How to respond to gaslighting and invalidation with compassion – and why it’s important to get help

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This is our third piece in our series on gaslighting and invalidation. If you haven’t read our first piece yet, we recommend you start there. In this post, we explain why and how to be compassionate with yourself, whether you’re experiencing gaslighting or worried that you’re doing it to others. Last but definitely not least, we explain why and how to get help. 

What if I just deserve this?

If someone is gaslighting you, it is not your fault. Please try to practise self-compassion. If someone is making you feel fundamentally flawed, inadequate, or incapable of coping without them, please do not assume they are right.


If it has gone on for long enough, the person gaslighting you has probably made you distrust your own thoughts and opinions. But remember that it is impossible for anyone’s thoughts or opinions to be 100% accurate. Please try not to treat their opinion of you as if it is a perfect reflection of reality. Instead, talk with other people you trust, and with your therapist. It’s not a good idea to rely on one source of information about the world or about yourself.

Someone told me I’m gaslighting them, but I genuinely didn’t mean to do that.

If you’ve got someone’s best interest in mind, but they feel invalidated by you or have told you that you’re gaslighting them, it’s worth reading through our table of comparisons between gaslighting, invalidation, and healthy disagreements.


It’s quite possible for you to accidentally get the facts about a situation or interpretation wrong, and to be wrong when you confidently correct the other person about something. But if you’re doing it accidentally and not with the intent to deceive a person, technically that’s not actually gaslighting. This doesn’t mean that your actions were necessarily flawless – everyone sees things differently, and everyone can make mistakes. It’s possible for you to invalidate the other person without meaning to.


We encourage you to discuss your concerns with your therapist so that you can disentangle which parts of the situation arose due to misunderstandings, and how you and the other person might want to move forward in response. 


If you are often accused of gaslighting, we recommend you review our table of comparisons between gaslighting, invalidation, and healthy disagreements. If you find areas where you might be invalidating the other person or otherwise have room for improvement, we encourage you to discuss these with your therapist.

If someone is gaslighting me, does this mean they’re a bad person?

If someone is deliberately gaslighting you, the relationship you have with them is probably not a healthy one. But this does not mean it’s necessary to label the person as “bad.” Individuals who use gaslighting are not “evil.” Rather, they learnt a coping mechanism that helps them get their immediate needs met at the cost of other people and relationships.

It’s possible to treat a gaslighter (or anyone else who is being abusive) with civility and compassion without having to put up with their gaslighting or other distressing behaviours. Everyone is deserving of compassion, and that includes you. You are allowed to remove yourself from the situation or the relationship you have with this person.

Some people choose not to remove themselves from a relationship with a gaslighter (for example, for reasons relating to safety, family connections, or other concerns). If you choose to stay in a situation with someone who is gaslighting you, remember that this person is not a trustworthy source of information, and remember that you don’t have to convince them (or anyone) of the validity of your opinions. You don’t have to confront them about it, but you can agree to disagree. (You can “opt out of the power struggle” if you wish to.)

How to protect yourself from the harms of gaslighting?

If you’ve identified that someone is gaslighting you, the next steps are to:

  • Talk with trusted loved ones about it, if you feel comfortable to do so.
  • Continue getting professional support for the problems that the person has contributed to.
  • Stop relying on that person as a source of information or help.
  • If you can, stop assuming that the person’s beliefs about you are correct.
  • Try to practise self compassion.
  • Seek sources of psychological support, trust, mutual respect, and companionship from relationships with other people, instead of with the one who is harming you via gaslighting.
  • Seek physical distance from the person if you can. If it’s safe to create physical distance, such as by stopping seeing the person, you may want to consider doing so.
  • Seek psychological distance from the person. If you choose not to create physical distance for any reason, it’s still recommended that you create some psychological distance or boundaries. Your therapist can help you with this. This may involve no longer relying on the gaslighting person as a source of psychological support, trust, mutual respect, or companionship.

We are here to help you.

With time and support, you can regain control of your reality, free yourself of the harmful effects of gaslighting, develop self-compassion, and build healthy relationships. has a variety of qualified therapists whom you connect with. Answer our short questionnaire and get matched with the right psychologist.