Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in romantic relationships. When you’re a victim of gaslighting, you’ll often experience it in abusive relationships. In such a toxic relationship, your partner changes your sense of reality, tricking you into doubting your own perceptions and memories. But what are the examples of gaslighting? In this article, we’ll cover the definition of gaslighting, as well as signs of gaslighting, its harmful effects, and what victims of gaslighting should do moving forward.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that makes you doubt your memories and perceptions. It is a form of psychological abuse that can happen in personal relationships, such as romantic partnerships, friendships, or even in the workplace. The term gaslighting comes from a play from 1938, called “Gas Light” in which a husband makes his wife believe she is going crazy.
This form of psychological manipulation makes you doubt your sense of reality. Over time, manipulation from the abusive partner can lead the victim to believe they’re going insane. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of the warning signs of gaslighting.
Do you have an abusive partner?
The warning signs of gaslighting
Gaslighting can be pretty subtle and difficult to recognize. We’ve summarized the warning signs to look out for. These include:
A manipulative partner might try to isolate you as much as possible from your friends and family, so that nobody can confront you about their bad behavior. Isolation can be lonely, and if your partner keeps you from seeing your friends, alarm bells should start ringing immediately.
Your partner might try to manipulate information, by lying frequently. Frequent lying and manipulation of information cause you to question your memory, and perception of reality. The difficulty is in recognizing untruthful statements.
They Deny Their Behavior
When someone is gaslighting you, they’ll do anything to deny their action, even when you confront them with evidence. They could tell you you’re acting crazy, or that you have the wrong idea about their actions.
They Blame You
Manipulative partner make it seem like their actions are your fault. The gaslighter will shift the blame by making you responsible for his behavior, causing you to feel responsible for something when you’re not at fault.
The Effects of Gaslighting
The effects of gaslighting are widespread and can cause serious issues regarding your mental health, including things like anxiety, depression, distrust, and low self-esteem. According to relationship expert Dr. Livingstone Smith, gaslighting has all the same physical effects associated with psychological stress. Here are more of the (adverse) effects of gaslighting:
Anxiety and Depression
Things can get quite lonely when your partner makes you doubt your mind and starts isolating you from your friends and family. As a result, long-term gaslighting in abusive relationships can cause anxiety in social settings, and even depression in severe cases. As you can imagine, depression will only magnify the effects and impact of gaslighting on your life.
Loss on Control
A manipulative partner, as the words meaning, will cause you to lose control. Your partner will likely do anything to keep you in their control, which can cause situations to escalate quickly.
After experiencing gaslighting, your brain likely has to get used to trusting people again. Therefore, you might find it difficult to let new people into your life, and trust them fully.
It is vital to learn how to regain trust in relationships. Distrust is one one the main reasons relationships fail, especially long-distance relationships
Gaslighting can cause lower self-esteem in the long term because you’re not confident in your words. This fear comes from your abusive partner, who constantly makes you doubt yourself and shifts the blame toward you.
Common Gaslighting Phrases
Your partner might trick you into narcissistic abuse using ‘hidden manipulations’. We’ve assembled some phrases you’ll likely encounter when you are the victim of gaslighting. These include, but are not limited to the following:
You’re being crazy; I did nothing wrong.
Please don’t make this bigger than it is; you’re overreacting!
I never did that.
You just made that up!
Everyone agrees with me.
I can’t believe you’re saying this; you’ve always been crazy.
I don’t know what you want me to say.
It’s all your fault.
Everyone agrees with me.
How to Protect Yourself from Gaslighting
Gaslighting can be difficult to recognize and even harder to escape, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. These include:
Reach out to Family and Friends
Reach out to your family and friends for encouragement and confirmation of your experiences. Moreover, they can give you affirmation for your partner’s behavior, helping you stay calm and composed while maintaining a good perception of reality.
Records The Events of Gaslighting
To verify your recollection and impressions, keep track of events and conversations. Refrain from writing how your encounters made you feel, as your partner might trick you into thinking things are your fault.
Set clear limits and stand up for yourself when they are stepped on. Clear limits will enable you to make clear to your partner what kind of statements are a no-go.
Consult a Professional
If you believe you are being gaslighted, think about consulting a therapist or mental health professional for guidance on how to deal with the situation and regain control.
What is gaslighting in relationships?
Gaslighting in relationships is a form of psychological abuse in which one person manipulates others into doubting their own memories and experiences.
What are the warning signs of example, gaslighting?
Warning signs of example gaslighting include discrediting experiences and memories, constantly shifting blame, and isolation from friends and family.