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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mohita Shrivastava

Are you gaslit? Here’s how to lighten up from the emotional abuse of ‘gaslighting’

Updated: Apr 4

Do you often hear phrases like ‘it’s your fault’, ‘stop exaggerating’, ‘you are always in a defensive mode’, ‘you can’t even take a joke’, ‘you lack acceptance’, ‘you sound selfish & mean’ etc. from your spouse, partner, family, or colleagues?

If yes, then understand that you are being a victim of ‘Gaslighting’, a form of emotional abuse handled at the psychological level by these people, the ‘gaslighters’.

Gaslighting is a wicked & intentional emotional abuse in which one person or group of people manipulates the victim into doubting their thoughts, feelings, judgement, perception, reality & memories.

The main aim of the gaslighting is to create doubt, undermine self-confidence, and

cause victim to lose their sense of identity, worth & perception by accepting that is not true - the gaslighter’s version of reality.

Gaslighters often use below mentioned psychological manipulation techniques to

emotionally abuse. Let’s understand them first & then learn how to dismantle their

unrealistic ‘gaslit fort’.

By trivializing i.e minimizing your feelings & advocating that your emotions are

insignificant & blame you of overreacting

By countering, here they doubt your memory, create new details or deny the things that

have happened & accuse you of the situation instead

By withholding, gaslighters erase your attempts to have a reality & fact-based

discussion rather label you as being confused

By blocking or diversion, raising your concern about their abusive behavior, they change

the subject or hold you responsible for ‘making it up’

By denying or forgetting, in case if you try to make them remember or mention a specific event or something they said earlier, they shut you down by saying that they forgot or can’t remember, or it never happened at all

By discrediting, they put forth the suggestion of you being confused easily or making

things up or having a weak memory.

Here’s how to lighten up & take control back from the gaslighters

When reflecting about being gaslighted, try & comprehend your feelings & reality not the actions or words of the gaslighters

Use bold & assertive responses like, ‘I know what I have exactly experienced’, ‘If

your feelings are valid so is mine’, ‘I have heard your point of view multiple times,

but I still don’t agree with you’, ‘I know what’s best for me’, ‘My emotions are not

for debate or argue’, ‘I think we remember things differently’, ‘This is how I want

it, It is my life’ etc.

Use affirmations for maintaining your confidence, motivation & self-worth

Focus on selfcare- spend time with what you like, nurture your hobbies, groom

yourself, use relaxation techniques

Involve people you trust to get insight and support. Seeking input from impartial

people can help reinforce your knowledge, and will delete the label of you being

confused or crazy or losing your memory

Collect evidence to document your interactions to keep track of reality when

gaslighters deny a conversation or event using screenshots of texts/emails,

pictures, noting date/time or recording conversations.

Seek professional, legal local bodies help if getting psychologically, physically

& emotionally abusive

‘Gaslighting’ is the ‘Merriam Webster word of the year 2022’ but let’s pledge to

ourselves not to make it the word of ‘our lives ‘in the new year 2023!!!


Dr. Mohita Shrivastava is a guest writer and associate trainer of Calmfidence Academy. She is an internationally trained neuroscientist & a neuropsychologist and Founder of the  ‘Cognitome Program‘. 

She holds a Ph.D. degree (Neuroscience) from AIIMS, New Delhi, India & completed her collaborative Ph.D. research training from Kansas University Medical Centre, Kansas, USA. She holds two master’s degrees, one in Biomedical Sciences from University of Delhi and other in Applied Clinical Psychology from Annamalai University. She also holds an Advanced PG Diploma in Applied Neuropsychology from University of Bristol, United Kingdom. She has also completed a refresher skill enhancement training on "fMRI in Neuroscience Research'' organized by MGH Athinuola Martino's Centre for Brain Imaging in collaboration with Harvard University, MIT, Massachusetts, Boston, USA in 2021. 

She has been involved in neuroscience and neuropsychology teaching, research, projects & outreach, cognitive skills restructuring/training and brain, mind & behavior, guidance, counselling for more than 12 years. She has also published various research & review articles in international peer reviewed journals.

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