- 1 What Is Gaslighting?
- 2 Warning Signs of Gaslighting
- 2.1 Feeling Out of Control
- 2.2 Your People Get Worried About You
- 2.3 You Question Reality
- 2.4 Feeling Like Something Is Wrong With You
- 2.5 You Get Paranoid
- 2.6 You Stop Trusting Yourself
- 2.7 They Don’t Accept Their Behavior
- 2.8 You Feel Like You’re Crazy
- 2.9 You Get Dragged Into Drama
- 2.10 You’re Constantly Walking On Eggshells
- 2.11 They Invalidate Your Feelings
- 2.12 You Start Thinking Negative
- 3 Why Do People Gaslight?
- 4 How Does It Happen?
- 5 Effects Of Gaslighting On Victims
- 6 What Can You Do?
- 7 Conclusion
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse wherein the abuser manipulates and distorts reality to make their victim question his or her sanity. It is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a victim’s mind, making them question their own sanity and reality. It can be very subtle and often hard to detect, but if you feel like you’re constantly being second-guessed, your partner is gaslighting you. In this article, we will learn about warning signs of gaslighting and how to stop it.
It is important to start by understanding what gaslighting is. Gaslighting happens when someone in your life tries to make you question who you are and what you know about yourself. They may also try to make you think that the things that happen are not real or that they didn’t happen at all.
The effects of gaslighting can be just as devastating, but often they are not as obvious because the dynamics are different. For example, when children are being gaslighted by a parent, they may start to doubt their own memories and experiences of events. They may feel like they are “bad” or “wrong” for thinking or feeling a certain way about something their parent has said or done. This can lead to a lot of confusion, anxiety, and even depression.
Warning Signs of Gaslighting
There are many warning signs of gaslighting, these are the most common-
Feeling Out of Control
You feel like you can’t do anything right. The things you used to be praised for are now never good enough. You’ll get it right eventually, but only after your gaslighter has tried (or pretended to try) their hardest- and failed miserably.
Your People Get Worried About You
Your friends and family tell you that they’re worried about you. They keep telling you that your partner is changing you somehow, but every time they do so the gaslighter tells them how wonderful they are or sucks up to them in some way, putting their concerns to rest… at least until the next time.
You Question Reality
You lose track of what’s actually real. It can feel like everything is just an act that you’re playing along with while trying to remember what’s true and what isn’t. There might be a few things that you still cling to, but for the most part, your grip on reality is slowly slipping.
Feeling Like Something Is Wrong With You
You feel like there’s something wrong with you. This is one of the most insidious effects of gaslighting; it can make you feel like you’re not quite right in the head. You might start to doubt your intuition, memory, or judgment and come to rely on your gaslighter more and more for validation.
You Get Paranoid
They play mind games with you. Gaslighters are experts at making you feel like you’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells around them. They’ll get under your skin until you’re so jumpy and paranoid that you can’t even relax around them anymore.
You Stop Trusting Yourself
You feel like you can’t trust your own thoughts. This is one of the worst effects of gaslighting- it can rob you of your own self-confidence and make you doubt everything that you think or feel. You start to question your judgment, memory, and even sanity, making it incredibly hard to break free from the grip of the gaslighter.
They Don’t Accept Their Behavior
They constantly deny their behavior- No matter what they do or how blatant it is, the gaslighter will always try and deny any wrongdoing. They’ll twist things around so that the victim is left questioning their own perception and sanity.
You Feel Like You’re Crazy
8. The gaslighter makes you feel like you’re crazy. One of the most insidious things about gaslighting is that it can make you feel crazy for feeling so crazy all the time. They’ll play with your mind until you start to think that everything is just in your head- even when it’s not.
You Get Dragged Into Drama
The gaslighter loves drama. There’s always some kind of problem brewing, no matter how big or small, and there’s always someone else that they’re talking about behind their back. You try to stay out of the drama as much as possible but nothing seems to appease them. Everyone is “out to get them” in one way or another.
You’re Constantly Walking On Eggshells
It feels like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around them. Letting something slip out will set the gaslighter off on a tangent where nothing you say is right or helpful. You try to walk on eggshells around them but it’s never enough- there’s always something wrong you could’ve done better, said differently, thought different.
They Invalidate Your Feelings
They tell you that your feelings are not valid. When the gaslighter finally gets caught out on their lies and manipulation they’ll hit back with a full-force attack against your emotions. They’ll invalidate all of your thoughts and feelings in order to prop up their own version of events, making you question yourself more than ever before.
You Start Thinking Negative
You know something isn’t right, but you can never prove anything to anyone else (especially the police). Your partner makes subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent of making you feel threatened and intimidated without actually coming out and saying anything directly threatening (isolation).
Why Do People Gaslight?
Gaslighting can be a very effective way to control someone. It can make the victim doubt their own sanity, making them more likely to do what the abuser wants. It can also be used to isolate the victim from friends and family, so they have no one to turn to for help.
An abuser might gaslight a partner to make them think: * They are going insane * The abuser is the only one who cares about them * Everyone else thinks they’re crazy or unstable * Nobody will believe them if they speak out against the abuse
It can also be used to justify the abuser’s behavior. For example, an abusive husband may bring up past incidents when his wife questioned him about his behavior [link], [link]. By bringing up these “incidents,” he makes her feel like she must have imagined it or blown it out of proportion and therefore shouldn’t question his actions now.
