What it's like to be gaslit by a friend

The Editors

From Cosmopolitan

Gaslighting is a serious form of emotional abuse and prevalent in toxic relationships. But often we think of gaslighting as something that only really happens in romantic relationships. The truth is, it can happen in any relationship - in friendships, families, at work. “Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse which involves psychologically manipulating someone to make them doubt their own sanity,” Anat Toffell, from charity Solace Women’s Aid, explains. So here's what it's like to be gaslit by a friend, according to women who've experienced it.

1. "My flatmate does this to varying degrees, and will leave a lot of mess around the flat and say it wasn't him or that there's nothing there. It usually ends in arguments. I usually rant to other friends or family, resting assured that I am in the right. I had an old friend and flatmate that used to gaslight me a lot. I took the decision to cut things off with her. Despite the difficulties of it, it was a good decision to make." [via]

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2. "I put up with it longer than I should have. It was the one other girl of the friend group and none of the guys could see what was happening. We all used to take part in some light teasing/ribbing and jokey comments especially when we were playing games or doing something competitive. But it was never anything cruel or mean. Then I began to notice how she would take it up a notch when it was just the two of us. She would be openly telling me I was wrong about things I knew I was right about, telling me that my ideas were stupid and everyone thought so. It seemed like every single thing I said she had to disagree with or challenge.

"She used to tell people that I wasn’t healthy, that I was a slob and didn’t clean up after myself which was a straight up lie. Eventually she did something to try and humiliate me in front of everyone at a party so I just left. I moved away, cut her out of my life, and never spoke to her again. I realised that she was a jealous toxic person who wasn’t going to change. She wanted to make me miserable like she was, and I wasn’t going to let her do that. I feel so much better to not have her in my life anymore." [via]

3. "One girl who I'd been friends with for five years started to ignore me. She would invite everyone else in the group to her house individually, except me, to my face. While I was there. And whenever I spoke to any of my friends asking if she was mad at me or if they noticed how she was treating me differently, they said they hadn't noticed. I later found out that this girl has specifically told them to do that. I handled it by finding new people to hang out with." [via]

4. "I have been gaslighted by one friend and she did it for about six years. When I found out the truth I deleted her from Facebook and Instagram (so she couldn’t see my life) and I stopped talking to her. Over the last few years she has attempted to add me no less than 18 times. I don’t give her the satisfaction of telling her I’m not interested. I leave the request for a few weeks and then delete." [via]

Photo credit: MStudioImages

5. "When I asked to hang out she would agree up until the day of, and then a million emergencies popped up, or someone in her house was sick and it was always 'very contagious'. When I questioned why she couldn't make time for us to hang out, she tried to gaslight me telling me I didn't know what her life was like as a mother. We're BOTH mothers. Over time I realised many moments in the past where she was manipulative and selfish, and all the stories she told other people, even my own family, but would tell me different. So glad I cut that off." [via]

6. "I was gaslit by an entire friend group, with four people actively participating in it. When I tried to stand up for myself, I was told I was just being dramatic, that I was making a big deal about nothing, that nothing happened. I started screenshotting conversations because I started doubting my sanity, proving they said and did the things I saw and heard. They would wave it away, telling me it's not a big deal, that I was starting drama over nothing. Clearly it was not nothing. The best thing I ever did was cut ties with them all and get myself into therapy." [via]

7. "I have a feeling a long term friend does this. She always accuses me of being too sensitive/judgemental/easily triggered/feeling personally attacked when there's something she says that rubs me the wrong way (such as calling black guys on Tinder the N word). I'm black. Like, sorry for not accepting your racism and inappropriateness?! She does it in a way that I start doubting myself and almost feel guilty for making her feel bad. Then I retreat because it doesn't seem to be worth the fight. I feel like I'm kind of walking on eggshells around her. Last time we saw each other I made up my mind that I was done, so I'm going to take steps to distance myself from her." [via]

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