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Toxic family timeout: Are you being gaslighted in your relationship?

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Editor's note: Toxic family timeout is a new feature published by the St.Louis Family & Parenting Examiner that focuses on healing broken and toxic families, relationships and hearts. If you have a parenting or relationship question, email Angela Atkinson. Your question may be featured in this column with your permission.

“Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.” ~Jeffrey Kluger

Ever had a friend, family member or co-worker who is a narcissist or who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)? If so, you've probably been the victim of gaslighting, a manipulation technique narcissists often employ to get what they want.

Read more—Toxic Relationships and Narcissism: Stages of Gaslighting

“Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction -- whether it's anger, frustration, sadness -- in the person they are dealing with,” writes Yashar Ali in a Huffington Post article. “Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.”

Read more: Identifying Toxic Family Relationships

While the signs you’re being gaslighted may seem “obvious” to some people, the fact is that when you’re being manipulated by a narcissist, you can’t always see the proverbial forest for the trees.

So if you find yourself feeling like you might be a little crazy (part of the whole gaslighting technique)—or even if you’re aware that it’s happening and want to recognize it as it happens—understanding the signs can be the first step to making your life a little better.

Read more: 12 Ways to Know If You’re In Love With a Narcissist

When you’re aware of the behaviors that cause your narcissist to engage in gaslighting, you can react differently and change the course of the outcome.

Find out the 10 signs of gaslighting and how to identify them, right here.

Even the so-called normal relationships in our lives can suffer from misunderstandings and miscommunications, but when someone starts using the manipulation tactics involved in gaslighting, chances are they might also be a narcissist—and if you’re going to maintain a sense of self, you’ve got to start making some changes in your life. Do you recognize any of the signs you're being gaslighted as part of your reality?

Read more: 10 Things You Need to Know If You’re In a Toxic Relationship

Have you ever been the victim of gaslighting? How would you tell a friend to handle a toxic relationship that involves gaslighting? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below! (Feel free to comment anonymously if you prefer).

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