Watch out for this subtle gaslighting tactic

A client of mine had a confrontation with a difficult family member the other day.

It seemed like it was going reasonably well. And then this family member said, “Hey, maybe you should try anti-depressants. I’ve been using them. They’re really good for me. Maybe they’d help you too.”

And it seemed like a kind of connecting, genuine, caring thing to say. But it’s a subtle form of gaslighting.

If you don’t know what gaslighting is, it’s where you undermine the person’s validity, you make them think they’re crazy, or you make it look like what they’re saying isn’t true.

This subtle variation, where the person suggests you need some kind of help and qualifies that by saying, “I get the same help for myself,” or even, “It worked for my sister” etc., we can call that the “Me too gaslight”.

What I mean by this is, when someone’s arguing with you, and then they say that you need to be on anti-depressants (or something like that), what they’re really saying is, “You’re crazy and none of the things you said matter or are true.”

And when they say, “Me too” – like “I’m also on anti-depressants” – that kind of thing, they’re trying to sneak it in with what looks like humility and empathy or sympathy, but it’s still just a gaslight.

They’re still saying there’s something wrong with you. Don’t fall for it.

Always remember: unsolicited advice/feedback is ALWAYS criticism!

For more on this topic, check out my podcast episode “Advanced Manipulation Techniques to Be Aware Of” 

One Response

  1. You can ask, “What makes you say that?” to explore how caring their suggestion really is. If their answer is an insult, that says it all

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