Relationships take hard work, and even if you give yourself 100 percent to each other, there may still be issues. Have you ever been with an individual that made you question your gut instincts, feelings, and even your sanity? You may be told you’re constantly overreacting, and it causes you to second-guess yourself, which is all classic signs of gaslighting in relationships.
Gaslighting is a common problem that’s recently been given much attention in the mental health world. When a person turns things around they’ve done, and makes you feel guilty for them; you’re being gaslighted. When you’re involved with a manipulative partner, your mental and physical health is in jeopardy.
What is Gaslighting?
The term gaslighting comes from an old film entitled “Gas Light” made back in 1944. The premise is that the man manipulates the wife into believing that she’s going insane, and he uses emotional abuse and control to achieve it.
When you find yourself involved with a gaslighter, it’s essential that you realize what’s happening and not allow yourself to fall for their manipulation. Each time they’re able to confuse you with their cunning ways, they gain more power over you.
The problem is that many gaslighters are very charming and the life of the party. They’re the person that you want to be with because it seems like their charisma is infectious. At first, they may come across as quite generous and somebody you want to spend forever with, but things take a turn all too quickly.
It won’t be long before this person becomes more secretive and leaves you guessing about what’s going on in their world. One thing that all narcissists have in common is that they use manipulation to maintain control. Their goal is to keep you off-center and to destroy your sense of mental balance.
It’s often found that these individuals are anti-social and have narcissistic personalities. Still, the real issue is they lack empathy and will use and abuse anyone in their way. According to the National Library of Medicine, those with narcissistic personality disorders often have multiple psychological conditions.
It further says that a personality disorder can take some time to emerge, especially since these folks are knowledgeable and know how to allude professionals. However, due to their inflated sense of self-worth, it’s not long before their true character is revealed, especially since they see those around them as inferior.
12 Signs of Gaslighting in Relationships
Do you know enough about this mistreatment type to know when you’ve been gaslighted? Here are some signs that a classic manipulator is playing you.
1. You’re Continually Walking on Eggshells When You Have Gaslighting in Relationships
Mental abuse can do all sorts of things to people, but one thing it does is make you walk on eggshells. You’re so scared to say or do anything out of the way because you might set your partner off. You learn to be agreeable and apologetic even if you’re not in the wrong, as you don’t want another altercation.
2. Your Spouse Acts Like a Victim When Caught
Rather than admitting they’re wrong, they blame you or others instead. When you catch your spouse doing something inappropriate, they won’t admit to it, even if their life was on the line. Instead, they want to play the victim card and turn things around onto you.
For instance, assume that you caught your partner having an affair with the neighbor. Rather than admit what they have done is wrong, they will turn it around and blame you. They will state things like they had no choice because you were not giving them enough romance at home.
3. Gaslighting in Relationships Means You Might Make Excuses
You’re embarrassed by the way your partner acts when you’re in public. You’ve gotten so used to their bizarre ways that you have learned to make excuses for them. Though you doubt how they treat you, you still love them enough that you don’t want anyone else to think anything bad of them.
4. They Deny Any Wrongdoing Even When You Have Proof
Classic cases of gaslighting in relationships stems from denial. Even if you show them irrefutable proof, they will never admit it. In their eyes, they do no wrong, and it’s always everyone else around them that has the issue.
5. Their Actions and Words Don’t Match
Your partner talks a big game, but what they say and what they do are two different things. For instance, when you complain about them not spending enough time with you, they will promise you the sun, moon, and stars.
Sadly, they are full of empty promises. If you have children, you must constantly step up to the plate and fill in the voids they’ve left. Everyone knows they don’t mean a thing they say, and they’re not a person of their word.
Another worrisome sign of gaslighting in relationships comes from showcasing your flaws so that the attention is turned off them. They will make you feel like you’re a hot mess, but you’re not the issue. The goal is to ensure that you feel worse about yourself so that you leave them alone.
7. They Steadily Wear You Down
The constant manipulation and browbeating from being involved with a toxic partner can wear you down. Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., talks about the common issues people face when in a relationship with a narcissist. He states that mental distortion, control, and emotional exploitation, can wear on your psyche.
All this stems from the manipulator’s unwillingness to be accountable, so they need a “fall guy.” However, don’t underestimate what this control and manipulation can do to you. They will make you think that you can’t do any better, and you will feel so bad about yourself you will be afraid to leave and ask for help.
8. Gaslighting in Relationships = Continuous Lies
If your partner opens their mouth, you can ensure that some of what they say is a lie. This is another classic sign of gaslighting in relationships. You can’t trust them, and you know that their story is always drastically different than the truth.
9. You Say, “I’m Sorry” Too Much
To keep the peace, you apologize way too much. It’s not uncommon for these situations to become violent, and the manipulator will use physical altercations to control you. So, you’ve learned that it’s better for you if you try to appease them.
10. You Feel Vulnerable
One problem in being in a toxic relationship is that you may start to feel unsure of yourself. You may think your partner has concerning motives, but you fear your behaviors and responses the most. You feel so vulnerable that you fear the next minute with this person.
11. They Attempt To Confuse You
Gaslighting in relationships is all about rocking your sense of stability. They will do anything to shake your foundation and make you question yourself and those around you.
During these times of instability, they want you to turn to them, further making you dependent upon this individual. The cycle of pain and confusion you feel makes you unable to go forward or backward, and you feel stuck.
12. They Isolate You
Remember the old saying, what a tangled web we weave? The manipulator doesn’t want their web of lies and wrongdoings to be found out, so they try to isolate you. They will pull you away from family, friends, or anyone who might paint them negatively.
They want you to trust them and think they’re your entire world. That’s because your emotions make you more malleable. They don’t care about you; it’s about furthering their agenda.
The mental abuse that victims of gaslighting go through is immense. The key is to identify the signs of being mistreated and get out. You can work on the aspect of your mental health that has been compromised once you’re out from under the control of the toxic person.
Gaslighting in relationships is more common than what you might think. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 200,000 calls are placed daily to their centers from people being abused. Don’t think for one minute that the mental manipulation and emotional threats you feel won’t turn physical.
Since you’re dealing with someone emotionally unstable and with underlying severe mental issues, you must consider your safety first. Thankfully, many organizations and support groups out there can help you. Gaslighting in relationships is not uncommon, and you don’t have to live this way anymore!