Here are 4 common things God will show you to protect you from getting gaslighted by someone.
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1. If You Lose Confidence in Your Sanity Every Time You Talk to This Person, This Is a Good Sign You Are Getting Gaslighted
The term “gaslighting” came from a movie called “Gaslight” in which a husband begins to convince his wife that she is going insane by tampering with the gaslights and telling her that it’s all in her own head. Now this term is used to describe manipulation which causes someone to question their own sanity, perception of reality, or even their own memories.
Common phrases that get used with gaslighting are things like:
- Are you sure that really happened? I don’t remember it that way at all.
- I never said that. Why would you every accuse me of saying something like that?
- You always attack me even though I’m not doing anything bad.
- You are just being too sensitive. You are perceiving this all wrong.
- It’s really not a big deal. No one else would react like you are reacting.
No one is always right. Relationships are never comprised of two perfect people nor are they comprised of one perfect person and one imperfect person. Relationships are always formed with two imperfect people. Therefore, a healthy relationship will involve a lot of mutual confession and reconciliation.
If someone always needs to be right, this means you will always need to be wrong. But since no one is always wrong, this person will need to make you question your own sanity in order to make themselves appear right and you wrong.
To avoid being gaslighted, look for someone who seeks to obey Philippians 2:3-5 (NIV):
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus . . . .”
2. If You End Up Feeling Like a Monster Around This Person Even Though You Really Are Not Trying to Hurt Them, This Is Often a Sign You Are Getting Gaslighted
Let’s say you caught your boyfriend or girlfriend talking to their ex. Then they say, “Why are you mad at me for talking with my ex? We’re just friends. I didn’t tell you because I knew you couldn’t handle it. You clearly don’t trust me. Why do you have such a poor view of me? What did I do to deserve this?” Now instead of them looking like the bad guy because you caught them communicating with their ex, now you are the bad guy because you don’t trust this person. This is an example of getting gaslighted because now you are the monster and they are the victim even though you didn’t do anything wrong and they did.
This is exactly what happened to Jesus during his earthly ministry. Whatever he did, his enemies played the victim-card. In Matthew 11:16-19 Jesus said:
But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
No matter what God did to reach these people, he was their enemy and they wanted to be offended. John was accused of being too serious and Jesus was accused of being too joyful. In the end, they deceived all the people and persuaded them to crucify Jesus by accusing him of wrongs and pretending like they were the victims (Matthew 26:59-60).
If someone is always the victim and you always end up feeling like a complete failure who is constantly hurting them, this means you are getting gaslighted.
3. If You End Up Questioning Your Own Motives Because of This Person’s Constant Accusations, This Is a Sign of Getting Gaslighted
If after talking with someone you end up saying things to yourself like, “Well maybe I did really mean to hurt them with my tone. Maybe I was mad and I didn’t realize it. I’m such a failure.” Or, “Well maybe I am just jealous of their popularity and I’m being insecure about myself. Maybe it is okay for them to spend time with other women when I’m not around.” Or, “Well maybe I am selfish and I do spend too much time with my friends. Maybe she’s right and I need to grow up.”
It’s healthy to have someone in your life who will lovingly point out concerns or issues. But no one knows your heart except God (1 Samuel 16:7). No one knows your motives.
As Jesus said, “Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19). Let your actions speak for themselves. Don’t let someone condemn you by stating they know your motives better than you do. This is a form of gaslighting.
4. If You Know What You Want to Do but Every Time You Talk with This Person You Change Your Mind, This Is a Sign of Getting Gaslighted
When someone is gaslighting you, everything will be so clear to you until you start talking to this person and listening to their responses.
For example, if you want to break up with them, then your friends validate that this is a good decision, but then every time you try to leave this person they convince you to give them just one more chance, this is gaslighting. Or if you will feel convicted about committing sexual sin together and you tell them you have to stop or else you will need to break up, but later that night somehow you are back in bed together, this is probably gaslighting. Or maybe you are finally working up the courage to pursue a dream you have but then every time you mention it to this person you walk away feeling like this dream is a dumb idea and it’s unwise to pursue it, this is gaslighting.
As Paul warned in Galatians 1:6-7, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” While this verse is mostly about not being deceived to believe a different gospel, we can see the principle here that there really are people who will try to trouble your mind in order to manipulate you.
It’s healthy to listen to other people’s advice and counsel at times. But if you always seem to get your mind changed by this person even though they are convincing you to do something you don’t really want to do, this is not healthy and you are probably getting gaslighted.
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