What would you do if I told you that there is a way that you can take gaslighting, a narcissist’s most powerful form of manipulation, and use it against them?

When a narcissist uses gaslighting it leaves people feeling as if they’re not good enough. It causes people to have an overwhelming sense of helplessness. It makes people question their sanity. It can make you physically ill and it can make you feel exhausted every single day. 

However, when a victim or survivor of narcissistic abuse uses gaslighting it teaches them how to be comfortable with setting boundaries, it drastically reduces the amount of narcissistic supply that the narcissist can feed off of, and it enables them to have a successful healing journey. 

How is gaslighting a narcissist possible?

Victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse can gaslight a narcissist by remaining defiant and holding onto their version of reality, using the gray rock method, and making progress every single day on their healing journey. 

Gaslighting is when someone doubts, denies, or questions your reality so frequently that you begin to doubt, deny, and question it too. So, by remaining defiant and holding onto your version of reality, using the gray rock method and continuing down your healing journey you’re contradicting the narcissist’s reality and identity. 

How? 

For a narcissist, one of the most important things that they need to possess is a tangible representation of the devastation that they cause. The dependence that a narcissist has on narcissistic supply is no joke. The only way they can maintain the falsified identity they use to mask their insecurities/vulnerabilities is to accumulate as much admiration, validation, reassurance, and chaos from others. 

For example, imagine that you were living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option but you’ve been able to acknowledge that they’re abusive, identify narcissistic behavior patterns, and use techniques designed to protect yourself emotionally, like setting boundaries or using the gray rock method.

Under these circumstances you’d likely stop falling for their bait, become indifferent to the abuse, and be able to hold onto your reality instead of being forced to accept the narcissist’s corrupt version of reality.

A narcissistic man in a blue shirt trying to gaslight his wife but it isn't working because she educated herself on narcissism, narcissistic personalities, and narcissistic abuse.

Of course, there would still be A LOT you would have to work through to redefine yourself again, but nonetheless, you’d be making progress. 

Well, this is a narcissist’s WORST nightmare. When a narcissist baits you into a confrontation, makes you look crazy by gaslighting you, and/or manipulates you with intermittent reinforcement, mirroring, or future faking, it soothes their unfathomable levels of emotional instability. 

It gives them a tangible representation of the devastation they cause by basically letting them point their finger at you and say “you’re the crazy one, you’re the one who is insecure/vulnerable, you’re the one who needs this relationship… not me…”

If it sounds absurd, it is because it is! Their emotional immaturity makes them incapable of looking within themselves, regulating their emotions in a healthy way, and maintaining any type of healthy relationship.

By remaining defiant and holding onto your version of reality, using the gray rock method, and making progress in your healing journey, you’re taking away the power and control that narcissist gain when they have a tangible representation of the devastation they cause. This contradicts their reality because under these circumstances they’d be unable to maintain their falsified identity, the same identity that protects their incredibly fragile ego, by project all of their negative emotions onto you.

So, you are technically gaslighting the narcissist in your life.

How to Remain Defiant and Hold Onto Your Reality

The objective of a narcissist, whether they’re conscious of if or not, is to take their emotional instability and project it onto you. If they’re able to erode your emotional stability, they’ll be able to project their negative emotions onto you while simultaneously having the tangible representation of the devastation they cause that they desperately need for reassurance.

They do this through narcissistic behavior patterns like narcissistic rage, gaslighting, and scapegoating.

Narcissistic Rage

Well, the purpose of narcissistic rage is to make you fearful of your own thoughts, emotions, feelings, and needs. Narcissistic rage can either be really explosive and terrifying, or it can manifest in a much more passive aggressive way like the silent treatment.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the fragility of a narcissist’s ego makes narcissistic rage nearly impossible to predict. 

This type of behavior makes victims of narcissistic abuse feel as if they need to constantly walk on eggshells around the narcissist and/or remain silent to avoid the narcissist’s rage.

While remaining silent may seem like the safest option in the moment, it isn’t in the long run because it just teaches the victim or their rage to normalize, rationalize, and justify abusive behavior. 

Gaslighting & Scapegoating

Gaslighting is designed to make you question your sanity. It’s such a devastating form of manipulation because it can manifest in nearly every single narcissistic behavior pattern. But when gaslighting is combined with being a scapegoat, a person who is a repository for a narcissist’s negative emotions, it is very dangerous.

A victim of narcissistic abuse in green pants using stress as an excuse for her narcissistic husband's abuse.

Advice From 432 Survivors For Remaining Defiant and Holding Onto Your Reality

The most common exercise that was suggested by the 432 Unfilteredd Participants was to keep a journal. 

When you write down ALL of the times that the narcissist in your life lied, broke one of your boundaries, gaslighted you, went into a narcissistic rage and so on, it is nearly impossible for the narcissist to force you to accept their convoluted version reality that portrays you as the abuser and them as the victim.

Keep in mind that when you keep a journal, you’re NOT searching for accountability or proof to wave in front of the narcissist’s face. That is only going to bring more emotional and/or physical abuse.

What you’re doing is providing yourself with the reassurance and validation that you need to remain defiant and hold onto your reality when the pressure of their abuse becomes overwhelming. 

