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Avoiding Toxic People: Gas-Lighting & Love-Bombing

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Do you know a toxic person? Have you experienced the condemnation, the confusion, the hurt, the blood-sucking behaviors and personalities, and the mind-games of the toxic person? If so, join the millions of people who have. Sadly, most people experience some kind of truly toxic person in their lives at some point. We’re not immune from experiencing toxic people. In fact, we’re really likely to encounter a toxic person in the workplace, in our neighborhoods, in our children’s schools, or sometimes right within our families.

This article will focus on 2 tactics toxic people often rely on to control others. It will include both a written and audio discussion of this topic. Visit my website (link below) to hear my audio version of this topic.

Relationships are challenging. As you know, they entail a lot of learning about ourselves and the other person we are in a relationship with. Relationships of all kind are challenging, not just the romantic types. Relationships require us to give of ourselves, receive from the other person with grace, maintain open communication and trust and respect, and keep the other person’s best interest at heart.

For those of us who have a healthy communication or relational style, it can feel like a complete shock to be in a relationship with someone who manipulates, controls, demeans or condemns, or abuses. We must keep in mind that manipulation, control, demeaning behaviors, name calling, or abuse does not only happen to those in relationships involving domestic violence or intimate partner violence. These things can happen in a supervisor-employee relationship, in a family relationship, neighbor relationship, tenant-occupant relationship, etc.

There are 2 important “tactics” that the toxic person (i.e., anyone who is creating negative vibes, harming you in some fashion, or controlling your freedom) uses to keep you under their “spell.” I discuss these tactics in my audio version of this post on my website (*see below for link):

  1. Gas-lighting: this is an attempt, of the toxic person, to cause you to second-guess or question yourself. The person wants to control your thinking by causing you to doubt what you may be sensing intuitively, struggling with within the relationship, or are concerned about.
  2. Love-Bombing: this is often an attempt of the toxic person to control you by “feeding you” with compliments, affection, protection and love, and all of the wonderful things that make relationships desirable. People who engage in this kind of control are most likely meeting criteria for narcissistic personality disorder and some times even sociopathy.

It is important for us to keep in mind that some people may display behaviors that seem like love-bombing and/or gas-lighting but are not. Some people are loving or socially astute and may shower you with lots of compliments or admire who you are. That isn’t love-bombing. A mischievous (but harmless) person may engage in manipulation tactics at times that can seem like gas-lighting but really are not. I encourage you be careful with snap judgments but also embrace your intuition and if you feel something is off…it most likely is.


To listen to me discuss this topic a bit more, visit my website at:


If you like this article and audio combination, feel free to list your opinion below in the comments section. I plan on creating more combined audio and written blogs to make your experience in learning this material more interesting.

I wish you well

Harrison Barnes. (2017). 5 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: The Best Way to Recognize These Behaviors and Change Them. Retrieved 5/12/2017 from,
MedPlus. (2017). Personality Disorders. Retrieved 5/12/2017 from,
*Please Note: It is important for me to highlight that not all people, who display to others affection, compliments, or love, are being manipulative or controlling. Some people are just loving individuals and we must be careful not to include them in the description of the toxic person.
Avoiding Toxic People: Gas-Lighting & Love-Bombing

Támara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP, LPC

Támara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP, LPC, is a licensed therapist and internationally certified trauma professional, in private practice, who specializes in working with children and adolescents who suffer from mood disorders, trauma, and disruptive behavioral disorders. She also provides international consultations and works with some young and older adults struggling with grief & loss or life transitions. Hill strives to help clients to realize and actualize their strengths in their home environments and in their relationships within the community. She credits her career passion to a “divine calling” and is internationally recognized for corresponding literary works as well as appearances on radio and other media platforms. She is an author, family consultant, Keynote speaker, and founder of Anchored Child & Family Counseling. Visit her at Anchored-In-Knowledge or Twitter and Youtube Youtube If you are interested in scheduling a telehealth family consultation, feel free to let me know.

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APA Reference
Hill, T. (2017). Avoiding Toxic People: Gas-Lighting & Love-Bombing. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 May 2017
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