5 Signs of Relationship Gaslighting and How to Stop It

How to know if you are being misled to bring you under control

The term “gaslighting” psychologists define manipulations in order to sow doubts in someone about the objective perception of reality. The goal of a gaslighter is to convince your partner, relative, friend, colleague, and interlocutor that her / his opinion is inadequate to the situation or generally accepted standards.

The concept of “gaslighting” has taken root in society and professional terminology after the success of the British play Gas Light in the distant 1938 and its subsequent film adaptations. In the story, the heroine’s husband rearranges and hides things in their common home to create the impression that she is losing her memory and reason. In the evenings, the light of the gas burner in the house dims slightly, but the villain convinces his wife that it only seems to her, while he himself redirects the light power to another part of the house, where he is looking for hidden jewelry.

How to tell if you are being gassed

Experts consider gaslighting a form of psychological violence, the main task of which is to devalue a person’s behavior, opinion or intention through ridicule, accusations, intimidation and banal indifference. 

An experienced gaslighter is always ready:

  • turn the situation out as if you were to blame for everything;
  • make you doubt your emotional stability, memory, intelligence, adequacy, age and physiological competence;
  • deny feelings and facts that are important to you, not wanting to take them seriously and be supportive.

“In essence, gaslighting is always associated with the desire for power and control, the need to gain the upper hand and avoid responsibility,” explains an expert. – The gaslighter is always right, but his victim is the opposite. Pressure may be caused by an inability to cope with emotions or low self-esteem, which is uncomfortable for the gaslighter and seeks to assert himself at your expense. This behavior cannot be justified, but gaslighting can be done unconsciously. Those who, from a young age, have mastered the manner of control in a relationship, most likely, are not able to realize how negative their influence on a partner is. Some torture others for so long that they elevate gaslighting to a survival strategy. “

Here are a few signs to look out for to identify (or not) a gaslight victim.

1. You are losing yourself

Of course, every relationship has its own problems, which from time to time hint to us that it is time to rethink our behavior. However, when you start to question your own needs, interests, and vision to the point where you seem to lose your individuality, this is a clear sign of gaslighting. Moreover, this is the most destructive aspect of this communication format.

2. They do not hear you (and do not want to hear)

Constantly noticing that in the process of sorting out the relationship and other serious conversations, your partner interrupts you, ridicules your point of view or listens half-heartedly, taking this as a signal to think about your compatibility. “If you want to convey your idea to your partner, you slander or write long messages instead of expressing them directly, you are looking for ways to reach your loved one, adapting to gaslighting,” adds an expert.

 3. Your feelings are ignored.

Another sign is when you share your feelings with your partner, and he / she says in response that you are wrong or too receptive. “By convincing you that you should think or feel differently, a loved one confirms a reluctance to take responsibility for your experiences, demonstrating a clear talent for gaslighting, – confirms the psychologist. – It is easy to predict the next stage in the development of events: you will begin to torment yourself with self-criticism and suppress feelings for the sake of the opinion of your partner. No one deserves such a sacrifice, it is simply unacceptable. In the context of a healthy relationship, you can always defend your personal views, feelings and ambitions, and your partner is ready to listen to any of your doubts / worries and help get rid of them.”

4. It is difficult for you to express an opinion

It is common for a gaslighter to place the blame on others or circumstances – including any quarrels, hitch, tardiness, as well as personal mistakes / failures. According to the psychologist, in order to prove his innocence, the gaslighter is ready to suggest that events developed differently than you thought. At the same time, any objections on your part will run up against a blank wall of misunderstanding, which over time will make it impossible to freely exchange opinions and sincere expression of feelings, and therefore happiness in relationships.

5. You start to believe that you’re not good enough.

In a long-term toxic relationship, the one who is subjected to constant gaslight attacks leads you to the conclusion that in fact you are not good enough and are literally to blame for everything. “Objectively, this is impossible,” the expert recalls. – In a normal relationship, both partners admit that they make mistakes, and both know how to apologize for them. If responsibility is shifted to one side, it is an indicator of clear injustice and the fact that the dynamics of relations are built around power and control. “

How to stop gaslighting in a relationship

Of course, first of all, you need to talk with your partner – what if he / she really does not know what she is doing. Keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to pair up with a narcissist, the conversation runs the risk of stumping and causing even more discomfort. Gaslighters, in principle, do not care about your opinions and feelings, and narcissists are completely devoid of the ability to repentance and empathy, which means that you will need megatons of energy to try to convince them of something.

If the gaslighter raged in earnest and you physically feel the toxicity of what is happening (you are absent-minded, always on your nerves, and your heart is ready to jump out of your chest, you just have to start a conversation with a sweetheart), but you cannot resist it – run. No further ado. Get out of this relationship – the sooner the better. Yes, this is not an easy step, but necessary for self-defense and preservation of dignity. Don’t forget that control is a key marker of gaslighting. Prepare for powerful emotional manipulative attacks on your escape. You cannot do without support – contact your friends, sister, mother or psychologist for it.

“Regardless of whether you decide to stay or leave, the help of a specialist is important for understanding your inherent attachment patterns,” the expert convinces. – Perhaps you need to not only get out of your current relationship, but change your lifestyle in order to get rid of harmful patterns. It is difficult to immediately determine the essence of the person we fall in love with, but analyzing past relationships, we get a chance to recognize warning signs that we persistently ignore in the hope of love and a strong connection. “

The main truth to adhere to in the fight against gaslighting is that you are not to blame for what happens, even if your partner convinces you otherwise. The second point: you do not need to adapt to such a “one-sided” union, remember your uniqueness and do not waste this gift in vain. As the expert said, in a healthy, honest, normal relationship, both are responsible for their behavior, without the need to suppress each other’s emotions and desires.

sooner or later begins to believe that the problem is with him / her. Negative suggestions penetrate the subconscious and gradually