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Mental Health

Mental health: 10 ways to protect yourself from gaslighting, according to a therapist

Gaslighting can manifest itself in various ways  and these key tips can help you to recognise the signs and protect yourself in the meantime.

Many of us have been gaslighted at one time or another.

It’s a thing that’s so insidious that oftentimes, it can take a while – days maybe even months – before acknowledging the manipulative tactic and even longer to break down how gaslighting can affect your confidence and self-esteem.

Whether it’s a flippant comment made by a friend or a more deep-rooted tactic used by a partner, acknowledging the signs of gaslighting is key to protecting yourself – but how do you continue to protect yourself once face to face with a gaslighter?

Well, according to licensed therapist Jordan Green, there are numerous ways to deal with a gaslighter and to protect yourself in the process – starting with educating yourself on the signs of gaslighting.

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“If you have been gaslit, you have to get in touch with your own reality and learn to trust yourself again,” she says in the post.

“By learning to identify the signs of gaslighting and catching the red flags, you can learn how to respond before the conversation escalates to the point of disorientation, accusation, and confusion.” 

In the post, Green says educating yourself about the signs of gaslighting and getting in touch with your own perception is key to protecting yourself. “Determine what is true for you and hold firm to that,” she says. “You can learn to trust yourself again.”

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Next up, Green says it’s important to recognise that there’s more than one way to see things and acknowledge that your perspective is valid, along with pausing and taking a moment to think before responding.

“State your perspective out loud in a calm, firm, and confident way,” she advises. “Also, if there is a personal attack or degrading comment, state that that is not OK and if it happens again, you will end the conversation. If it happens again, communicate that you’re done talking and walk away.”

Being aware of your physical, mental, and emotional state, if you are becoming dysregulated, is another key way to protecting yourself from gaslighting according to Green, along with practising coping skills for “self soothing and self regulation”.

“Repeat self affirming affirmations like ‘my perspective and feelings are valid’ [and] ‘I deserve to be listened to’”, she adds.

Finally, the self love coach advises inviting the other person into a conversation about how they are communicating, how it affects you, and how to communicate with more respect and kindness, along with taking space from the other person to get some perspective.

“If you need support, seek help from a therapist or trusted other.”

If you’re experiencing gaslighting or emotional abuse, the NHS has additional information on recognising the signs and seeking help.

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