Dealing with a gaslighter is tough, especially if you aren’t even aware you are in a relationship with a gaslighter.
If you don’t know what the term gaslighting means, it stands for a manipulative tactic where a person forces you to question your own sanity and sense of reality.
Well, how to expose a gaslighter? There are a few tactics you want to remember, no matter if you are in a relationship or not. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
So stay close to learn the details as they’ll be described in the following article!
How To Expose A Gaslighter: 13 Smart Ideas
Every gaslighter has their own gaslighting behavior. However, there is a general pattern.
As you will see, first, we will talk about their behavior and different examples of gaslighting that you can spot right away. Further, we will describe different additional tactics you can use to spot a gaslighter.
So let’s start right away!
1. They will make you feel depressed
One thing is for sure, when you are around a gaslighter, you will start to feel their depression. They are known to be depressed and have mental health problems. They will reflect all their problems onto you too.
In other words, even if you aren’t depressed, they will make you feel this way and gaslight you into thinking that this is completely normal. When, in fact, all they want to do is feel better knowing they aren’t the only one who’s depressed.
2. Denial of everything they said
One common gaslighting tactic is trying to deny any statement that made you upset. Every gaslighter will do this as this is a perfect way to maintain control over you.
They will try to alter your perception of reality and provoke your insecurity just to take back control.
This is because they will avoid taking responsibility for their actions or lack thereof in certain circumstances.
There are techniques that work incredibly effectively with these individuals to expose them or realign them to work for and alongside you, but you must follow them very closely and meticulously!
These procedures will be described later on.
3. They will make you doubt yourself
Your weakest but a gaslighter’s strongest tool is seeing you with a lack of self-esteem and confidence. This is when they will strike.
Therefore, excessive criticism and pointing out imperfections prevent people from gaining any confidence in their abilities but also make it challenging to achieve any semblance of self-esteem.
And this is how you become a victim of gaslighting. You will be trapped in a cage of emotional abuse, and once they’ve spotted any kind of insecurity, they will always come back to it as a basis for their emotional manipulation.
So, them making you doubt yourself is just another sign of gaslighting. If they have been doing this for too long, you should definitely break free from this cage and seek professional help or regain your confidence with the help of your friends and family.
There is no point staying in this relationship as it will probably get even worse than it is now. Always choose your well-being over the well-being of a narcissistic partner. It is never worth it, trust me.
4. ‘‘Oh come on, you are insane.’’
Sociopaths and gaslighters have at least this one thing in common. Both of them will ask you for a favor. If you aren’t able to fulfill this favor, they will become extremely angry and nervous and try to shift all the blame to you.
The worst part is that they will often succeed with this intention and hold you captive in that toxic relationship.
5. Fear as a manipulation tool
Fear is an innate emotion. This emotion is biologically driven, and we feel it every time we are in some kind of danger.
Because of how innate it is, we can imagine how powerful and crucial this emotion is for our well-being. And gaslighters are aware of this!
Every form of psychological abuse starts with potentiating fear. Why? Because it’s the easiest form of manipulation.
Most people’s waking lives are controlled by love and fear. As a gaslighter doesn’t feel any of these emotions, they have the luxury of controlling you. They can easily manipulate others by creating or bringing fear into the conversation.
This especially applies if you have abandonment issues. This often results in a situation where you know that someone is extremely bad, but you just can’t get out of this toxic relationship.
Yes, this would be another way how to expose a gaslighter as this manipulative behavior is common among them.
So here are some tactics that might help you catch the signs of a gaslighter. If you suspect you’re being gaslit, the first thing you want to do is turn off all subjectivity and be as objective as you can.
I know it will be hard to turn off your subjectivity as the whole point of gaslighting is making you believe that you are at fault while trying to cover up their wrongdoing.
However, it is possible to expose a gaslighter and look at situations objectively. Start by asking yourself these questions:
• Do they tell you that you are crazy even though you know very well that a certain situation happened?
• Do they say something but then do the complete opposite?
• Do they try to alter your sense of reality?
• Do they deflect blame and guilt from themselves onto you?
If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes, then… congratulations! You’ve spotted your partner’s toxic behavior. Realizing and admitting that there is a problem is the first step to solving it.
7. Don’t take any action when you’re emotional
Making sensible decisions and thinking clearly are challenging when you’re experiencing strong emotions.
It’s crucial to avoid responding when your partner begins gaslighting you during a heated dispute.
They know you’ll become defensive and emotional and perhaps even accuse yourself, which is precisely what their goal is.
But you shouldn’t fall for this. Try to stay as rational as you can in this situation. You should wait to cool down and then objectively gather all the evidence you have against them.
This way, you’ll be able to confront them in a controlled manner.
8. Write down what they do
As I mentioned in the section above, it is important to gather all the necessary evidence. Having their actions and statements written down will allow you to control the situation.
Gather evidence about every text message or instance where you saw the slightest form of abuse. Also, try to remember every gaslighting phrase they used on you.
