What does Gaslighting Mean?
A common kind of manipulation in abusive relationships is gaslighting. It is a covert kind of emotional abuse in which the bully or abuser deceives the victim by fabricating a story and leading them to doubt their perceptions of reality. 1 In the end, the gaslighting victim begins to doubt their understanding of reality and may even begin to question their sanity. This article will help you better understand gaslighting in a friendship.
Although it frequently happens in dominating friendships or among family members, gaslighting mostly happens in love relationships. People with mental health conditions may gaslight others. They influence friends, family members, or even coworkers by using this form of emotional abuse to control them.
Tips for Recognizing Gaslighting in Close Relationships
The fact is that individuals closest to us are the most likely to gaslight us, because this type of deception feeds on closeness. If you’re unfamiliar with the word, gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of someone into doubting their own sanity, intuition, and reality. Those that use it do it for personal advantage and are frequently egotistical. Again, it is uncommon to suspect a friend of gaslighting them, but it does occur. Jor-El Caraballo, a therapist and co-founder of Viva Wellness, discusses how gaslighting may manifest itself in a friendship:
“Gaslighting in a friendship or any other relationship is a process of making someone feel bad about themselves and guilty for being crazy. It frequently involves the abuser keeping control. You will notice a pattern in close relationships, such as friendships or intimate relationships, of berating someone for their decisions and possibly also isolating them from factors that might enhance their self-worth or objective truths (such as isolating someone from other friends or family who can recount or more clearly see the truths).
Common signs of friendship gaslighting
A strategy known as gaslighting in a friendship challenges a person’s understanding of reality. You can doubt yourself, your views, recollections, and recent events when someone is gaslighting you. You may feel confused and question if there is something wrong with you after speaking with the individual gaslighting you. You can be led to believe that you are to blame for anything or that you’re being overly sensitive. 1
You may get confused and start to doubt your memory, judgement, self-worth, and general mental health as a result of gaslighting. Understanding the strategies that a person who is gaslighting you could employ may be helpful.
- Most Of The Conversations Are Gossips
- Lying Often
- They Shift The Blame
- Love bombing
Most Of The Conversations Are Gossips
Everyone enjoys a little gossip, but a person gaslighting in a friendship will use it as a weapon. The gaslighter feels in control of and has influence over everyone around them thanks to gossip.
They like the knowledge that they possess details about other individuals that no one else does and that they can utilize these details to amuse, captivate, and project an air of omniscience.
Pay attention to the rumors that your buddies spread. Do they enjoy recounting the tale or do they express concern that a buddy lost their job? Are they amused by the situation or do they look disturbed that a friendship is in trouble?
People who use gaslighting in a friendship are typically pathological and persistent liars who frequently have narcissistic traits. They frequently lie outright and refuse to retract or alter their claims, even when you expose them or offer evidence of their lying. You’re making stuff up, that never happened, or you’re insane, they could say.
A gaslighter will make up rumors if they don’t have any to spread. If it gives them some fun and influence in their social circles, they don’t mind lying. They could lie or just make something up. They might exaggerate the truth.
The person who does gaslighting in a friendship you will frequently go to tremendous lengths to become close to the people you care about. For the gaslighter, it’s all a game that enhances their appearance of omniscience.
They could become close to your spouse, your sister, or your other pals, for instance, and before you know it, they’re spilling secrets about your loved ones that you weren’t even aware of. All of a sudden, they appear to be more capable, in charge, and all-knowing than anybody else. They appear like someone you may like to hang out with as they are familiar with how things operate.
They may even attempt to take these individuals from you, especially if they are aware of any issues in your connections with them. Again, to them, everything is a game.
They Shift The Blame
Another frequent gaslighting in a friendship technique is shifting the blame. Every conversation you have is distorted in some way to put the responsibility for whatever happened on you. Even when you try to talk about how the abuser’s actions make you feel, they might change the subject so that you start to wonder if you are to blame for their poor conduct. For instance, they can assert that if you acted differently, they would stop treating you unfairly.
Another sign of gaslighting in a friendship is a person who gaslights will occasionally speak kindly and lovingly when confronted or questioned in an effort to diffuse the situation. Perhaps they’ll say something like, “You are aware of my affection for you. I would never intentionally harm you.”
These can be the words you want to hear, but they aren’t sincere, especially if the same actions keep happening. Nevertheless, they could persuade you just enough to let them off the hook, allowing them to avoid accountability or punishment for their damaging actions.
A Gaslighter’s Personality: What Is It?
The traits of a gaslighter personality or a person who is gaslighting in a friendship are humor, charm, and assurance. These individuals are out there to manipulate you or others. They are expert controllers and manipulators who frequently challenge your perception of reality.
Additionally, a gaslighter personality would persuade you that you are a headache and that no one would want to spend time with you. In addition, this individual thinks they are the only ones who are knowledgeable. As a result, a gaslighter personality believes that they are the person with no troubles in life.
A gaslighter’s nature therefore thrives on deceit. But to have the upper hand, such a person manipulates you. A gaslighter’s primary objective is to keep you perplexed, which will inevitably lead you to doubt your reality. So a gaslighter wants to be in charge and has a desire for power. Additionally, the gaslighter confuses you in order for you to rely on them for information on the accurate interpretation of reality.
How Should You Respond To Gaslighting In A Friendships?
Keep in mind that you are not to responsible for what is happening to you. The individual who is gaslighting you is choosing to act in this manner. They bear accountability for their deeds. They didn’t make this decision because of anything you did, and you won’t be able to stop them from doing it. Here are someways you can stop gaslighting in a friendship.
- Maintain Emotional Distance
- Confront Them
- Break Up From The Friendship
Maintain Emotional Distance
Spend some time monitoring how your buddy behaves in a group once you realize they are gaslighting you. The least intrusive course of action would be to put this buddy on the emotional outs with you (if you are worried about breaking the friendship group up). Maintaining emotional distance is a an effective way to deal with gaslighting in a friendship.
Say “thank you for letting me know” when they try to start a debate. You may then look into the matter further on your own, but stop following the gaslighter on blind trust. If someone tries to gossip with you, you can stop them by saying, “I’d rather hear it from them, if they want to share it with me,” and then you might leave.
It could be time for some confrontation if maintaining emotional distance isn’t enough to resolve the situation. By doing this, I don’t necessarily want to dispute with the gaslighting buddy, but rather to inquire as to whether they are aware of what they are doing and why they are doing it. I also want to find out what they expect to gain from it and whether they could attempt to stop doing it in the future.
It’s crucial that the gaslighter doesn’t feel like they are being ganged up on, even if you have the backing of other people who have seen the same behavior. In any case, your gaslighting friend would probably reject everything and insist that it’s all in your brain.
Break Up From The Friendship
It’s probably time to sever the friendship if the argument doesn’t resolve the issue. This will probably be challenging, and you could lose a few other pals in the process. On the other hand, if the friendship affects your happiness and mental health, it will be worthwhile in the long term. If You feel that there is a lot of gaslighting in a friendship it is better to end it.
The likelihood that people will ultimately realize your friend is a gaslighter and re-engage with you after that realization is quite high.
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Sarah Khan is pursuing CSE and is an author at Evolve.
Who strongly believes mental health is the overall strength.
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