
  3. Attachment issues

So you may be asking yourself…what exactly is gaslighting?

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic used by individuals to make another person doubt their own reality and truth. It can be damaging to the receiver’s mental health and self-esteem. It can lead to feelings of isolation, confusion, and powerlessness.

For example, if a couple is in a fight about who was responsible for letting their dog out after work, partner #1 may start with a statement like:

“You told me yesterday that you’d be home at 5pm and would take care of the dogs. I feel angry that you are telling me this is my responsibility.

Partner #2, the gaslighter, may respond with:

“You constantly tell me you want to spend more time with the dogs. I assumed you’d be home early today since you said earlier ‘I am bored at work.’ Why would you be angry with me for not letting the dogs out? You should be grateful that I am involved with this dog at all.

Sound familiar?

Though I suggest seeing a counselor in Denver to help process the impact of gaslighting on women’s mental health issues, here are a few common questions and tips I have for individuals dealing with a gaslighter.

Should I Ignore a Gaslighter?

This is an important question to consider when it comes to dealing with a gaslighter. While it can be tempting to ignore them, this may not be the best approach in the long run. Ignoring a gaslighter can often lead to feelings of anxiety, fear, and doubt. It can be especially difficult for those who are already struggling with mental health issues, such as depression or PTSD.

On the other hand, confronting a gaslighter can be dangerous territory, as you should anticipate them trying to manipulate or control the narrative. It is important to have a plan of action before engaging with a gaslighter, as well as having access to professional help. Seeking out counseling first with a therapist in Denver can be beneficial in helping one to identify and deal with issues related to gaslighting. For women, there are often specialized counselors and therapists who understand the unique struggles that come with being targeted by a gaslighter.

A Therapists 5 Tips On How To Respond to Gaslighting

1. Ground Yourself

When faced with a gaslighter, it’s essential to take deep breaths and ground yourself in

the present moment. Doing so helps to maintain a sense of calm and clarity, which

allows you to respond more thoughtfully and less emotionally. This literally reminds

your brain “I’m safe!” and helps your frontal lobe (the logical part of your brain) take

information in with less emotion.

2. Soothe internal guilt/shame before responding

When checking in on shame and guilt-based internal dialogues, it is important to remember that you are not responsible for other people’s behaviour or opinions. It is essential to accept that you are worthy and deserving of respect, and to allow yourself to take up space even if it means making yourself uncomfortable. Moreover, it is important to remember that you cannot control what other people think or say about you, but you can control how you respond. Allow yourself to recognize that your emotions are valid and are worthy of being heard and addressed.

3. Remind yourself of your values

Values are our beliefs about what is right or wrong, good or bad, and how we should act or live. Values guide our decision-making and inform our actions. When we have clarity on our values, it can help us recognize when someone is attempting to manipulate us with gaslighting.

When considering your values, it can be helpful to look at your mental health and ask

yourself: What makes me feel safe? What kind of relationships do I want to cultivate? What

kind of behavior do I expect from people? How do I want to be treated?

4. Articulate your position – and expect pushback!

It can be difficult to know how to respond to gaslighting, especially when you feel like your self-esteem and well-being are under attack. When this happens, it is important to take a mindful approach to articulating your position and standing up for yourself. This means taking the time to consider your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and expressing them in a clear and assertive manner.

You should also be prepared for pushback from the gaslighter, as this is often part of their manipulative strategy.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need extra support to cope with gaslighting, it can be helpful to seek out a mental health professional in Denver. A therapist can provide guidance on how to best manage difficult situations with gaslighters and help you to strengthen your communication skills.

5. Set a healthy boundary for future encounters with gaslighter

It’s important to protect your mental health when dealing with a gaslighter. A good way to do this is by setting a healthy boundary for future encounters with the gaslighter. While it may be difficult, it is necessary to set this boundary in order to maintain your emotional wellbeing and keep yourself safe.

One way to do this is by deciding how you want to interact with the gaslighter. Do you want to avoid them completely? Or perhaps only engage with them in certain situations? Establishing a boundary can help you to create a framework that you can use to guide your interactions with the gaslighter and maintain your mental health.

Therapists for gaslighting in Denver

The effects of gaslighting can be incredibly damaging and overwhelming. It can leave you feeling confused, angry, and even afraid. If you have been a victim of gaslighting, you may benefit from therapy with a qualified therapist in Denver who specializes in helping those impacted by it.

At Connected Brain Counseling, we understand the complexities of being a victim of gaslighting and provide counseling for women in Denver to help them heal. Our therapists specialize in providing counseling to individuals impacted by gaslighting and can provide you with the tools you need to build self-confidence and healthy boundaries. Our counselors also work to help clients identify and address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the problem, such as codependency or difficulty setting boundaries.

Learn more at www.connectedbraincounseling.com.

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