Actively affirm your memories and experiences. When you’re being told that you “never remember anything right,” for instance, intentionally remind yourself that this isn’t true.
Positive self-affirmations are critical when learning to trust yourself again.
When you are experiencing gaslighting, try to think things along the lines of “I am capable of knowing what I saw/heard/felt,” “This is only being done to hurt me,” and “My feelings are valid.”
3. Push Back
Pushing back is something that isn’t always possible for people. Many people are in situations where they’re financially dependent on their abuser, are minors living with abusive parents, or are at risk for increased abuse and physical violence if they push back.
However, if you’re in a situation where you feel like pushing back is an option, go for it.
Call that person out on it. Let that person know that they’re actively dismissing claims you know to be true. Letting them know that you’re sticking to your guns and standing by what you remember causes the abuser to begin to lose power.
Some quick come backs to push back with include “Ignoring what’s hurting me is abusive,” “Dismissing my feelings won’t make me forget that you’ve hurt me,” and “I know you’re trying to manipulate me, but I stand by what I said/felt/heard/saw.”
These types of phrases bring attention to the patterns and behaviors that those who are gaslighting you don’t want you to see.
And hearing yourself validate your own feelings and experiences will also help you really learn to trust yourself again.
When you have this power – your own sense of truth – stripped away from you, it’s hard to feel like that voice inside your head can do anything but lie to you.
But those moments of tension, of pulling, of back and forth that occur? They happen because your brain knows what’s really true and is trying to tell you that you can be trusted – even through this manipulation.
You are strong. Your feelings are valid. Your memory is trustworthy. If you feel hurt, you have been hurt. If you feel angry, someone has upset you.
Your lived experiences are your own – and you have every right to feel through them and to react to things that have done you harm. You are worthy and capable of being able to trust yourself again.
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