Are you in a relationship where you feel like you’re going crazy?
You’ve lost yourself, and you just don’t know what to believe anymore.
If so, you may be a victim of a gaslighter.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and control where a person tries to twist your sense of reality.
This is abusive behavior and should not be overlooked.
However, it is possible to turn the tables on a gaslighter and take your power back.
How Do You Outsmart a Gaslighter?
Maybe you’ve discovered you have a gaslighter in your life.
You might not know how to deal with their toxic behavior. The first thing to remember is that trying to reason with them is likely to backfire on you.
If you’re unsure how to get revenge on a gaslighter, the answer is simple: Beat them at their own game. However, that’s often easier said than done. The following are different strategies you can use to deal with a gaslighter:
- Turn their tactics on them, so they get a taste of their own medicine.
- Call them out directly by saying something like, “Don’t gaslight me.”
- Stay silent during outbursts until they get tired of yelling with no reaction.
- Don’t doubt yourself – they will see that as vulnerability.
- Be the bigger person by responding calmly and maturely.
How to Turn the Tables on a Gaslighter with 13 Smart Tactics
If you’re wondering how to mess with a gaslighter, the following tactics are smart ways you can shut them down and turn the tables.
1. Empathize with them.
As difficult as it may be at the moment, sometimes the best option in situations with a gaslighter is to be the bigger person.
A gaslighter’s goal is to push you to the point of snapping back at them, and once you do, they will label you as crazy. So, you take away their power by making them feel understood and respected.
Not only that, but it can allow you to make sense of their actions. It doesn’t make it acceptable, but empathizing with them can sometimes help explain their behavior.
2. Listen to their side of the story.
Not every gaslighter is a toxic, bad person – sometimes the behavior results from their own pain and suffering. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to mistreat you.
However, by taking the time to listen to their side of the story, you might be able to resolve the conflict. Listen to them without interrupting or starting an argument.
When they feel heard by you, they may stop their toxic behaviors. If they are a good person in general, they’ll feel guilty for how they treated you, and that’s sometimes the best kind of revenge.
3. Confront them about their behavior.
A gaslighter’s flaw is believing they are the smartest person in the room. In their minds, you are beneath them, and there is absolutely no way you could’ve caught on to their behavior.
Confront them about their manipulative behavior by letting them know you see what they’re doing, and you will not deal with it anymore.
Since gaslighting is most effective when the victim doesn’t realize what’s going on, they may realize that fighting with you isn’t worth the effort because you’ve outsmarted them.
4. Let them win.
For a gaslighter, just winning an argument isn’t enough. Since they thrive on getting you worked up emotionally, they don’t want you to go down without a fight.
Because of this, sometimes the wisest course of action is to let them win. This can be very difficult to do when you know you are right, but it will ease tensions on both sides.
Not only that, but they won’t have the satisfaction of riling you up in a pointless argument.
5. Show no emotion.
When a gaslighter is messing with your head, it can be a very upsetting experience. It’s completely normal to feel sad or angry, but you don’t want to outwardly show those emotions.
Gaslighters thrive on getting you riled up and playing with your feelings, and it often only makes the manipulation worse.
The best thing to do is show absolutely no emotion. Pretend as if you don’t care at all – the situation means nothing to you. Your gaslighter will be left scratching their head in confusion.
6. Don’t debate with them.
A gaslighter wants you to argue with them because it’s one of the easiest ways to make you upset and give in to their demands. As much as you may want to prove your point, it’s often better to just shut them down.
The gaslighter will use anything you say in an argument against you. By refusing to debate with them, you are taking away their ammunition.
They will be left feeling confused and frustrated that they couldn’t manipulate you.
7. Avoid getting defensive.
The worst thing you can do when it comes to a gaslighter is to justify, explain, or defend your behavior. You know you are in the right, so perhaps you think you can help them “see the light” by presenting your side.
This will likely backfire on you. Gaslighters will use anything you say as ammo against you. They will twist your words to fit their narrative, and when you get rightfully upset, they call you crazy.
