Gaslighting is a term used to describe a psychological form of coercive control or manipulation that typically occurs in different relationships. When a person is gaslighting you, he attempts to wield power over you and makes you think that you are unable to think or reason for yourself. As described by Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D., a Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Counseling, “Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.”
Has your partner or friend ever make you feel this way? Do you sometimes feel stupid because of the way he speaks or controls you? How do you know if your partner is gaslighting you? Here are some vital signs to watch out for.
Gaslighters do not acknowledge what you’ve done or said.
All of us forget some things sometimes, but gaslighters intentionally forget whatever you said or did.
They would probably start questioning you, saying, “I don’t remember you saying that,” or, “You never did those things to make me feel better.” Or worse, they would tell you about things that you did or say but you didn’t know about it. Then you begin to ask yourself, “Really? Did I do that?”
When They Do Something Nasty, They Wipe The Dirt On You
This is a common habit of someone who gaslights, especially those who cheat. So beware. If they keep on telling you you’re cheating, then they probably are.
When they are guilty of doing something nasty, they project this on to their partners.
They Use Controlling And Mostly Profane Language.
According to Carolyn Cole, a relationship counselor, gaslighting is very common among those with narcissistic personality disorder. This is often seen in abusive relationships and is actually a form of emotional abuse. An example of this would be your partner asking you to do something and urging you to do it if you really love him.
They Use Your Insecurities To Control You.
Instead of helping you get rid of your negativities, the gaslighter will prey on these negativities and use these to their advantage. If they don’t want you to go out with them, for instance, they might say, “But you hate parties, and you’re too quiet for big crowds.”
Gaslighters always manage to make you feel wrong about most things – but only if you let them. “Gaslighting would be a symptom of people who insist that whichever of their attitudes they’re experiencing right now is the only attitude they have. They shift between attitudes but deny it,” says Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D., MPP.
They Should Always Be Right.
You can’t argue with them and they won’t compromise because they need to be always right. If you will allow it, then you are prepared to be the villain in the relationship. If you disagree, things usually get worse and gaslighters won’t stop until you’ve accepted that it was your mistake – always.
They Would Convince You That You Are Crazy.
Gaslighting could reach a critical point where you would question your sanity because they’ve convinced you that you are not mentally and emotionally well. They might sound concerned at first, but eventually, you’ll realize – if you really open your eyes and heart – that they just want you to feel insufficient and crazy!
Women are most prone to being victims of gaslighting, and more often than not, they find it difficult to forgive themselves for giving in to an abusive relationship such as theirs. The points above are clear enough so that you won’t fall for gaslighters who would suck the life and happiness out of you.
If you try to leave, these parasites won’t make it easy. Be vigilant. Watch out for the warning signs. And finally, don’t second-guess yourself. Believe that you are smart and you are worthy to be loved – not manipulated. “Once you’ve acknowledged that you are in a relationship where your perception of reality is being systematically devalued, you should reach out to friends and family that you trust,” says psychologist Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP.