mind by design


Subscribe To Our Email List For
Freebies, Blogs, Mental Health Resources & More

How to Overcome Gaslighting & Manipulation

Cut 'Em Off At the Knees

Leave Your Info

We’ll respond within 24 hours
Updated New Client Request

Meet Our Team of Kickass Therapists

Follow Us on Social

Gaslighting is a psychological tactic that’s become a term we hear all too frequently in relationships. Gaslighting is far more insidious than lying or denying something to avoid conflict. Instead, it involves manipulating someone’s sense of reality. It’s important to recognize these manipulations for what they are: serious mind games.

Examples of Gaslighting

The Memory Game:
Questioning Your Recollection

A clear sign of gaslighting is when someone challenges your memory. Imagine your partner consistently telling you, “You’re not remembering that right.” This isn’t just about forgetting things; it’s a tactic to make you doubt your own mind and in turn, trust their memory more.

Blame Shifting: It's Always Your Fault

In a gaslighter’s eyes, they can do no wrong, and you’re always to blame. This constant blame can really hurt your self-confidence, making you feel like you’re always in the wrong.

Countering:Challenging Your Thoughts & Experiences

A gaslighter will often oppose your thoughts, saying things like, “You’re wrong.” This isn’t about finding the truth but about making the truth seem much more confusing & muddled than it actually is

Denial of Reality: Disputing Tangible Experiences

Have you ever been told, “That never happened,” even when you know it did? Gaslighters often deny your experiences, making you question what’s real and what’s not.

Confusion & Disorientation: Second-guessing Your Sanity

Feeling confused or like you’re losing your mind is common when dealing with gaslighting. Constantly having your reality questioned can leave you unsure about what’s true and what’s not.

Trivializing Your Emotions: Your Feelings Don’t Matter

If someone tells you, “You’re just being too sensitive,” they’re likely trivializing your feelings. This is a common gaslighting tactic, making you doubt the validity of your emotions.


Flipping the Script: Playing the Victim

Sometimes, a gaslighter turns the tables and plays the victim. They might say, “You’re hurting me by not trusting me,” shifting the blame onto you.

Withholding Information: Controlling the Narrative

When someone withholds information, they’re trying to control the situation. You might hear, “I didn’t tell you because you wouldn’t understand.” This keeps you out of the loop and dependent on them for information.


Gaslighting Through Isolation: Cutting Off Support Systems

A gaslighter might try to cut you off from friends or family, claiming, “They’re against us.” This isolation tactic is meant to make you more dependent on them and less on others. This type of behavior is considered higher risk for psychological and physical harm due to the lack of supports.

How To Respond to Gaslighting

Because gaslighting is often associated with personality disorders, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there is some evidence that limited engagement is the best bet. However, those who engage in manipulative and even gaslighting behaviors are not actually Narcissists and other responses may be more helpful. Before changing your response, it’s important to recognize safety needs first and foremost. Responding with intensity, challenges, consequences, etc, can escalate situations. Be sure that you have A safety plan  to ensure that you remain safe whether you are in an abusive relationship or plan to leave, or even after you leave. 

overcome manipulation and gaslighting in relationships

Stay grounded

When there is heightened tension, don’t match it. Being overly emotional can hinder a sense of confidence and  self-esteem. 

Gaslighting Crumbles around boundaries

Firm and clear boundaries protect you from further manipulation as well as falling into cycles of fighting that inevitably leave you more confused. Know and communicate boundaries during calm periods, so when there is tension, the boundaries are established. 

Trustworthy 3rd parties

Having a trusted friend, family member or support groups can provide validation, comfort and support while navigating the challenges of manipulative, gaslighting and coercive behavior. Keep safe and trustworthy people close to you.

Gaslighting's Nemesis:
Grey Rock 'Em, Babe.

The term “grey rock” or “grey rocking” refers to a tactic of subtle defense for those in a relationship with high manipulation, such as with a narcissistic personality disorder. In a nutshell, grey-rocking means that the engagement with a narcissist is so non-reactive and dull, that the narcissist loses interest in manipulating or coercing the person.


Being as boring and dull as a ‘grey rock’ removes the fuel that narcissist needs to survive: your reaction. Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a well-known relationship expert and speaker on the topic of relationship boundaries and abuse cycles commonly seen with NPD.  The approaches Dr. Ramani often shares are to decrease risk and intensity so that individuals can find their way out of a relationship safely and confidently.

Final Thoughts on Gaslighting

Recognizing gaslighting is crucial and marks the first step towards effectively dealing with it. It involves understanding and affirming that your memories, feelings, and thoughts are completely valid and should be respected. When you know what gaslighting looks like, you empower yourself to stand firm in your own reality. It’s about asserting that your experiences and emotions are not up for debate or manipulation by someone else.


Understanding gaslighting also helps in setting healthy boundaries in relationships. It enables you to identify when these boundaries are being crossed and gives you the confidence to speak up or seek support. Remember, acknowledging the problem is the beginning of finding a solution. By recognizing gaslighting, you take back control of your narrative and start the journey towards healing and empowerment. This knowledge not only protects you but also equips you to help others who might be facing similar situations. In the end, it’s about reclaiming your voice and your truth in a world where your reality is unequivocally yours.

Need Support?

Our therapists are here for you.



Inquiry Form

Meet Marilyn

Expert provider in Trauma, DV, Abuse and Relationship Trauma

Frequently Asked Questions
About Online THerapy in NJ

How do I get started as a new client?

Do you offer traditional talk therapy?

of course! though we have some unconventional therapy approaches, we are rooted in evidenced based practices. Talk therapy is a major player in the therapy room! See What we Treat and Integrative Services for more information

Does my insurance cover my visits?

Uur goal it to decrease stress and anxiety, so we understand that the financial commitment to therapy is something to consider! We provide OON billing for clients who decide to bill their insurance for services. A “Superbill” can be provided to you for potential reimbursement of services. To know if you have to OON benefits, you can call your insurance company and ask about the process of receiving these benefits. 

Our Insurance Page shares a small blurb about Why We Left Insurance Panels

What is the difference between associate therapists & fully licensed therapists?

See our “Affordable Therapy” Page for info on licensing and costs of therapy.

 LAC/LSW are therapists who may practice clinical work under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.

LPC/LCSW are therapists who have completed the necessary clinical hours post-graduation under supervision and can practice clinical work independently.

What is your cancellation policy?

We ask that clients provide at least 24 hours notice in the event that they need to cancel to avoid the 50% cancellation fee. we understand that life happens and do our best to be flexible & reschedule.

What is Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT)?

VRT is an immersive tool that helps clients to explore environments that can not be traditionally explored in therapy. Visit our VR page for more info and to watch our infomercial 

What is VRT used for?

we use VRT to support Exposure Therapy, a long standing traditional therapy modality to treat phobias, anxiety and stress. we send a headset directly to your home so you can access VRT from anywhere.

VRT not only helps with exposure therapy for phobias, but is great for ADHD, mindfulness, PTSD and social anxiety.

How does the process work?

  • Fill out a consult request below or reach out to us directly.
  • our phone number is 609-300-6481, call or text
  • MBD will respond within 24 business hours
  • You will get access to the patient portal to complete the intake paperwork
  • Once the paperwork is submitted and reviewed we confirm your intake appointment
  • Prior to your intake, you will receive a link to access the telehealth session.

Do You Offer Free or Reduced Therapy?

Yes! We offer a sliding scale as well as reduced fee therapy for clients working with out graduate interns. To learn more visit: Reduced Fee Therapy