en English

Gaslighting

Overview

Does your partner say things like…
“You’re crazy, that never happened.”
“Are you sure? You are being so dramatic.”
“It’s all in your head, you’re imagining all of it.”

Do you often start questioning your own perception of reality?
Are you questioning your own sanity?
If so, your partner may be using what mental health professionals call “GASLIGHTING.”

This term comes from the 1938 stage play ”Gas Light” in which a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights which were powered by gas in their home and then he denies that the light changed when his wife points it out. It is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power, and we know that abuse is all about maintaining and gaining power and control. Once an abusive partner has broken down the victim’s ability to trust their own perceptions and judgments the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship.

The Details

There are a variety of gaslighting techniques that an abusive partner may use:

Withholding: an abusive partner pretends not to understand or refuses to listen e.g “I’m not listening to this I don’t want to hear this again,” or “You’re just trying to confuse me.”

Countering: an abusive partner will question the victim’s memory of events, even when the victim remembers them accurately, e.g “You’re wrong, that’s not right” or “You never remember things correctly, you’ve got the worst memory ever.”

Blocking/Diverting: an abusive partner changes the subject or questions the victim’s thoughts, e.g “Is this another one of your crazy ideas your friends have put in your head” or “You’re imagining things”, “you’re reading too much into things.”

Trivialising: an abusive partner makes the victim’s needs or feelings seem irrelevant or unimportant, e.g “You’re going to get angry over something as small as that?” or “You’re much too sensitive.”

Forgetting/Denial: an abusive partner pretends to have forgotten what actually happened and denies any promises made to the victim, e.g “I really don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “You’re just making things up as you go along.”

Gaslighting usually happens very gradually in a relationship, the abusive partner’s actions may seem harmless at first. But over time, these abusive patterns continue and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated, depressed, they can lose all sense of what is actually happening and start relying on their abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.

In order to overcome this type of abuse, it’s important to start recognising the signs and eventually learn to trust yourself again.

If any of these signs ring true for you and you are struggling to make sense of a situation you’re experiencing, its important to speak to someone you trust and who you feel comfortable to talk to.

If you prefer to talk to someone in confidence that you don’t know, contact us!
At Rehouse to Rehome we are always here for you and we’ll always listen without judgment.
We respect you and the decisions you make, and if you’re struggling to make a decision we’ll encourage and support you to making the decision that’s best for you!

A person who is gaslighting you knows exactly what they are doing, they are aware of the effect their tactics are having on you. They are doing it intentionally.
We believe trying to get your point across and arguing with someone who is emotionally abusive is a waist of energy, it’s almost like getting and you have done nothing but everything you say or do can and will be used against you.

The gaslighting tactic is patronising, unapologetic and above all its bullying and cowardly. It’s not love it’s control and it is emotional abuse.

“ Here at Rehouse to Rehome believe if your partner makes you lose your family and friends or makes you lose your confidence, self esteem and happiness, then you need to loose them.”

Be with someone who is proud of you, someone who can make you laugh. Someone who will listen and encourage you and be supportive of your choices. Be with the one who will take care of you, not materialistically but they’ll take care of your soul, your heart and everything that is you.
Be with the one who makes love feel easy and make each other your priority.
Real love won’t bring out the stress in you…it will bring out the best in you!

How to Recognize Gaslighting and Get Help

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that’s seen in abusive relationships. It’s the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity. 

The term “gaslighting” comes from a play and subsequent movie called “Gaslight.” In the movie, the devious husband, played by Charles Boyer, manipulates and torments his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, to convince her she’s going mad. 

Gaslighting, whether intentional or not, is a form of manipulation. Gaslighting can happen in many types of relationships, including those with bosses, friends, and parents. But one of the most devastating forms of gaslighting is when it occurs in a relationship between a couple. 

Signs of gaslighting

According to Robin Stern, PhD, author of the book “The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life,” signs that you are a victim of gaslighting include:

  • no longer feeling like the person you used to be
  • being more anxious and less confident than you used to be
  • often wondering if you’re being too sensitive
  • feeling like everything you do is wrong
  • always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong
  • apologising often
  • having a sense that something’s wrong, but being unable to identify what it is
  • often questioning whether your response to your partner is appropriate (e.g., wondering if you were too unreasonable or not loving enough)
  • making excuses for your partner’s behavior
  • avoiding giving information to friends or family members to avoid confrontation about your partner
  • feeling isolated from friends and family
  • finding it increasingly hard to make decisions
  • feeling hopeless and taking little or no pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Gaslighting and narcissism

People who gaslight other people in their lives may have a psychological disorder called narcissistic personality disorder.

People with narcissistic personality disorder believe they’re extremely important and that the world revolves around them. They’re self-absorbed and don’t have time or interest in others unless it serves a purpose for them. They aren’t empathetic and don’t have the ability, or the interest, to understand what another person is feeling or experiencing.

Narcissists crave attention and praise and can be demanding. They have grandiose views of themselves, their lives, and their futures, and they often use manipulation as a way of achieving their personal goals.

A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:

  • project an inflated sense of self-importance
  • exaggerate their achievements
  • respond to criticism with anger
  • use others for personal gain
  • expect special consideration or special treatment
  • be highly critical of others
  • become envious and jealous easily

Medically reviewed by Suzanne Falck, M.D., FACP — Written by Susan York Morris — Updated on March 31, 2017

Getting Help

Recognising that you’re a victim in your relationship is the important first step toward getting help. The next step involves consulting a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. They can help you sift through your doubts and fears and understand the realities of what you experienced. You’ll learn how to manage doubts and anxiety and develop coping skills.

 

Books related to Gaslighting

The Gaslighting Effect: A Revealing Look at Psychological Manipulation and Narcissistic Abuse

learn more

Out of the Fog: Moving From Confusion to Clarity After Narcissistic Abuse

learn more

Gaslighting: The Narcissist's favorite tool of Manipulation - How to avoid the Gaslight Effect and Recovery from Emotional and Narcissistic Abuse

learn more