All those red flags that you didn’t notice then, these text messages and gaslighting phrases will serve as the best weapon against their abusive personality disorder.
9. Talk to family and friends
If it happens that you aren’t able to think objectively, even after you’ve cooled down, or you somehow always find validation for their actions and words, then you should definitely try to find help from your loved ones and family members.
I know you’re probably thinking that this will have no effect as they won’t believe you and that everybody will think you’re insane.
But if you don’t seek any help from your loved ones, you will feel even more alone and isolated. And this is exactly what the gaslighter wants.
If you are close with your friends and family, there is no way they won’t notice the changes in your behavior. They might even approach you and ask if everything is okay, even if you don’t say a word to them. Why?
Because they are the people who know you best, especially your family. They have known you since you were little, and they will always be compassionate when it comes to you.
Having a strong support system is crucial in exposing a gaslighter.
10. Don’t let them question your evidence
Gaslighters have a lot of good skills. Unfortunately, they are only good at skills that they use against other people.
The moment you bring evidence to the table, they will activate their skills. They will try to convince you that you’re overreacting or say that the evidence is nonsense even though you know this isn’t true.
Preventing them from gaslighting is the most crucial step in the process of exposing them. Don’t let them confuse you. Instead, firmly stick to the facts and your evidence.
You’ll know it’s time to break up if, even with all this evidence, they keep gaslighting you.
No matter how much you care about and want to support your partner, this form of mind abuse is a very destructive habit that ultimately only results in unhappiness.
11. Set rules
If they, however, did learn their lesson after you carefully presented all your evidence, then it’s time to set some rules!
These rules will be necessary if you want to change your relationship from a toxic one into a healthy one. If they realize that they did you wrong and truly want to change, they should be prepared to change not only their behavior but also their way of thinking.
It is crucial that you finally define and set boundaries. You should know when enough is enough! Give them a warning sign that you will leave without hesitation if they cross the line.
Also, it’s important to mention that you should know that gaslighters won’t change that easily, no matter how much you think they love you.
They just love the comfortable environment that being a gaslighter provides them. Although it’s not impossible, it’s very, very challenging.
12. Don’t try to outsmart the gaslighter
One of the biggest mistakes that every victim of gaslighting makes is trying to outsmart the gaslighter.
If you try to prove them wrong without strong evidence, this will only make them angry, and the situation will escalate quickly.
Being a victim of gaslighting has decreased your level of confidence and self-validation, so now you aren’t even able to confront them in the right way.
Always keep in mind that they don’t care about what you have to say. Even if you say the problem out loud, they will pretend that they didn’t hear it.
They don’t want you to question anything about them. However, they will insist you question your own sense of reality.
This is why it’s best for you to write down everything and gather all the necessary evidence before confronting them.
Maybe neither you nor your parents and friends have the ability to expose a real gaslighter, but I know someone who does.
Therapy is always a good thing when you experience any problems in your relationship. The best thing about it is that you can go on your own or with your partner.
This way, you will be able to first spot the real problem and gaslighting and then the underlying cause of the gaslighting. A therapist will help your partner acknowledge their behavior.
Therapy is a good option even if you spot some workplace gaslighting. Try talking to your boss or someone with greater authority.
Signs Of Gaslighting
Some of the signs have been mentioned in this article to learn how to expose a gaslighter. But other signs of gaslighting in a relationship include:
• Doubting your sense of reality
• Them not allowing you to speak during arguments
• Them blaming you for everything
• Losing your sense of self
• Them saying one thing but doing another
How To Protect Yourself From Gaslighting
When you first think of it, gaslighting may sound benign. However, it can leave scars on your emotional and mental health.
That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry and protect yourself from a gaslighter in time:
• Try noticing the signs of a gaslighter
• Be confident when setting your boundaries
• Think of walking away
• Remember past experiences
• Seek help from your support system
How To Deal With Gaslighting
Don’t forget that your well-being is most important. If you see that your partner keeps gaslighting you even after you’ve exposed and confronted them about the problem, then it is probably time for you to end your relationship.
Ending a toxic relationship like this might sound easy to anyone who isn’t in your shoes. However, only you know how hard this might be, even if you are aware that your partner is emotionally abusing you.
It’s time for you to finally validate yourself and start practicing self-care. Distance yourself from them, try using positive affirmations to remind yourself of your worth, and don’t ever go back to them!
Gaslighting is a serious condition. It might deeply affect your mental health. So, how to expose a gaslighter? You can use various methods like spotting the signs, being objective, and only speaking up when you are in control of your emotions.
However, if they continue gaslighting you, even after you expose them, then it’s definitely time to move on. Healing after escaping gaslighting isn’t easy.
So always remember that you should never be ashamed to seek help from family and friends or professional help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers 24/7 free, confidential phone and chat support if you’re experiencing gaslighting from a spouse or family member.
Contact a counselor by calling 1-800-799-7233.