What to know how to expose a gaslighter?
If you’re being gaslighted by your partner, I’m sure you can feel something is wrong – but it can be incredibly difficult to prove it.
The nature of gaslighting means that your partner is trying to manipulate you and make you doubt your feelings.
The best thing you can do is take a step back, and evaluate their behavior to determine if you are being gaslit.
Here are 9 tips to help you expose a gaslighter!
9 Steps on How to Expose a Gaslighter
1. Take an Objective Look a Their Behavior
Gaslighting is not easy to identify, especially because the person doing the gaslighting is trying to hide their actions and make you feel as if you’re the one in the wrong.
If you suspect you’re being gaslit, however, you can identify it.
You’ll need to take a step back and take an objective look at all the situations you’re starting to question.
- Do their actions match up with what they’re saying?
- Are they trying to make you doubt your perception of reality?
- Do they pass things off as, “you’re going crazy”?
These are all signs that you may be being gaslit.
If you’re able to identify that their behavior doesn’t match up with what they’re saying, or can see that they’re clearly trying to manipulate you, you’re being gaslit.
Related – How to forgive someone for being toxic.
2. Don’t Do Anything When You’re Feeling Emotional
When you’re feeling emotional, it’s difficult to think rationally and make clear decisions.
If you’re in the middle of an argument with your partner and they start gaslighting you, it’s important not to engage.
You’ll likely get defensive and emotional and may end up blaming yourself – which is exactly what they want.
It’s important to remember that we can’t make our best decisions when we’re emotional.
Wait until you have a clearer head and some evidence as I’ll cover in this article, then you can expose them in a controlled way.
3. Write Down the Things They’re Doing and Saying
This might be the most important step, you need to start documenting the things they’re doing that prove they’re gaslighting.
If you’re recalling things from your memory, they’re only going to question what you’re saying and make you think that you remembered something wrong.
If you have things written down, or better you’ve recorded some of their actions, there is no doubting it happened.
4. Talk to Friends and Family About It
You might feel like you’re going crazy right now and that no one will believe you.
That’s part of the gaslighting process, making you feel isolated and alone so they can control you.
The first step to gaining back some control is talking to people who know both you and your partner.
Your friends and family will be able to see the changes in you and they can take a look at your situation from the outside and confirm what you’re feeling.
They can also provide some much-needed support as you start to expose the gaslighter.
Keep in mind, however, that you should only talk to people who you trust.
5. Don’t Try to Outsmart Them or Prove Them Wrong
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when being gaslit is trying to outsmart them or prove them wrong.
This will only escalate the situation and they’ll likely step up their gaslighting game.
It’s important to remember that they’re not interested in hearing your side or what really happened.
They just want to control you and make you question yourself.
Instead, as you’re building up evidence and preparing to expose them, just accept what they say and don’t fall for their manipulation.
6. Confront Them About Their Gaslighting Behaviors
Once you have enough evidence and you’re feeling confident, it’s time to confront them about their gaslighting behaviors.
This is not going to be an easy conversation, but it’s important that you stick to the facts.
Show them examples of their behavior that you’ve documented and explain how their actions have made you feel.
Be clear that you will not tolerate this behavior any longer and have a plan in place to leave if they continue to gaslight you.
The most important thing is that you stand strong and don’t let them talk their way out of it – that’s what gaslighters are good at.
Either they own it and admit they’re doing it or they agree to seek help. If they refuse to admit it, it doesn’t look good for the future of your relationship.
Related – A look at the damage toxic relationships can cause.
7. Don’t Let Them Talk You Around the Evidence!
As I said, gaslighters are good at talking their way out of things.
They might try to make you question your evidence or say that you’re overreacting.
They might even try to gaslight you again in the middle of the conversation!
The most important part of the process of exposing them is that you don’t let them do this.
Stick to the facts and don’t let them make you doubt yourself.
If they continue to gaslight you, then it’s time to end the relationship.
No matter how much you love your partner and how to help them, gaslighting is a very toxic behavior that only leads to misery in the long run.
8. Set Some Rules and Tell Them Things Need to Change
Maybe confronting your partner has made them realize what they’re doing and they’ve said they’re willing to change.
Whatever the reason, if they’ve said that they want to work on their relationship with you and are willing to change, you need to set some set rules in place.
You need to be very clear about what you will and won’t tolerate from them.
Set some boundaries and make sure they know that things need to change if you’re going to stay in the relationship.
If they break these rules, then you need to be prepared to leave.
Gaslighters often can’t help falling back into their previous behaviors as this is what makes them feel comfortable and in control of their situation.
It’s very hard for gaslighters to change. It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult, so be prepared for a battle!
9. Tell Them You Should Both See a Therapist
One of the best things you can do for your relationship is to seek professional help.
A therapist can help you work through the issues that led to the gaslighting in the first place and can provide some much-needed guidance on how to move forward.
They can also help your partner understand their behaviors and why they’re harmful.
It’s a big step if they agree to see a therapist, but it’s very likely to save your relationship.
If they care about you and the relationship, with some time to think about this you’d have to hope they agree to it!
Bonus Tip 10. Focus on Looking After Yourself!
This tip doesn’t relate directly to the process of exposing a gaslighter, but it’s crucial that you make time to care for yourself while in a toxic relationship.
Make sure you have a strong support system of friends and family on who you can rely on.
They will be able to offer you an outside perspective and can provide a listening ear when you need it.
It’s also important that you make time for yourself – do things that make YOU happy and relaxed away from engaging with your partner and their toxic actions.
This is going to be a difficult time, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and at the end of the day you need to make sure you’re happy.
What Are Examples of Gaslighting?
Gaslighting can take many different forms, but if you’re unsure of the signs, some common examples include:
- Your partner tells you that you’re overreacting to a situation when you know you’re not.
- Your partner constantly lies to you about things whether it’s a big or small deal.
- Your partner denies ever saying or doing something that you know they did.
- Your partner tries to make you doubt your own memory and perception of events.
- Your partner embarrasses you in public or in front of other people making you feel that you’re wrong about things.
- Your partner makes you feel like you’re crazy or overreacting.
- Your partner tries to control your behavior or tells you what to do.
- Your partner uses your personal insecurities against you.
- Your partner is always the victim and never takes responsibility for their own actions.
Does any of the above sound or feel familiar?
If so, please start to take the steps I covered above to not only expose your gaslighter but also to start distancing yourself from these toxic behaviors and heal yourself.
Image credits – Photo by christopher lemercier on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.