People dealing with “gaslighters” need to stop futilely agonizing over what they could do to get a gaslighther to listen. Gaslighters use fake “cognitive empathy” to pull in and keep people who are useful to them. However, they cut off this pseudo-empathy when they no longer need it to control other people. Generally speaking, there’s no way to communicate effectively with a gaslighter, and in most cases, when possible, you are better off just breaking off contact. If it is not possible, such as in a co-parenting situation, Psychology Today has several resources for how to recognize gaslighting and manage co-parenting with themZ
- If possible, try cutting all contact with the person who is victimizing you in order to maintain your own mental health.
- When co-parenting is a necessary activity, it is best to limit contact as much as possible.
- Gaslighters are naturally emotional vampires who feed off of manipulating the emotions of others.
“The other time gaslighters act like they’re listening is if you’ve tried to leave them. Gaslighters will work at “hoovering” you back into a relationship. Gaslighters have a bottomless pit of need — if they haven’t found someone to replace you with already, once you try to leave they will do whatever it takes to get you to stay — but it’s not because they love you — it’s because they’re trying fill what is called a narcissistic void.”