Essentially, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in relationships. When someone undergoes gaslighting, they question a lot of things, including their own sanity.
The movie ‘Gaslight’ is the origin of this term. In this movie, the husband is abusing his wife through evil manipulations in a bid to make her think she is losing her mind.
Gaslighting can be intentional or unintentional. But in either of these cases, it involves manipulation. It is worth noting that it does not just relate to romantic relationships, but it can also happen in relationships between siblings, parents and their children, and even bosses and those under them.
Obviously, the worst and the most damaging kind of gaslighting happens between romantically involved couples.
Below are some signs that you are a gaslighting victim, according to Robin Stern.
1. Feeling like everything you do is wrong
2. Asking if your response to your partner is appropriate on a regular basis
3. When making decisions seems increasingly harder for you
4. Having the feeling that something is wrong, although you cannot place a finger on it
5. Finding no pleasure in things you used to enjoy in the past and generally feeling hopeless
6. Feeling like you are isolated from your family and friends
7. Often asking yourself if you are too sensitive
8. Realizing that you are not the person you used to be in the past
9. Constantly making excuses for your partner’s behavior
10. Always apologizing
11. Having less confidence in yourself and being anxious about yourself on a regular basis
12. Withholding information from friends and family members because you fear it might start a confrontation with your partner
13. Blaming yourself whenever things go wrong
If someone is so good at pushing your buttons and taking advantage of your vulnerabilities, then understand that they are most likely gaslighting you. Here are some ways in which gaslighting can happen to you.
- When someone hides things from you and then denies they knew anything about it. Instead, you might get blamed for being incredibly forgetful. “You have lost the keys again. Unbelievable!”
- Being made like your feelings don’t matter. “Boohoo. Cry me a river.”
- Denying things they said. “I have never said that.”
- Being told that people are discussing you behind your back. “Everybody knows you are so petty.”
Narcissists are more likely to gaslight other people. These individuals can go to extreme lengths to use other people for their own personal gain. They usually see themselves as gods, and they lack empathy, and yet crave attention from others.
Therefore, manipulating other people is not beyond them, as long as it gets them what they want.
Narcissists exhibit the following traits.
- Exaggerating their achievements
- Being easily envious or jealous
- Using other people to benefit themselves
- Expecting to get special treatment
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-worth
- Being hostile to criticism
- Being too critical of others
First of all, you have to realize that you are the victim in your relationship. From there, you can get help from a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. That way, you can work through your doubts and fears and have a better understanding of what you underwent. From there, you can learn to cope with the adverse feelings you still have due to your anxiety and eventually get back to normal following full recovery.