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How to Identify and Deal with Gaslighting

Originally published at PsychCentral.com

Gaslighting can cause intense self-doubt, no matter who's doing it. How can you respond to this behavior?

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that can cause you to doubt your memory, opinions, and even your sanity. It's a tactic some people use to gain power and control over others.

Romantic relationships aren't the only situations where gaslighting can occur. It can also happen:

  • in a parent-child relationship
  • in the workplace
  • between family members

On a larger scale, political and authoritative figures have been known to gaslight entire societies.

Research suggests that gaslighting behaviors can be rooted in gender and social inequalities. It tends to be common in intimate relationships where there's a power imbalance.

It often happens gradually, as well. So you might not realize you're dealing with gaslighting until you begin to wonder why you're experiencing so much confusion, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

If you've been experiencing gaslighting for a while, you might start to feel depressed, helpless, and indecisive as a result of the manipulation.

One thing to remember in this cloud of confusion is that gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse — if you've experienced gaslighting, it's not your fault. And you're not the only one.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source suggest that more than 43 million women and 38 million men in the United States have experienced some type of psychological abuse or aggression by an intimate partner.

But how can you tell if someone is gaslighting you, and is there a way to confront it?

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