The topic of gaslighting in relationships has become very popular lately but very few people understand what it really means. In short, it’s a psychological manipulation used by some people to control others. In today’s post, we’ll talk about gaslighting in the romantic relationship – how it manifests, who’s at risk, and what are the most common signs of this detrimental behavior. Keep reading!
What is gaslighting?
The definition of this issue has a very interesting history. Surprisingly, the term “gaslighting” first appeared in a 1938’s play by Patrick Hamilton called Gas Light. It’s about a husband who wants to obtain some jewelry inherited by his wife by trying to convince her that she’s insane.
At some point in the plot, the woman notices that the gas lights in her room get dim as if someone uses another lamp. The servants assure her that there are no new lamps in the house, so she starts to believe that she must be crazy indeed.
That’s how gaslighting became a word to a form of brainwashing that causes the individual to question themselves and alter their self-perception. In personal relationships, it occurs in various forms, including emotional, verbal, or physical aggression of one person towards the other.
Gaslighters are very skilled in creating the damaging narratives that affect their victims, but they can also use flattery as a means of gaining control over the other person. They may use positive reinforcement – exaggerate or overstate someone’s features or traits when the opposite is obvious. Once the person’s guards are down, the gaslighting starts again.
Who is at risk?
Self-confident people who trust their own judgment are more immune to gaslighting. However, even an emotionally stable person can get affected by such abuse if attacked for long enough. Some gaslighters combine cruel behavior and kindness to keep their victims in the loop. Moreover, the effect of gaslighting can still progress even after the relationship ends.
Yet, it takes two people for the manipulation to work – the abuser and the victim. The person who is being hurt can stop this manipulation, but they need to be able to recognize it first. Therefore, it’s important to identify such patterns as soon as possible to break free from this vicious circle.
Signs you’re suffering from this
Now that you know what is gaslighting in a relationship, let’s talk about some of the most obvious signs indicating that you are a victim of it.
You might be gaslighted if the abuser acts as if they know everything about you, even your thoughts. If you try to claim the opposite of what they say, they will assume that you’re lying. They might as well cause you to lie to avoid potential insult. It sounds ridiculous but if repeated over and over again, such manipulations may cause any person to doubt themselves.
The next sign to watch out for is when the abuser doesn’t respect your boundaries. They will try to convince you that something is normal when you think it’s wrong. They might even persuade you to do something that you obviously don’t want to do.
You are most likely a victim of this abuse if your partner is constantly questioning your sanity. They insult you but make you think like you’re the one who’s acting crazy. When a gaslighter doesn’t get what he wants, one might call the victim hormonal, paranoid, or overly sensitive.
Finally, they will make you feel like they are better than you, and they will be “forgetting” things. It might seem that they have selective memory when it comes to negative things they’ve said about you earlier. Such manipulations may have serious consequences, making you feel depressed. You might stop talking about yourself not only with the abuser but with everyone in general.
Examples of Gaslighting
Below are some examples of gaslighting in a relationship.
• If the person is insecure about one’s weight, the gaslighter will make fun of it an draw the victim’s attention to every skinny person.
• Gaslighter will keep saying they “know” the victim, and that they are aware of what the victim is thinking. If the victim claims otherwise, the abuser will say that they are lying to themselves.
• The victim doesn’t want to take the next step in the relationship yet, but the abuser keeps pushing, calling them a prude, and saying that it’s logical and normal to do what they ask.
• The abuser fails to fulfill the promise and when the victim confronts them about it, they might insist they never made any promises.
Gaslighting in relationships is more common than you think. So if you are in a relationship with a gaslighter, you should break up with them immediately and not talk to that person ever again. Once it’s done, learn how to overcome stress, move on, and go back to local dating as an emotionally stable confident person.