Every relationship is unique. The connection and bond two people share have their own ups and downs. However, some behaviors that an individual exhibits in a relationship affect us in ways that deteriorate our mental or physical health.
Gaslighting is one such behavior that affects us negatively when someone close to us, say our partner, friend, or parent, often does it to us. So, what is gaslighting?
In the simplest terms, you can say that gaslighting is a form of manipulation. It is saying things that make you question reality. When someone gaslights you, it makes you feel disoriented, and you start to doubt your judgment. Gaslighting is characterized as emotional abuse.
How Does Gaslighting Affect A Relationship?
Based on the above definition of gaslighting, here are 10 common instances that occur in relationships regularly that can tell you if you are being gaslit or not.
1. They tell you that you are too sensitive.
If an event makes you feel emotional or weak, this person tells you that you are too sensitive. If it is a fight with them, they blame you for being too sensitive and not themselves for being too hurtful.
For instance, your partner just said something humiliating to you, which you know is not a joke. But when you react to it, they tell you that you are too sensitive and cannot take a joke.
2. You are told that you are overreacting.
Imagine a scenario where you felt hurt or humiliated by your partner or someone important in your life. When you bring it up with them, they tell you that you overreact and their behavior is normal.
If this scenario feels relatable, chances are you are gaslit.
3. Shifting the blame on you.
People who gaslight others often shift the blame for everything that is wrong on the victim of this emotional abuse. For instance, your partner leaves the stove on. When you tell them that they made a mistake, they tell you that they got too distracted because you were speaking to them at that time.
4. They tell you that you don’t remember things clearly.
If something that happened in the past is used as an example of a context in a fight or even otherwise, they completely deny the event. They tell you that you do not remember things correctly, and that is absolutely not how things happened.
5. They deny a pattern.
If you start to notice a pattern in their behavior – such as always lying about working late or drinking too much, they absolutely deny it. They do not think it over but just tell you that there is no pattern, or there is a pattern that only you see because you are making it up.
6. Use compassion against you.
When they know they cannot get out of it without being blamed for what they have done, they use compassion against you. They say things like, “I would never do that to you intentionally,” or “I was so mad I lost my mind in the moment.” If they do this too often, it is a sign that you are being gaslit.
7. They tell you that your friends are manipulating you.
If you are being gaslit, your family and friends may notice it and bring it up with you. When you, in turn, tell your partner that people close to you feel that they are gaslighting you, they instead tell you that these people are the real manipulators. One of the classic moves of an emotional abuser is to isolate you from your friends and family, so they can have all the control they want over you.
8. They do not acknowledge your feelings.
One other way that people can gaslight in relationships is when they absolutely deny acknowledging your feelings. They block, change the topic, or just simply refuse to listen to you. They make you feel like your feelings are invalid and unnecessary.
9. They tell other people you make things up.
They tell their friends, your friends, or your families that you make things or problems up, which do not exist, to begin with. People who do not know the whole story are likely to believe them over you when they do so repeatedly. This is another example of gaslighting in relationships.
10. Hiding objects from you to make you question yourself
Another example of gaslighting is when they hide objects from you, only to make you question yourself and your memory. Maybe you kept your phone in your bag, and they took it away and hid it. When you start to look for it, they blame you and tell you that you cannot take care of anything, keep forgetting stuff, etc.
Related: 5 Types Of Therapy For Mental Health
What to do if you think your partner is gaslighting you?
If you have started to feel bewildered, lost, and have started to question yourself, the chances are that you have someone in your life who is gaslighting you. The course is to identify the problem before it becomes too big and start understanding the difference between reality and what your abuser wants you to believe. You can and should seek professional help if you feel stuck in a rut. Talking to your friends and family can also help a great deal.
There are just so many relationships we can share with people. Some of these include siblings, parents, partners, spouses, friends, etc., while others may not be as clearly defined. Whatever the relationship you and someone may share, it is always unique.