Anonymous said:how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now…
Yes on distorted thinking and gaslighting being not-mutually-exclusive. I had distorted thinking when I had situational depression as a teen and I thought everyone in the world hated me (literally everyone. And that I deserved it). At the same time, my parents were being emotionally abusive and they were gaslighting me about it. At that point I was also getting very angry/frustrated with their utter lack of action on the bullying front and was calling them out a lot about it and they were always, “no, that’s not what happened” even though it was.
Journaling is really useful for this, too, I found. Just write down the conversation and come back to it a while later after the heat of the moment is gone and look over it again. Future-you can reality-check now-you. Plus, journaling helps if they’re prone to denying that conversations even happened, like my parents are. If your abuser says, “No, you never told me that Jonas was bothering you! If you told me, I would have done something!” you can go back to your journal and if you find an entry that says you told them about Jonas and they laughed at you, you know you’re right. In this way, past-you can also reality check now-you.
Those are good suggestions.
One thing though: I think the main point of accumulating evidence is to figure out for yourself what’s going on. It can also be good as a way to show other people what’s going on.
It’s worth being a lot more cautious about using evidence to confront an abuser. People who are gaslighting you already know they’re lying, and they’re already committed to tricking you. When you gather evidence and figure out for sure that they’ve been manipulating you, that will shift your perspective considerably. But for them, it will not be a perspective-shifting revelation because they already *know* that they’re gaslighting you.
So, be careful about thinking that you can find arguments and proofs that will convince someone to stop gaslighting you. If you’re in that situation, the most important thing is probably to find ways of protecting yourself.