Illustration for article titled What To Say When Someone Lights You With GasPhoto: JenJ_Payless (Shutterstock)

The term “gas lighting” – like psychological manipulation, not the 19th century profession – has been used widely over the past decade. And while it can be both overused and abused, awareness of the concept in general has been helpful to many people who have experienced this type of behavior from a partner, colleague, family member, or friend but didn’t have a word for it.

There are many articles out there that break down gas lighting, its origins and the causes associated with it. In short, it’s about one person making another person question – and doubt – their own memory of something in order to benefit from it in some way. in the an article for mindbodygreenTherapist Alyssa Mancao breaks down some of the signs that you are gas lit, as well as what to say to the person behind the manipulative behavior.

How to know if you are gas lit.

First, Mancao says it is important to recognize the symptoms of gas lighting that she explains here::

If a person is constantly exposed to gas, they will show signs of decreased self-esteem and emotional dependence on the perpetrator. During a conflict in which someone sets you on fire, you can experience a range of emotions, from confusion and anger to frustration, and find yourself in argumentative circles both out loud and in your head. This kind of back and forth is exhausting and can affect your confidence.

Some of the most common gas light phrases are:

  • “They make things up.”
  • “That never happened.”
  • “You are dramatic.”
  • “They blow things disproportionately.”

Support you

This is easier said than done when you face someone who is constantly trying to belittle and manipulate you, but Mancao says it’s important that you believe yourself – even when your gas lighter is trying to tell your own truths, memories, and Past perceptions distort events. It can be helpful to write things down to record how you feel while things are happening.

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What should I say to someone who lights you with gas?

If you’ve been in this situation yourself, you know how difficult it can be. As Mancao points out, some of the main gas light methods are to lie openly, postpone the narration, and try to minimize your feelings and experiences. “If you start the conversation knowing your purpose, instead of being rotated in the different directions a person with gas light can lead you, stay centered on a path,” she writes.

Also, don’t be afraid to just end the conversation and leave – that’s an option too. “The goal of the person lighting gas light is to make you doubt your perception. So if you walk away before the gas light becomes strong, you can maintain your perception of events,” explains Mancao.

If it helps to have certain sentences in your pocket, Mancao suggests this::

  • “My feelings and my reality are valid. I don’t appreciate you telling me that I’m too sensitive. “
  • “Don’t tell me how to feel; That’s how I feel.”
  • “I am allowed to explore these topics and conversations with you. Don’t tell me that I’m dramatic “
  • “I know what I saw.”
  • “I’m not going to continue this conversation if you keep minimizing what I’m feeling.” (Then implement the limit.)

Ultimately, try to be kind to yourself – even if it means walking away.