How to Deal with Gaslighting at Work

Gaslighting, a manipulative tactic aimed at distorting reality and undermining one’s confidence, is not limited to personal relationships. It can also occur in the workplace, where power dynamics and professional hierarchies create fertile ground for such behavior. Dealing with gaslighting at work can be particularly challenging, as it impacts both your professional performance and overall well-being. However, by understanding the dynamics at play and implementing effective strategies, you can navigate this toxic terrain and protect yourself from its harmful effects.

Recognizing Gaslighting in the Workplace:

1. Undermining Your Confidence: Gaslighters at work often belittle your ideas, dismiss your accomplishments, or make you doubt your skills and abilities.

2. Withholding Information: Gaslighters may intentionally withhold important information, creating an atmosphere of confusion and making you doubt your competence.

3. Distorting Reality: Gaslighters manipulate facts, rewrite history, or selectively present information to make you question your perception of events.

4. Isolating and Excluding: Gaslighters may try to isolate you from colleagues, exclude you from important meetings or decisions, or spread rumors to undermine your professional relationships.

5. Shifting Blame: Gaslighters deflect blame onto others, including you, even when they are responsible for mistakes or failures.

Strategies to Cope with Gaslighting at Work:

1. Maintain Self-Awareness: Recognize your strengths, skills, and achievements. Build confidence in your abilities to resist the gaslighter’s attempts to undermine you.

2. Document Incidents: Keep a record of specific incidents, including dates, times, and the people involved. This documentation can serve as evidence if you need to address the issue with higher authorities or HR.

3. Seek Allies and Support: Identify trustworthy colleagues who can provide support and act as witnesses to the gaslighter’s behavior. Sharing your experiences with them can help validate your reality and provide emotional support.

4. Establish Boundaries: Clearly define your boundaries and communicate them assertively. Let others know what behavior is unacceptable to you and maintain those boundaries firmly.

5. Seek Guidance from a Mentor or Supervisor: If you have a trusted mentor or supervisor, seek their guidance on how to navigate the situation. They can provide valuable advice or mediate conflicts, helping to mitigate the gaslighter’s influence.

6. Develop Emotional Resilience: Focus on self-care activities outside of work that help build emotional resilience. Engage in hobbies, practice mindfulness, exercise, or seek therapy to process the emotional impact of gaslighting.

7. Educate Yourself on Workplace Rights: Familiarize yourself with workplace policies, codes of conduct, and your rights as an employee. This knowledge can empower you to take appropriate action when necessary.

8. Consider Seeking Mediation or HR Intervention: If the gaslighting behavior persists or escalates, consider involving human resources or requesting mediation to address the issue formally. Provide them with the documented evidence you have gathered.


Gaslighting in the workplace can erode your self-esteem, hinder your professional growth, and create a toxic work environment. However, by recognizing the signs, seeking support from allies, and taking proactive steps to protect yourself, you can regain control over your professional life. Remember, your contributions are valuable, and you deserve to work in an environment that fosters your growth and well-being.