What Are The 4 Types of Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation where a person makes another person doubt their own sanity and perception of reality. This can be an incredibly damaging behavior that can leave victims feeling confused, isolated, and emotionally traumatized. Gaslighting can take many forms, and in this blog post, we will go over the 4 most common types of gaslighting and how you can recognize them.

The 4 Most Common Types of Gaslighting Tactics

The following are the 4 most common types of gaslighting tactics and how they may manifest in your personal relationships or interactions with others, with advice on how to deal with the situation.

Understanding these tactics can help you better spot when you or someone else is being gaslit and enable you to come up with coping mechanisms to safeguard yourself.

withholding affection - the 4 types of gaslighting

1. Withholding Information

One of the the 4 most common types of gaslighting is withholding information.

This is when an abuser purposefully withholds specific information or details to make the victim doubt their perception of reality or memory.

This type of gaslighting can be particularly damaging since it can make a person feel like they are going crazy or constantly being lied to.

Here’s a more detailed look at how withholding works and how to recognize and protect yourself from it.

How withholding works

When an abuser withholds information, they often present a version of events that purposely leaves out details or facts that would otherwise provide clarity or certainty.

This creates a situation where the victim is left feeling confused and uncertain about what really happened or if they may be mistaken about an important detail.

The abuser may withhold information for various reasons, such as to maintain control over the victim, punish them, or avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Ultimately, the purpose is to make the victim doubt themselves and their interpretation of events, keeping them emotionally dependent on the abuser.

How to recognize withholding

One of the key indicators of withholding as gaslighting is that the abuser presents a narrative where they hold all the information, and the victim is unsure of even the most fundamental of details of what happened.

Protecting yourself from withholding

If you suspect that someone is withholding information from you, it’s essential to trust your judgment and seek out the truth.

Keep track of important conversations by taking notes, recording phone or video calls, or asking the other party to back up any important topics.

In moments of doubt, take a step back and think about the facts you know, what may be missing, and if the story presented to you makes sense.

If someone is continually withholding information or presenting false versions of events, seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.

Remember, gaslighting is an incredibly damaging form of emotional abuse.

Understanding the various tactics and recognizing them early is key to protecting yourself and getting the help you need to heal.


2. Countering

Another one of the 4 most common types of gaslighting is countering, which is a tactic used by abusers to make the victim doubt their own perspective, memories, and emotions.

The abuser may repeatedly question the victim’s beliefs or recollections of events, contradict them, or dismiss them as inaccurate or overly emotional.

How countering works

Countering involves an abuser constantly challenging or contradicting the victim’s memories or perceptions, even when they are actually totally accurate.

As a result, the victim may start to second-guess themselves, constantly questioning their recollections, and decisions.

They may begin to feel that their memory and perception are not reliable, thus giving the abuser control in what is true or false.

The victim starts to lose their grip on reality, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Moreover, they might even end up relying solely on the abuser’s version of events due to fear of being wrong.

Furthermore, victims of countering may start to believe that they are being irrational or overly sensitive.

This belief can cause the victim to internalize the gaslighter’s manipulation and blame themselves, leading to feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem.

Protecting yourself from countering

To protect yourself from countering in personal relationships or professional settings, keep a log or journal of important conversations and events, along with the dates and time.

Discussions on messages or emails that can provide proof are also advisable.

If you feel like you are constantly being questioned or undermined about your experiences, take time to verify the details with reliable third-party sources.

Alternatively, look for evidence that contradicts what the abuser is saying, such as email chains, text messages, or pictures.

Reach out to trusted friends, family or professionals who can offer a different perspective, help you process your experiences and get you the support you need.

withholding affection - the 4 types of gaslighting

3. Withholding affection or attention

Withholding affection is another one of the 4 common types of gaslighting tactics used by abusers to exert control over their victims.

It involves the abuser withholding love, attention, or physical affection as a form of punishment.

How withholding works

The abuser may refuse to initiate physical touch or even criticize the victim for reaching out, saying things like “you’re too needy” or “I’m too tired.

Examples include a partner who stops being intimate or a parent who refuses to provide reassurance.

They may also threaten to withhold love, making it clear that the victim is unworthy of affection if they don’t comply with their wishes.

Protecting yourself from withholding affection

If you suspect you are experiencing withholding affection, recognize your worth and desire for love and affection.

Speak up to your abuser calmly and explain your true feelings, while avoiding blaming or accusing language.

Emphasize that a healthy relationship requires a mutual exchange of love, care, and intimacy.

If the abuser refuses to provide affection or remove the threat of withdrawing affection, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor.

Furthermore, form an emotional support system among people that respect and love you, and who can provide care and attention.

Always remember that healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, trust, and empathy.

blaming - the 4 types of gaslighting

4. Blaming

The final one of the 4 most common types of gaslighting tactics is blaming.

The abuser will prey on the victim’s insecurities, using blaming language and making them feel that they are at fault for whatever situation is occurring.

How blaming works

The abuser aims to create an environment where the victim blames themselves for anything that goes wrong even when it is not their fault.

When someone is using blaming as a gaslighting tactic, they may accuse or ridicule the victim rather than owning up to any mistakes they have made.

The abuser might also criticize your decisions or choices regardless of how rational or reasonable they seem, which can lead you to start questioning your own judgement and opinions.

Additionally, if the abuser shifts attention away from themselves by accusing others for faults that are theirs – take note because it could very well be that he or she is doing exactly the same thing to you.

Protecting yourself from blame

If you suspect you are experiencing blame from someone close to you, keep in mind that no one has the power to make you feel worthless unless you allow them to.

Try your best to stay connected with your worthiness regardless of what other people say about you.

Speak up firmly but calmly about your feelings and remind your abuser that criticism and accusations are not acceptable behaviours in healthy relationships

Final thoughts on the 4 Types of Gaslighting Tactics

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that aims to create an environment where the victim doubts themselves and their experiences.

It can have devastating effects on victims, but understanding the common tactics used by abusers can help victims recognize gaslighting behaviour and protect themselves.

We’ve discussed 4 common types of gaslighting tactics: withholding information, countering, withholding affection and blaming.

These tactics all involve distorting reality in order to make the victim feel as if they are at fault or as though their opinions or feelings don’t matter.

Recognizing these tactics and having an emotional support system around you with people that respect your worth are key to combatting gaslighting.

Moreover, seeking professional help from a counsellor or therapist can be invaluable in protecting yourself and healing after experiencing this form of psychological abuse.

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