Skip to content
Home » The Cycle Breaker Blog » Gaslighting: What It Is and How to Recognize It

Gaslighting: What It Is and How to Recognize It

Gaslighting: What It Is and How to Recognize It

What is gaslighting?

If you have found this blog or searching for this topic, you might be experiencing some confusing manipulation tactics at the hands of a romantic partner, a parent, or your boss.

You might have heard the term “gaslighting” in passing and asked yourself, am I experiencing gaslighting? This blog will answer the question of what is gaslighting and how to recognize it.

Gaslighting Definition

Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation where a person or group makes someone question their own reality, memories, or perceptions. It is a form of psychological abuse that involves lying, distorting facts, and manipulating the victim’s thoughts and emotions.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1944 film “Gaslight,” in which a husband manipulates his wife into thinking she is losing her mind by dimming the gas lights in their home and then denying that the lights have changed.

Characteristics of Gaslighting

Gaslighting is often used by individuals who want to control or dominate others. Some common characteristics of gaslighting include:

  1. Denial – the abuser denies that they said or did something, or that something happened, despite evidence to the contrary.
  2. Misdirection – the abuser changes the subject or shifts blame to make the victim doubt their own perceptions.
  3. Contradiction – the abuser contradicts themselves, causing confusion and making it difficult for the victim to know what is true.
  4. Isolation – the abuser may try to isolate the victim from friends and family to gain more control over them.
  5. Projection – the abuser accuses the victim of doing things that they are actually doing themselves.

Gaslighting Examples

Gaslighting can happen in any type of relationship, whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a workplace setting. Here are some examples of gaslighting:

  1. A romantic partner tells their significant other that they are imagining things when they bring up concerns about their behavior.
  2. A boss tells an employee that they are incompetent, even though they are doing a good job, to make them doubt their abilities.
  3. A friend tells another friend that they are overreacting when they express hurt feelings about something hurtful the friend said.

The Impact of Gaslighting

Gaslighting can have a serious impact on the victim’s mental health and well-being. Victims of gaslighting may experience:

  1. Anxiety – victims may constantly doubt themselves and their perceptions, leading to feelings of anxiety.
  2. Depression – victims may feel hopeless and helpless, as they begin to doubt their own ability to make decisions or trust their own thoughts.
  3. Self-doubt – victims may start to doubt their own abilities and second-guess themselves in all areas of their lives.
  4. Guilt – victims may blame themselves for the abuser’s behavior, even though they are not responsible.

How to Recognize Gaslighting

Recognizing gaslighting is the first step in protecting yourself from its effects. Here are some signs that you may be experiencing gaslighting:

  1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself and your own perceptions.
  2. You feel like you are “going crazy” or losing your mind.
  3. You are constantly apologizing for things that are not your fault.
  4. You feel like you are walking on eggshells around the abuser, afraid to upset them.
  5. You feel isolated and like no one understands what you are going through.

How to Deal with Gaslighting

Dealing with gaslighting can be difficult, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. Here are some tips:

  1. Trust yourself – remind yourself that your thoughts and perceptions are valid.
  2. Set boundaries – establish clear boundaries with the abuser and stick to them.
  3. Seek support – talk to a therapist or trusted friend about your experiences.
  4. Get out – if the gaslighting is happening in a romantic relationship, consider leaving the relationship.

How to Prevent Gaslighting

Preventing gaslighting can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are some tips:

  1. Know the signs – educate yourself on the signs and characteristics of gaslighting.
  2. Trust your instincts – if something feels off or you feel like you are being manipulated, trust your instincts and take action.
  3. Speak up – if you notice someone else being gaslit, speak up and offer support.
  4. Build a support system – surround yourself with people who uplift and validate you, and who will call out any gaslighting behavior they may witness.


Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation that can have serious effects on a person’s mental health and well-being. By understanding the signs and characteristics of gaslighting, we can better recognize it and take steps to protect ourselves and others.

Trusting our instincts, setting boundaries, seeking support, and educating ourselves are key to preventing and dealing with gaslighting. Remember, you are not alone, and your thoughts and perceptions are valid.

🤞Subscribe to The Cycle Breaker Blog!

Subscribe to receive education, encouragement, and community in your inbox. No spam here.