Learning how to deal with Gaslighting Parents in particular building better boundaries will help you cope better with what you are facing with. In this article I will provide some solutions on how you can start to do that. To respond and take back control.
In any parent to adult child relationship, establishing and keeping healthy boundaries is important for the overall well-being of both parties involved. Both for the Parents and the Adult child. Boundaries serve as guidelines that promote respect, emotional safety, and healthy interactions. However, when gaslighting, from the parent to the adult child enters the picture, these boundaries will end up distorted, leading to manipulation, confusion, and emotional harm.
Gaslighting, is a form of psychological manipulation, involves undermining your perception of reality and making you question your own thoughts, emotions, and experiences. In the context of parent to adult child relationships, gaslighting can have a profound impact on your emotional and psychological well-being, as well as your ability to maintain a healthy connection with them.
Identifying Gaslighting Behaviors
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic often employed by a parent to gain power and control over their adult child.
Being aware of the common tactics used by gaslighting parents is essential in recognizing the impact they have on your emotional well-being. Gaslighting parents often exhibit traits, where I have explained here in a previous article, such as a refusal to take responsibility for their actions, excessive criticism, constant blame-shifting, and an undermining of the child’s self-confidence.
The effects of gaslighting on you can be far-reaching. Even as an adult, it can lead to self-doubt, confusion, diminished self-esteem, and difficulty trusting your own judgment.
Detecting gaslighting behaviors from your parents requires understanding the subtle signs that indicate manipulation is taking place. Unless you are clear on the signs of gaslighting, it would be difficult for you to work out what to do about it.
How to Deal with Gaslighting Parents – Setting Boundaries
1.Why Boundaries are Important
Boundaries refer to the limits we set for ourselves and communicate to others regarding what is acceptable and respectful behaviour.
There are a variety types of boundaries in parent-child relationships. Physical boundaries involve personal space and touch preferences. Emotional boundaries relate to emotional autonomy, respecting each other’s feelings, and not taking responsibility for the other person’s emotions. Intellectual boundaries include respecting each other’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Additionally, there are also boundaries related to privacy, time, and responsibility.
2.Building self-awareness is a crucial step
Identifying and confronting gaslighting behaviors involves recognizing and trusting your own instincts, thoughts, and emotions. Gaslighters often aim to make you doubt your own reality, so developing a strong sense of self and validating your experiences is key to resisting manipulation.
To empower yourself against gaslighting, it can be helpful to seek support from trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can provide an objective perspective and offer guidance. Engaging in self-care activities, such as practicing mindfulness, journaling, or seeking therapy, can also contribute to reclaiming your personal power and healing from the effects of gaslighting.
Take some time to reflect on your own needs, values, and limits. Understand what is acceptable and what is not for you. Regularly set aside time on your own to reflect on your experiences, your reactions, how it affects, also the behaviour of your parents.
You could journal the above during this time or just talk to your supportive friend
The most important thing is not about the amount of time you take out, it is the frequency. You may begin to find it overwhelming to spend hours reflecting on your parents’ behaviour. Maybe just restrict it too 30 minutes by timing yourself and try to do this regularly a minimum once a week.
4. Identify specific boundaries
Determine the specific areas where you need to set boundaries with your parents. It could be related to your time where you limit the time you spend with them, or you ensure that you see or speak to them at particular times. And you could set boundaries with your personal space, emotional energy, or values. Be clear about what you want and don’t want in those areas.
It is important to first take time out to work out what you need to do and how you could do it.
Again, you could do this on your own to journal your ideas and thoughts. Even better with a supportive friend or therapist.
5. Be consistent
Consistency is key when setting boundaries. Stick to your boundaries and reinforce them consistently. Your parents WILL test your boundaries, but it’s important to maintain them and not give in easily.
6. Be prepared for resistance
Your gaslighting parent will struggle with accepting your boundaries, especially has they have been accustomed to crossing them. Be prepared for tactics to change. They could become more aggressive, even more manipulative, involve other people, even for them to appear to be nicer to you. Watch out for any potential changes and how it could affect you.
7. Practice self-care
Prioritize self-care and make time for activities that rejuvenate you. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential for your well-being.
This includes taking care of your Body by eating and sleeping well. Limiting those toxic people you can avoid, minimising stress and increasing as much as you can, activities that make you feel better.
8. Try Mindfulness Technique – Build a “wall.”
When it comes to protecting yourself from your parent’s negative energy, creating a barrier is a useful practice. Doing these taps into your power of creative visualization.
Start by taking a deep breath first. And closing your eyes.
Imagine, surrounding yourself with a soft white positive light. Imagine this white light protecting you from your parents’ words and actions. You could also imagine the words that they use not being able to penetrate your protection and, it is a solid way to block out negative vibes.
If you do not want to use a light, you can visualise other things such as a bricked wall or fence. You could even visualise a person standing in-between you and your parents protecting you from them.
It might help also to practice for a few minutes a day doing this so that you can do this well as and when you need to.
9. Seek support
Build a team of people around you. Just remember that whilst you are going through something like this, it is hard to rely just on one person for emotional support. A team of people providing different needs in your life would be more beneficial.
This could include a confidant – someone that provides emotional support
Someone to have fun with – you don’t need to be talking about your parents all the time. Spending time with someone who will help you to forget your troubles will be great for your mental health
Therapist – You don’t need to wait till you are at rock bottom to seek the support of a therapist
Nutritionist – Ensuring your body is at its best as it will give you the fuel to manage what you are going through
Personal Trainer – exercise helps to release stress. It’s well documented.
What to do next
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