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Relationships

These are the types of gaslighters to look out for, according to a psychologist

Gaslighting can manifest itself in many ways  but there are three main types of gaslighter that we should avoid at all costs.

Gaslighting is something many of us have experienced in some shape or form.

Whether it’s a colleague making you second guess yourself in the workplace, being subtly manipulated in a relationship or experiencing it among friends and family, gaslighting can show up in many facets of our lives – but there are other forms of gaslighting that often go unacknowledged.

One person exploring the different types of gaslighters is clinical psychologist Stephanie Carinia. In a recent Instagram post, Carinia broke down the three different types of gaslighters, while acknowledging that it “can be covered up in many forms”.

Carinia begins by identifying the intimidator gaslighter, who she describes as a “classical gaslighter” that often uses “open belittling”.

Dr Robin Stern’s book The Gaslight Effect further expands on these gaslighting types, and delves deep into the intimidator gaslighter, who she says often “bullies, guilt-trips and withholds”.

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According to The Gaslight Effect, intimidator gaslighters tend to put you down, use silence as a weapon, frequently explode into anger and openly mock you under the guise of “joking”.

Next up, Carinia identifies the glamour gaslighter, who brushes off concerns by love bombing you with compliments and gifts.

Glamour gaslighters often start out portraying the image of a perfect partner and use love bombing as a way to reel people in before suddenly changing and creating a toxic and difficult dynamic in any relationship.

The Gaslight Effect states that they twist reality and demand that you agree with their distorted view, like most gaslighters, but may use glamour and romance to cover up “how badly” they’re behaving and “how distressing you first found it”.

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Lastly, the psychologist identifies the good guy gaslighter, who she claims is always ‘doing you a favour’ while sabotaging you and calling you ungrateful when calling out passive-aggressiveness.

“The good guy gaslighter would never openly be mean but would act passive-aggressively like the silent treatment, leaving you feeling powerless,” she wrote in the post.

The good guy gaslighter often needs to appear “good” but is actually committed to getting their own way and invested in their own interests.

Carinia advises that next time you find yourself asking whether you’ve been gaslighted, make sure not to “fall for the trap of doubting yourself”, adding that it’s often the gaslighter’s own insecurities that they’re trying to deflect from.

Many took to the comments to share their encounters with different types of gaslighters and how being able to identify the different types has helped them along the way.

“This is hugely helpful as I think gaslighting is often recognised because people think it is literally someone telling you that ‘you’re crazy’ or ‘that never happened/you’re remembering it wrong’ etc,” one user commented. “This has made me realise that the person I’m with is a total ‘good guy gaslighter’ and it’s so key to be able to identify it and know that it’s not just my own imagination.”

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“I’ve been gaslighted all the time. Usually by my parents. It took me months to realise it and come out of it. Because gaslighting is no joke. It robs you of your sanity and reality. Because they make you question everything.”

Dealing with gaslighters and getting to a space where they don’t affect you isn’t easy. But being able to identify the type you’re dealing with and the different strands of gaslighting you may be experiencing can be helpful to move forward in a positive light, free from negativity

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