Mental Health

Mental health: 5 ways to tell if someone is gaslighting you or just disagreeing with you, according to a therapist

Posted by
Leah Sinclair
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Therapist Amy Tran breaks down how to tell the difference between gaslighting and disagreements.

Gaslighting is a term we’ve all heard over and over again.

The manipulation tactic, which is used to make someone question their reality, can be executed in such an insidious manner that we’re often left to question whether gaslighting is taking place or whether the person doing it just has a different opinion or feels differntly about what we’re trying to express.

And with so much discussion around the phrase “gaslighting”, there’s also much confusion about the difference between gaslighting and healthy disagreements.

But how do we make that distinction? Well, therapist Amy Tran has broken down five ways to tell the difference in a recent Instagram post.

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“Having a disagreement with someone is different than gaslighting,” writes Tran. “Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that is used to intentionally make you question your reality and sanity. ⁣⁣

“When people gaslight, they are trying to gain the upper hand in a conversation so that they can avoid accountability. They shift blame and responsibility onto you.”

In the post, which has gained over 5,000 likes, the therapist breaks down ways to identify the difference between gaslighting and disagreements.

“With gaslighting, the goal is to make you question your sanity, while in disagreements, the goal is to come to an agreement or have their perspective seen,” says Tran.

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She added that gaslighting usually results in someone attacking your perspective and blaming you, while in disagreements, you can both agree to disagree and leave it there.

Next up, gaslighters tend to shut down conversation and blame you for getting “too emotional to handle it”, while those who aren’t gaslighters will notice when things are heated and “suggest taking a break to cool down”.

Gaslighting usually shows up when someone presents opinions as facts while disagreeing with someone usually means they are open to learning about your perspective,” says Tran.

Lastly, the therapist says you’ll know you’re being gaslit when the person is manipulating you into questioning your reality as opposed to just seeing things differently and recognising and respecting your perspective.

In the post, Tran also suggested ways how to handle gaslighting, which included disengaging with the person, being firm about what you remember, stating that you remember things differently ⁣and making it clear that you are not open to debate about how you are feeling⁣.

“Your feelings are valid because YOU FEEL THEM,” she concludes. “They do not need to be rubber-stamped by someone else.

“Obviously, there may be times when our emotional reactions do not fit the situation and are so extreme they interfere with our relationships and functioning. So reflecting and changing how we feel may be helpful. This post isn’t meant to address this but only to highlight the differences between gaslighting and disagreement.”

Many took to the comments to share their thoughts on gaslighting and disagreements, with one writing: “Super important to be educated on the difference because we can jump to conclusions and get confused between the two.”

Another commented: “Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between gaslighting and disagreement. Thanks for the tips.” 

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Leah Sinclair

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