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Gaslighting is a typical abusive relationship strategy. However, it’s also prevalent in various relationships; in addition to love relationships, it can also happen in parent-child ones. You could find that this kind of behavior is nearly acceptable if you recognize the warning signals that your parents are gaslighting you, even though it most certainly shouldn’t be.

This article has covered gaslighting parents, warning signs of toxic behaviors, and ways to deal with gaslighting from parents. For additional details, continue reading.

Table of Contents

What is gaslighting?

A form of mental abuse known as gaslighting involves repeated attempts to make victims question their memory, judgment, or sanity. Gaslighters use false circumstances or assertions to make their victims feel or appear “crazy.” To avoid taking accountability for their actions, a gaslighting parent repeatedly contradicts or denies a child’s experiences or feelings, leading the child to mistrust their memory.

A subtle and indirect kind of emotional abuse is parental gaslighting. To weaken their children’s perception of reality and mental well-being, these parents manipulate.

Some well-intentioned parents may gaslight their kids to keep them safe. However, many more do so to preserve authority, dominance, and a sense of justice in the interactions between parents and children.

Signs and examples of what a gaslighting parent says

Gaslighting Parents
Photo by Monstera Production

There are some visible signs and symptoms that show parents gaslighting.

1. They are always right

How do both you and your parents typically talk to one another? Are they receptive to hearing your thoughts and what you’ve got to say? Or do they assume you will comply with their orders because “they just said” or “they’re the adult or parent”? 

It can be difficult to have parents that don’t listen to you, and repeatedly being demeaned and treated like a child is sure to strain anyone’s self-esteem. The roots of fear and self-doubt planted in us when we don’t feel important, even by our parents in our own homes, become increasingly difficult to pull up as we age. 

2 They are verbally abusive to you

We all occasionally have disagreements with our parents. Parents sometimes lose their composure and yell. Everything about being human. However, verbal abuse is not typical.

It might wear you down and appear normal when you’re in a verbally abusive relationship, which is the problem. However, verbal abuse may be a clue that your parent is gaslighting you.

3. They deny or lie about what actually happened to fits their need

You are being gaslighted if your parents lie, reject, or cast doubt on your memories or emotional states. Your confidence in your personality decreases due to the frequent feeling that you must defend reality. You might also be unsure of your relationship with the other person to reassure yourself.

It’s possible for your parents to outright claim that they didn’t do or say anything.

Gaslighting is evident if your parents made statements or took actions that they later recanted or lied about. Your impression of what happened and your recall of what happened, as a result, become suspect.

4. They pull out their victim card and shift the blame on you

Gaslighting in parents keeps them from realizing their contribution to difficulties in their lives. Conversely, they think that their kids are to blame for all of their problems and always generate chaos in their life. Parents who are hidden egomaniacs, psychopaths, or gaslighters frequently pull the victim game.

Cruel or toxic parents may experience a victim mentality and lack a suitable outlet for their resentment. They employ gaslighting to mask their fears because they are reluctant to break old habits. As an illustration, gaslighting parents may transfer their problems onto their children and reprimand them for how they think.

5. They invalidate your feelings and experiences

When parents gaslight their children, whether a mistake, setback or everyday stress, the child often feels terrible about the challenging scenario. Rather than offering their child help and support, they ignore, invalidate, and disregard their child’s emotions. Gaslighting is certainly present in this approach.

If parents minimize their children’s emotions, it suggests that their actual experiences are unimportant or inappropriate. The child may become perplexed by this, develop self-doubt, and think they are going insane. Denying your emotions indicates that your parents want to prove that you are mistaken, exaggerating, or lying. Turning the situation around and placing the blame on the victim is a deceitful move.

6. They put words into your mouth

The gaslighting parents manipulate the feelings of their children. The parent tells their child what they are feeling by saying things like:

  • You’re not cold. You’re hungry
  • Your body needs rest; go to bed
  • You’re just cranky; it has nothing to do with what that guy said or did.

If these type of statements frequently comes from parents, they are gaslighting you by denying your feelings.

7. They are being overly controlling

Do your parents decide what to wear or who you can and cannot hang out with? Do they prevent you from meeting people or visiting particular locations simply because they dislike it? Do they take judgments on your behalf without even seeking your input? Even when we’re little, it’s normal for parents to advise kids on what to enjoy or behave. Still, it becomes poisonous and troublesome when they prevent kids from making their own decisions and forming their own identities without their interference or control.

How gaslighting affects the child

Gaslighting Parents
Photo by Caleb Woods

The rejection of facts is one of gaslighting’s most harmful elements. Being prevented from doing what you believe to be true and have witnessed. Anybody who experiences it may feel crazy, yet they are normal.

The child may get confused, develop self-doubt, and have worse self-esteem due to the parent’s gaslighting tactics. They might experience depression or anxiety. In extreme circumstances, the youngster may suffer from mental health problems, including psychosis, as their warped world grows.

What to do when you have a gaslighting parent

The following actions can be taken by grown children who experience continual gaslighting from their parents to safeguard themselves:

1. Take some time out for yourself

Let yourself be completely present and concentrate on being present in the moment.

Also Read: Learn How To Be Yourself In 10 Easy Steps

2. Journal of record the abuse

Journaling enables you to maintain a reliable source of information even if your memory is questioned. If you start to doubt yourself, getting something recorded provides you something tangible and an understanding of your genuine experience.

3. Establish clear limits

Even if your parents possess an amount of authority, it’s crucial to set clear boundaries with them so that you can restrict how much of your life they can influence. You can’t let anyone else manage your emotions. Therefore, boundaries help you keep them under control.

4. Identify it

Accept that this will happen and that you won’t be able to influence your parents. Allowing things to go does not imply agreement or belief; rather, it simply indicates that you won’t exhaust yourself attempting to fight.

5. Assess your own worth

Have means of validating your emotions, whether through journaling, another form of expression, or a support network.

6. Have evidence on hand

If you have a witness around or with you when a problem arises, you can use that person as strength to convince others of the validity of your claim. 

7. Get assistance

To maintain your sense of worth and self-esteem, seeking therapy or psychotherapy is a great next step.

When you need to reach out for professional help

When the problem of gaslighting parents is recognized, assistance should be sought. Based on your concerns, it may be difficult to discuss them with your parents. Therefore, it’s vital to think about either individual or family counseling. Given how emotionally unstable and violent gaslighting parents can be, it’s critical to get assistance as soon as you suspect any form of threat. Abuse of any type should never be accepted, and you do not have to put up with it. A therapist can assist in making this become an accepted notion.

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Vivien Roggero - Elite Transformation and Executive Coach
Vivien Roggero, an Elite Transformation and Executive Coach, specializes in high-performance coaching and personal transformation, guiding professionals to peak success and fulfillment. With decades of experience, Vivien empowers high achievers, executives, and entrepreneurs through mindset shifts and strategic development.
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