Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where victims are being presented with false information, which makes them doubt their perception, memory, and sanity.
There is a term in psychology called gaslighting, that stands for a form of psychological abuse, and in relationships, it means that your loved one presents to you false information and insists that he is right and you are wrong. This form of manipulation will over time make you doubt, and question yourself, your memory, or even your sanity.
This sort of manipulation is so subtle that it will even make you blame yourself for your partner’s mistakes and all the problems that you have in your relationship. But, why do people choose gaslighting as a manipulative tool over a loved one?
Often it is a way for them to cover something up – be it sexual infidelity, financial troubles, you name it. It is their way to make you feel like you don’t trust them, or that you imagine things, to put the blame off themselves and onto you without any second thoughts. It is their way to hide the thing they want to hide successfully. Plus, they get to be the victim in this game!
Which types of people are most likely to be gaslighted?
The sad truth is – everyone can be gaslighted. Even the most brilliant and emotionally stable individuals are vulnerable to this kind of manipulation. This is because it is natural for us, as human beings, to trust the people we love. Even more so, rather than questioning their behavior, we tend to make excuses for it because there are some truths we can’t accept.
Moreover, it is not an easy thing to spot gaslighting. This process can happen very slowly and subtly that you can’t even notice it. It usually starts with small lies and excuses, such as: “Sorry honey but I am not able to come tonight, I got stuck at work.” A loving partner will not suspect anything at first, but as the time passes the excuses and the lies will only get bigger and even unrealistic.
However, even at this point, we might not be able to notice it because the depth of the lies and excuses rises gradually. It is like you put a frog in a pot full of water and you start rising the cooking temperature slowly, so the frog will not notice that it’s being cooked.
So, how can you tell if you are being gaslighted in your relationship?
If you suspect you are being gaslighted by your partner, there are 3 things that you can ask yourself. If you answer ‘yes’ to these things – we’re sorry, but you are being gaslighted.
- When you ask your partner about his whereabouts, and what he was doing, does he usually change his tone and flip the script only to look like it is your problem and not his?
If your answer is ‘yes,’ then you probably have heard him make excuses such as: “I told you not to wait up because I had to work late. You never listen to me;” “Why do you keep asking me if something is up? I feel like you don’t trust me anymore;” “I cannot believe that you are mad because I forgot to call you. I only closed my eyes for a minute, and I fell asleep. You are always getting mad over nothing.”
- Does your partner make you feel like you don’t trust him because you are psychologically and emotionally fragile?
If this is true for you, here are some of the most common statements that your partner has probably given you: “Why are you so jealous? She is just a friend, and she needs help;” “You are crazy if you think that something is going on with my coworker. She only calls me when there is a problem at work;” “You are insane if you think you saw me with another woman. I was at meetings all day.”
- Do you often deny your perception of reality and your instincts because it is the only way that you can believe in what your partner tells you?
If you answered ‘yes,’ then probably you are familiar with these statements that your gut tells you they are not true: “I wasn’t looking at that woman. I was looking for the waiter to bring the bill;” “I told you last Saturday that I had to go on a business trip this weekend. Maybe you did not hear me;” “I don’t know who told you they saw me with another woman. All I know is it wasn’t me.”
If you answered ‘yes’ to all these 3 questions – there might be a problem in your relationship that you are not aware of, or choose to ignore. And you are not responsible for it, despite what your partner makes you believe.
We can all agree that this is a hard bite to swallow. It is not easy to accept that our loved one chooses to betray our feelings in this low manipulative way.
But you can always rely on your friends and your family to give you outside advice, and remember – it is not your fault, you haven’t done anything wrong.
Finally, accept the fact that this manipulative nature is only their reality. It is who they are at their core. Instead of trying to change them, accept the fact that their reality does not have to be yours too, and walk away.
Mary Wright is a professional writer with more than 10 years of incessant practice. Her topics of interest gravitate around the fields of the human mind and the interpersonal relationships of people.