If you’ve ever been involved with a gaslighter, you know that they’re clever, deceitful individuals. Gaslighting happens quite often in relationships, but most people don’t realize it right away. It’s a form of narcissistic abuse that distorts the truth and makes someone question their reality. The perpetrator’s end goal with these tactics is complete control over their victims.
Imagine being on the receiving end of the gaslighting if this sounds terrifying. People who desire to gaslight their partner don’t have their best interests at heart. Unfortunately, narcissists prey on those they perceive as weak, vulnerable, or highly empathetic. They target these individuals because they believe they can manipulate or control them more easily.
It isn’t always obvious when someone gaslights you, as they use subtle techniques at first. However, you can see right through their abusive behaviors by knowing the warning signs. Hopefully, this will help you avoid getting involved with a gaslighter.
7 Common Behaviors a Gaslighter Will Display in Relationships
These habits may reveal a toxic person.
1. The Gaslighting Controls Every Aspect of Your Life.
A gaslighter craves complete dominance and power over its victims. Therefore, they will try to convince you that you’re incapable of doing anything for yourself. They will manipulate you into giving up your phone and computer passwords under “protecting you.”
However, their true motive stems from fear of losing control of you. They want to ensure you aren’t talking to anyone else to keep you in an iron grip. They also will want to know your location and movements at all times. In addition, they may ask for access to your bank accounts or financial statements. Their actions don’t come from a place of love or want to keep you safe, despite what they tell you.
Unfortunately, a gaslighter lives in constant fear and anxiety and doesn’t feel in control of their own lives. They take this out on others by attempting to isolate them and dictate their every move.
2. A Gaslighter Will Always Act Like A Victim.
A gaslighter will never admit fault for their mistakes in a relationship, no matter how severe. They blame everyone else, especially their partner when something goes awry in life. The manipulator plays the victim card to avoid responsibility while also getting their SO to feel sorry for them.
Inside, they’re still emotionally immature and can’t make adult decisions. Therefore, they will constantly shift the blame to others to perpetuate their constructed reality. By destroying their partner’s self-confidence and identity, they try to control the narrative as much as possible.
After all, if their partner believes they’re actually crazy or mentally ill, it’s easy for the narcissist to play the victim. The gaslighter will accuse them of being wrong or misunderstanding them and display a “poor me” attitude.
3. They Constantly Downplay Your Concerns or Needs.
Narcissists and manipulators only look out for themselves and see others as mere tools to use for their benefit. So, if you have been tricked into a relationship with a gaslighter, they will always deflect your concerns. They will always make it seem like you’re blowing things out of proportion, even when you have legitimate worries. Ironically, they have a calm, aloof attitude about life, except when it comes to their own needs.
4. They Never Hesitate to Point Out Your Flaws.
Another toxic behavior that a narcissist will display involves putting you down whenever possible. They may resort to name-calling, public humiliation, or sarcastic remarks to lower their self-esteem. The perpetrator may also give “backhanded compliments” to their victims.
For example, they might say, “You look so much healthier after losing weight!” As you can see, this is an insult masquerading as a compliment. Narcissists do this to make you feel inferior and powerless, but it only hides their insecurities.
They may even say they’re just joking after patronizing you, even though they meant every word. They can only gain power by trampling on others and will take any opportunity to do so.
5. A Gaslighter Never Follows Through On Their Promises.
Another typical behavior of a gaslighter involves blatant lying or being flaky about responsibilities. They may say one thing and do another, all to confuse and control you. They always need something but can’t ever offer anything in return. With them, relationships only exist to serve their needs and nothing more.
If you attempt to confront them about their lack of commitment, they will deny any accusations. The gaslighter will say you misunderstood them or that they never promised anything in the first place. After a while, you will learn not to trust them because they never keep their word.
6. The Gaslighting Makes You Question Your Reality.
This is a hallmark of any gaslighter since they can only feel powerful by manipulating others. They confuse and destabilize you to cloud your judgment to achieve their goal. The more you question reality, the greater your dependence on them. They want you to feel so small and helpless that you bow down to them, unable to make your own decisions.
However, these master manipulators can only carry out their plan if you let them. So avoid intimate relationships with gaslighters, as they never have good intentions.
7. A Gaslighter Will Twist Your Words and Perspective.
Finally, gaslighting involves twisting the story just enough so that you no longer can discern lies from the truth. If you remember something happening one way, they will say you have a bad memory. It’s either their way or the highway, so they will never accept your version of events.
They may not even know the absolute truth since they’re compulsive liars. Sadly, you can’t believe anything they say because they live in an alternate reality built on confusion and manipulation.
Final Thoughts on Warning Signs of a Gaslighter
Sadly, many people don’t recognize the red flags of a gaslighter until it’s too late. They may seem charming and loving at first, but it’s all just smoke and mirrors. They only put on this disguise to trap you in their web of lies. Before you know it, you’re caught up in a nightmare of manipulation, emotional abuse, and tarnished self-esteem. It’s best to avoid gaslighters altogether by remaining aware of these warning signs and avoiding their mind games.