DiscoverTalking To Teens: Expert Tips for Parenting TeenagersEp 48: Gaslighting and Emotional Manipulation
Ep 48: Gaslighting and Emotional Manipulation

Ep 48: Gaslighting and Emotional Manipulation

Update: 2019-08-18


Click for full show notes, exercises, and parenting scripts from this episode

When her article on gaslighting for Psychology Today went viral, Stephanie Sarkis knew she'd found a topic people were interested in. Millions of people read and shared the piece because they identified with being in the type of relationship Stephanie wrote about, where subtle manipulation tactics make you feel bad about yourself.

That's what inspired her to write the book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People--And Break Free.

Gaslighters are often very charismatic and they start by flattering you and telling you how incredible you are. Next, they try to isolate you from others by telling you not to trust your friends and family members, or that you are unsafe without the gaslighter around to protect you.

The best thing to do when you encounter people like this, Stephanie says, is to cut them out of your life, block their phone number, block their emails, block them on Facebook, and stop reading their letters.

However, if the person is your spouse or ex-spouse and you have kids together, it's very difficult to cut them out of your life. So I asked Stephanie what to do in these situations.

She taught me how to avoid saying things to your kids that can be used as ammunition by the other parent. She also revealed how to deal with "Flying Monkeys", or people that the gaslighter sends to talk to you and tell you that you're over-reacting and you should give the gaslighter another chance.

Another important topic we covered is what to do to prepare your teenager for dealing with emotionally manipulative people. Stephanie emphasized the importance of warning them about the signs of gaslighting early, before they get involved with a gaslighter. Because when a teenager gets into a relationship, especially with a gaslighter who is telling them how great they are, it's a very difficult time to "talk sense to them".

She talked about what you can say to warn teens about emotional manipulation ahead of time so that they will have their defenses up when they see this type of flattery being used on them.

She also explained how to set and enforce healthy boundaries with your teenager.

Another interesting topic covered in this episode is how to communicate your own needs to your teenager in a non-confrontational way. Stephanie has some great tips for how to get teens to help out and act more respectful.








Ep 48: Gaslighting and Emotional Manipulation

Ep 48: Gaslighting and Emotional Manipulation