When you experience gaslighting, it's confusing and may take months or years to sort out. There are endless articles, books, and online resources that can provide helpful tips that can leave your head swirling. When is it gaslighting? Here are some tips I have learned in identifying this malicious, manipulative behavior in my own life.
Gaslighting is when someone tells you you're wrong or events didn't happen the way you think they did. It makes you question yourself.
Know that someone using gaslighting is often trying to stop the truth from coming out or wants to have control over you.
People that use this form of abuse are continually defensive. They never acknowledge they are part of the problem; It is always your fault. They will often use phrases that never happened. You made it up. You're mistaken/delusional. It is common for gaslighters to say you're too sensitive, you always cause drama, and you're overacting. If you are continuously blamed for their problems, and they are unwilling to work with you or problem solve a situation and just place blame, that is gaslighting.
Gaslighters tell friends and family (or anyone who will listen) lies to discredit you and create distance between you and others. This behavior is, again, part of the manipulation and control. It's like they have diarrhea of the mouth. They can't stop talking, not allowing others to ask questions to poke holes in their stories. Their stories often change because they twist facts and can't keep them straight. In these stories, you are always the cause of all their problems.
In return, they tell you that everyone is against you, and they think you're an awful person. This makes you question your relationships and creates space that isolates you from others. For example, I have been told the entire community and family members are against me, or specific people the gaslighter has never met.
Once you learn more about gaslighting, you can spot and label this behavior and create boundaries to keep yourself safe and sane. My experience is you begin to have empathy for the abuser. Constantly having to make up stories, keep them straight and not have, fulfilling relationships because they need to have control is a sad way to live life.
As always, I highly recommend seeking professional help like a licensed therapist. You can find one here. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
If you are experiencing any abuse, please know there is help. Here are a couple of helpful resources.