6 Ways To Stop Gaslighting In A Relationship

Photo: ShotPrime Studio / Shutterstock
woman and man upset
Heartbreak

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation through the use of extreme brainwashing and bullying.

For victims of gaslighting, coming up with the tools and know-how to stop gaslighting can be difficult if not downright impossible.

According to Love and Cosmic Coach Ronnie Ryan, "Since you have no control over your partner who is gaslighting you, I don't see how you can possibly stop it. Gaslighting is when someone else denies what is going on, blames you, or makes you feel like everything is your fault. It causes you to feel like you can do nothing right and possibly you are crazy." 

When you love someone, the last thing you would expect them to do is to manipulate you and make you doubt yourself. Sometimes it ends up happening and you don't even realize until later because you were (or are) so in love.

However, gaslighting in romantic relationships can be extremely damaging.

In order to take down a gaslighter, you have to remember to not give them control and stand up for yourself in order for it to stop. 

RELATED: How To Know If Someone's Racially Gaslighting You — And 10 Ways To Respond

How to Confront Gaslighting

If you believe your partner is gaslighting you and you want to learn how to stop it, you first need to learn how to confront a gaslighter. 

It's a good idea to confront the gaslighting partner because they might either not realize they are gaslighting you, or they might realize they have a bad defense mechanism but don't know what it's called or how to stop, which is unconscious gaslighting.

If that's the case, then you can help them understand what gaslighting is, what that looks like, and how it makes you feel.

If you want to remove toxic patterns from the relationship, then this is a step in the right direction.

However, if you're dealing with gaslighting from a partner who has a personality disorder such as narcissism, especially one who is emotionally abusive, you must remove yourself from the situation. You shouldn't engage in conversation or let your partner know your perspective or feelings. It's going to take too much energy out of you in order to convince them because the chances of that are very slim.

If it persists then you have no choice but to leave the relationship, it's not worth it being manipulated and brainwashed 24/7. Spend time with friends and family members and learn how to be yourself again.

If you're worried that your gaslighting partner will ignore you as usual when you try to respond to him or her then you need to be prepared to start the conversation first so they don't get a chance to talk over you and ignore your response. 

RELATED: 18 Signs Of Gaslighting & Examples Of How It Plays Out In Abusive Relationships

6 Ways to Stop Gaslighting in a Relationship

1. Seek support from trusted people.

If you think you can't do this alone, it's very important that you find help from others to help you confront a gaslighter.

Before you confront someone who is gaslighting you, you should talk to your trusted friends outside of your relationship in order to make yourself feel validated and gain the courage to confront your partner. This will also help you feel affirmed in your experience with gaslighting as your trusted friend can let you know if they think it's gaslighting as well.

Reminders and empathy from others can make you feel deeply supported which is the strength you need to feel better. You can also talk to a mental health professional or therapist to get professional approval that your partner really is a gaslighter.

2. Take some space away from your partner.

In order to help yourself feel ready to confront your partner, you need to be ready both physically and emotionally. 

If you need a break from the conversation, then leave because you can always come back. Go for a walk, take a break outside, and if they don't let you leave, do some breathing exercises and ground yourself with an object near you like a photo or a lamp or something you can look at.

When you're confronting your partner you need to remain calm and persistent as it will help the conversation run more smoothly and more effectively. No matter how mad you might get at your partner for denying what you're saying, try to keep calm because your distress will only encourage them to keep manipulating you.

It will also help you with your focus in the conversation and telling the truth, not letting their false narrative get to you.

3. Collect evidence to build your case.

If you need to show your partner physical evidence like recordings, screenshots of texts, notes of each red flag he has brought up or quoting direct quotes from a conversation, even better.

You want your partner to listen and realize each and every one of his gaslighting tactics, gaslighting behaviors, and gaslighting phrases in conversation.

By letting them hear their own behavior back to them, they might realize how terrible they sound. Make sure you collect your evidence in a secure and secret place. 

4. Speak up to your partner about their behavior.

If you prove to your partner that their gaslighting hasn't worked on you because you aren't confused or have a lack of confidence, then they may decide that gaslighting you isn't worth the struggle.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

If you call your partner out for the criticism and insults that they've made towards you in a calming way, then they might realize and listen to you. If you do this in a calm (yet stern) voice, they might try and understand what they have been doing wrong, and it also gives them the incentive to leave you alone. 

If they respond by criticizing you about something fight back and tell them or even show them that they are wrong.

5. Remain confident in your recall of events.

A gaslighter will always make you question what really happened in a story of events and you have to remind yourself and stay true to your version of the story. Don't let them confuse you in any way or give in to the urge to question yourself.

Repeat what you know with confidence, and if you have proof, even better. Try to remain calm as if the conversation turns into an argument then you'll be put in a vulnerable position easy to manipulate.

6. Focus on your own self-care.

The number one importance in a relationship is to take care of your own physical and emotional needs. Practicing healthy self-care can make a difference in improving your mental state. Worry and fear have the power to negatively impact your job, relationships, or life in general making it hard to find the simple pleasures in life.

"The only thing you can do is take care of yourself. Talk to a professional to be sure you are being gaslighted. Build up your confidence and belief in yourself again. If you're sure you are being gaslighted, stop engaging with that person. There is no way to make someone stop doing this — except not to play by their rules," says Ryan.

If you dedicate a good chunk of time to relax and practice wellness, then you will get stronger.

You can also practice positive self-talk by reminding yourself of your accomplishments and strengths. Other things that could help are meditation, yoga, journaling, and engaging in physical activity like running.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse, you are not alone. Gaslighting can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor for free support, 24/7.

RELATED: 10 Subtle Signs He's Gaslighting You (And Making You Feel Crazy)

Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers news & entertainment, love & relationships, and internet culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.