Gaslighting: A Friend Who Isn’t Really A Friend
Recognizing the symptoms of gaslighting, and what to do about it.
Friendships are tricky. We all know that. But sometimes what we don’t realize is when certain friendships become unhealthy and toxic, thanks to gaslighting.
Having blunt friends and knowing that they want what’s best for you is a great thing, but when this turns into manipulation and negativity is when you have a problem.
It can become a draining habit for you and your friend when neither of you realizes that gaslighting is exactly what’s going on, from calling you ‘over-sensitive’ when you try to face the facts to always feel the need to point out your flaws.
What are some ways of recognizing if your so-called friend is gaslighting you?
- You don’t feel comfortable around them, maybe because of the way they make you feel about yourself like you owe them something, or you’re not good enough to be their friend.
- They use common gaslighting phrases to justify their actions and words like ‘I’m not being mean to you personally, I’m just a b****’ or ‘Stop being so dramatic, it was just a joke, no big deal!’.
- You always seem to be apologizing to them and making excuses for their behavior.
- You have a gut feeling that something is wrong in this friendship and just can’t pinpoint what exactly it is.
What can you do in such a complicated situation?
In an ideal situation, you’d just be able to talk this through with your friend and have them listen to how you truly feel without undermining or belittling your emotions. But, this is often easier said than done, especially when they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.
Remember that the most important thing is your own happiness and mental health, so stepping away from the friendship might actually be what’s best. Talking to other close friends might also help, and make you realize that your feelings are just as validated and important.
A friend who isn’t supporting you and who makes you feel worse about yourself isn’t really a friend at all, and it’s important to remember how much happier you’d be without them and their negativity surrounding your life.