They expect you to get defensive, so turn the tables by surprising them with a different reaction.
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8. Communicate calmly rather than arguing.
We’ve already established that you shouldn’t debate with a gaslighter – so what is the best course of action?
To turn the tables on a gaslighter, you want to communicate in a way that is clear, firm, and, most importantly, calm.
Say things like, “I’m not willing to discuss this topic right now” or “If you keep speaking to me this way, I will walk away.” Make sure you speak in an even tone so they can’t accuse you of yelling or trying to pick a fight.
9. Don’t let them change the subject.
If a gaslighter feels like you’ve got the upper hand in a situation, they will try to flip it back on you by changing the subject.
This is an attempt to get out of the consequences of their actions, but you should stand your ground and let them know you’re not interested in talking about anything else right now.
No matter how many times they try to switch the topic, circle back to the issue at hand. Once they realize you’re not going to budge, they’ll get tired of trying and give up.
10. Gather proof.
The main goal of most gaslighters is to make you feel crazy or like you’ve lost touch with reality. They will often accuse you of things you haven’t done. When you catch them doing something wrong, they deny and deflect until you start questioning yourself.
This is why it’s essential to keep a record of things. Save screenshots of text conversations, take photos, or even jot down your version of events on a piece of paper.
You are better equipped to deal with a gaslighter when you aren’t questioning your sanity.
11. Stop engaging and walk away.
If someone is gaslighting you, they do so because they want to get a reaction out of you. This means the best way to outsmart them is to simply stop engaging.
Don’t try to defend yourself or reason with them. Don’t even look their way. Just stare straight ahead in silence. If they continue their behavior, just walk away.
This is one of the most frustrating situations for a gaslighter because it makes them feel powerless.
12. Don’t fall for love bombing.
When you stop engaging and appear emotionless to a gaslighter, they will start to panic internally. Once you’ve caught on to them and stopped accepting their behavior, you are one step closer towards escaping their clutches – and they don’t want that.
You can expect an outpour of affection and promises that they will change. However, this is just an attempt to get you to stay.
Don’t fall for the love bombing because they will soon revert to their manipulation tactics.
13. Be the first to leave.
Maybe you are stuck in an ongoing relationship with a gaslighter. You’re exhausted with their behavior, and you feel like a shell of the person you used to be.
Gaslighters enjoy breaking their victims down until they are too overwhelmed to leave. The absolute best way to turn the tables on one is to take their power away completely by leaving the situation.
Block their number, delete them on social media, and move on with your life in peace.
FAQs About Relationship Gaslighting
If you are in a manipulative relationship, the following answers will leave you better equipped to nip gaslighting behavior in the bud.
How do you outsmart a gaslighter?
To outsmart a gaslighter, you have to beat them at their own game. Make sure to collect proof so that they can’t deflect or deny the truth. Once you have them cornered, confront them directly about their manipulative behavior.
How do you destroy a gaslighter?
The best way to destroy a gaslighter is to appear emotionless. They enjoy getting a rise out of you, so it’s frustrating to them when they don’t get the reaction they expected.
When they realize you don’t care anymore, they will likely try convincing you they’ll change, but don’t fall for it.
How do you hold a gaslighter accountable?
Hold a gaslighter accountable by standing firm in your truth. Build confidence and nip toxic behaviors in the bud immediately.
Don’t allow them to belittle you or convince you that your memory is flawed. However, consider that it might be better to exit the relationship rather than try to fix manipulative behavior.
What to say to someone who is gaslighting you?
When someone is gaslighting you, shut them down by saying, “I’m not continuing this conversation.”
If they’re trying to convince you your version of events is wrong, say, “That wasn’t the experience I had. I know what I saw.” Or, “My feelings are valid, and I don’t appreciate you minimizing them.”
If you have a gaslighter in your life who keeps messing with your head, you can turn the tables by outsmarting them. The best revenge is taking your power back by beating them at their own game.