There can also be lots of overlap between gaslighting and other forms of abuse such as financial control, emotional unavailability, and so on.
How Does It Happen?
Abusive people are often narcissists or sociopaths who have no empathy for others. For them, other people are just tools to be used. They might enjoy the feeling of power they get from convincing someone else that their view of reality is wrong. The abuser might not care how the victim feels. They might say hurtful things to make their partner feel bad or even drive them into depression. Sometimes abusers will do this in order to gain sympathy or attention that makes them look good in front of others (“don’t you love me even when I treat you badly?”). The abuser might also use threats and intimidation to prevent the victim from leaving them.
It’s also important to remember that abusers are often highly skilled manipulators. They’ve spent time studying how to hurt other people in ways that leave less evidence (e.g. economic abuse). Some abusers are charming, friendly, and totally convincing when they want something from someone or need them to believe they’re a decent person. If you think your partner is gaslighting you it can be difficult not to question yourself – after all, this person seems so nice sometimes, and their behavior has plausible explanations… But at least some of the time they’ll be behaving like a cruel manipulator, not a good partner or friend.
Effects Of Gaslighting On Victims
In romantic relationships: Gaslighting typically makes the victim feel very confused, uncertain, and downright crazy. The victim may question their memory, perception, and sanity. Many victims become so convinced of their own insanity that they eventually end up in a mental health facility.
In other relationships: The effects of gaslighting can be just as devastating, but often they are not as obvious because the dynamics are different. For example, when children are being gaslighted by a parent, they may start to doubt their own memories and experiences of events. They may feel like they are “bad” or “wrong” for thinking or feeling a certain way about something their parent has said or done. This can lead to a lot of self-doubt and anxiety in the child.
Dangers Of Being In A relationship With A Gaslighter
The dangers of being in a relationship with an abuser who gaslights you – including physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse
When you’re in a relationship with an abuser who gaslights you, your safety can be at risk. They may use verbal abuse to tear you down so much that the only way they have to control you is by hurting you.
Physical abuse can also happen when it’s about power and control. For example slapping or pushing you. And if they are trying to hurt your self-esteem or self-image, then emotional abuse is happening too. This might be insulting your intelligence or telling horrible things about how much weight you’ve put on.
Financial abuse also takes place when the abuser forces you to sign documents without understanding what’s written, takes money from your bank account without asking and keeps you from getting a job or going to school. This can leave you feeling trapped and helpless.
Sexual abuse is when the abuser makes you do things sexually that you don’t want to do or forces you not to have any sexual contact at all. This can be really confusing and scary.
If you are experiencing any of these things. It’s important to reach out for help. You are not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help.
What Can You Do?
If someone close to you is gaslighting you, it can be difficult to know what to do. It’s important to reach out for help so that you can start to rebuild your self-esteem and self-image. You deserve to have a relationship where you feel safe and respected. If you think you’re being gaslighted, there are some things you can do to protect yourself:
1. Get support from friends or family. Talk to someone who understands what you’re going through and will believe you.
2. Document everything. Keep a diary of all the events that have happened, as well as the things your partner has said to make you doubt yourself. This will help you when you decide to leave or when you need evidence for court if it comes to that.
3. Don’t act on your doubts. Just because you’re having thoughts that don’t make sense to you doesn’t mean they aren’t true. If something feels wrong, pay attention to that feeling instead of doubting yourself.
4. Keep your support network strong. You need people who believe you and can remind you that what the abuser is saying isn’t true, even if it makes sense at the time. Gaslighters are skilled manipulators so it might be hard not to doubt yourself sometimes. But there’s always a way back to reality if you stay connected with supportive friends or family who can help you see things as they really are.
5. Talk about gaslighting with other people in your life who experienced this kind of behavior from someone else. This can help you feel less alone and more understood.
6. Seek professional help. If the gaslighting is making you feel suicidal or if you’re struggling with other mental health issues. It’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can help you work through the effects of gaslighting and start to rebuild your self-esteem.
7. Get out if it’s safe to do so. If you think leaving is a safe option for you, start planning your exit strategy. Make sure you have somewhere to go and people who will support you when you leave.
8. Don’t try to change the abuser. One of the main things abusers want is control. So trying to change them or convince them to stop gaslighting isn’t likely to work. You can’t control someone else’s behavior, no matter how much you want to.
9. Find someone who can help you process what’s going on with the gaslighting in your life—a friend, family member, or even a therapist.
10. If you can leave the situation safely, then do that as soon as possible. But know that this might not be the best choice for everyone.
11. Speak up for yourself and remind yourself of your own truth – write it down if you need to – so that it will be harder for the abuser to tear you down by manipulating your thoughts or words .
12. Recognize how far is too far? Recognizing when relationships become abusive – including verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse.
Whether you’re currently in a gaslighting relationship or trying to recover from one. It’s important to take time for self-care and create an unshakable foundation of reality. If you need professional help, please seek it immediately.
There are many warning signs that someone is gaslighting you. But the most important thing to remember is not to be ashamed of your feelings. It can take time for victims to realize they’re being manipulated and it’s never too late to get help!