It is really common for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse to have a really difficult time remembering specific moments where they were abused. By keeping a journal it makes you much less susceptible to gaslighting and the self-doubt/self-blame that comes with it. 

The second most common exercise that was suggested by the Unfilteredd Participants was to meditate.

Meditation helps those who’ve suffered narcissistic abuse calm their minds, heal their bodies, and begin to let go of the trauma. For the best results, meditation should be combined with the guidance of a medical professional.

This is really important when it comes to remaining defiant and holding onto your reality because narcissistic abuse throws you into a limbo state where there can be a million things going through your mind one day and be completely blank the next.

So, it is important to meditate and practice mindfulness to ensure you’re capable of remaining defiant and holding onto your reality.

The third most common exercise suggested by the Unfilteredd Participants was to set boundaries designed to help you remain defiant and hold onto your reality.

4 Boundaries You Can Set to Remain Defiant and Hold Onto Your Reality

  1. Making sure you have your own time and space.
  2. Knowing that you have the right to change your mind.
  3. Refusing to take responsibility for things you didn’t do.
  4. Communicating discomfort.

The overall objective of these boundaries is to teach you to be comfortable remaining defiant and holding onto your reality. These four boundaries will give you the bravery, knowledge, and strength needed to not change your reality whenever the narcissist in your life tries to make you do so.

If they try to minimize something you’ve done to you, communicate your discomfort. If they are being really intense in an argument, remember that you have the right to change your mind and decide to have the conversation when they’ve calmed down. If they’re trying to gaslight you into taking responsibility for something you didn’t do, make the promise to yourself that you’ll refuse to take responsibility for it. 

You shouldn’t expect these tips to change the narcissist, they are a waste of your time. You should expect these tips to change you! It is the accumulation of small steps that make the biggest differences! 

How to Use the Gray Rock Method

The gray rock method is a FANTASTIC technique that you can use to protect yourself against narcissistic abuse. To use the gray rock method, you have to keep all of the interactions you have with the narcissist in your life as superficial as possible. 

For example, if a narcissist were to try to use your vulnerabilities and insecurities to try to hurt you, you’d respond with a comment about the weather instead of trying to defend yourself. 

A man sitting in the chair using the gray rock method.

It is NOT an easy task, that is for sure. But it is one of the most brilliant techniques one could use to defend themselves against narcissistic abuse. 

Why?

Techniques like the gray rock method, setting boundaries, or going no contact are designed to exploit a narcissists BIGGEST weakness, narcissistic supply. When you refuse to validate, reassure, admire, or argue with a narcissist, you’re taking EVERYTHING away from them. 

Remember we mentioned before about how important a tangible representation of the destruction they cause is so important to a narcissist? Well, this is the exact same thing!

We wrote about all of this in depth in What Are Narcissists’ Weaknesses so if you find what I’m about to say hard to follow, be sure to check that article out for come clarity.

A narcissist’s immature approach to building their self-esteem causes them to be pathetically dependent on the validation, admiration, reassurance, and chaos they extract from others. 

So, when you use a technique like the gray rock method, you are not a sufficient source of narcissistic supply because you’re refusing to interact with the narcissist the way that they NEED you to interact with them. 

A really important piece of advice that the Unfilteredd Participants mentioned is that to remember that the gray rock method is not a technique designed to suppress all of your negative emotions. It is a technique that you can use to remain indifferent to narcissistic abuse ONLY WHEN you’re in the presence of the narcissist. 

Once you’re in a safe place where you can express your emotions, preferably away from the narcissist, you should express any and every emotion you have. It is never safe to keep your emotions bottled up inside of you for extended periods of time so be sure to take heed to this advice and seek out professional and qualified medical guidance.

How to Make Progress Every Single Day on Your Healing Journey

The truth is that there are going to be many days where you are plagued with self-doubt, self-blame, anxiety, fear, PTSD, and so many more negative emotions. It won’t always be possible to set and maintain boundaries, meditate, use the gray rock method, maintain the no contact method and so on. 

However, that does not mean that you can’t make progress on your healing journey every single day. There is NO WAY you’ll be able to escape, heal from, or avoid narcissistic abuse without a significant amount of knowledge about it. 

It is impossible!

Without a comprehensive grasp of narcissism, narcissistic personalities, and narcissistic abuse, you WILL NOT be able to protect yourself from it. So, the way you can make progress on your healing journey every single day is to educate yourself on a daily basis about the abuse you’ve endured. 

A victim of narcissistic abuse in a tan outfit learning about narcissistic abuse

So there you have it! A complete guide on how to “gaslight” a narcissist. It’s our sincere hope that you take the information we provided in this article and ALL of our other articles to make progress every dat on your healing journey and use it to free yourself from the narcissistic abuse cycle once and for all!


All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

References:

Matthew J. Leach, Heather Lorenzon, Sandy Nidich, Transcendental Meditation for women affected by domestic violence: Study protocol of a pilot randomized, controlled trial, Integrative Medicine Research, Volume 9, Issue 4, 2020, 100432, ISSN 2213-4220