Thursday, December 15, 2011

Turning Off the Gas of Gaslighting

As mentioned in the previous post, a person must change their response to manipulation in order to disable it.  Gaslighters are manipulators who use a particular tactic to get what they want. Manipulators do what they do because their tactics work, and it generally involves little effort on their part. By stopping the cycle of giving a manipulator the response that they desire, a person can break the system. 
This will not happen overnight, and it generally takes a great deal of consistency and practice. If you're the person who has decided to stop giving into manipulation, remember that as you take on the challenge of teaching your manipulator the new system, you are also learning new skills yourself. Be gentle and kind to yourself, but don't give into the manipulation. You can learn to “turn off the gas” if you are willing to walk away from the manipulator to be free. That doesn't happen overnight.
Also remember that emotional growth and healing is never "linear."  It may seem like you have as many setbacks as you will successes, and often it seems as though you are taking steps backward. Remember that this is the nature of emotional healing and growth.  Remind yourself that this is how progress comes about.
Refer to the helpful hints and reminders about how to engage a manipulator. Be assertive, focusing on “I statements,” explaining how you feel, what you hope to accomplish, and what need. “You statements” tend to aggravate conflict and can imply that you know how he other party feels. By remaining focuses on your feelings and needs, you are better able to exercise self-control. 
Focus on what you will tolerate and decide that in advance of gentle confrontation. Define your boundaries, and remember that a boundary that you do not defend is not a boundary but merely an idea. Remember that you are the only factor that you control in the situation. Focus your attention on self-control. You may even wish to practice stating your boundary on a particular matter to return to it as a measure of defending it. You've got to teach your manipulator that you've established a new boundary, and they will need time to absorb the new information. Practice repeating your “bottom line” requirements.
It is usually a good idea to evaluate your own hot buttons and those of your manipulator in advance. Avoid them! :) And remember that there is no struggle for power if you do not contribute to the struggle. Opt out by sticking by your own boundaries and limits to disarm a struggle. Try to avoid the discussion of who is right and who is wrong and the details of the particulars, because this just fosters the competition, one that has no resolution. A manipulator in deep denial generally will not be swayed by objective facts, though this may be very hard to comprehend and accept. Focus on communicating how you feel and how you are affected when your perceptions are challenged. If the other party dose not respect you and how you are affected by their behavior, walk away from the conflict.
Consider the ideas about confronting a narcissist (by avoiding direct confrontation) and the posts about resisting influence and manipulation from the Under Much Grace site. They are archived HERE, and pay special attention to George Simon's list about “Tactics of Manipulation.”