Have you ever heard of the term gaslighting or is it something that doesn’t come up in your conversations? Well, we can answer that for you. Keep reading to find out if gaslighting is something that happens in your life, and whether or not your relationship is actually healthy.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. If someone is changing your perception of reality or making you wonder if you’re crazy, let us tell you now…that’s called gaslighting.
The term was coined in a play written in 1938 about a husband that manipulates his wife by dimming their gas-fueled lights, telling her that she’s hallucinating. An act that is mostly about power dynamics, to see who’s got the upper hand, who’s in control. It comes in different forms, even when it’s not with a bad intention, and people are often not even aware they’re doing it. Nowadays, it’s not as simple as in the play.
Memory manipulation: “That never happened”
Ever been told that something happened, even though you don’t recall it happening? What about the other way around? When that happens, you stop trusting yourself and your memory. It could be something your partner said to you one day, or something you supposedly promised but didn’t carry through on. Does your significant other do that to you? This could definitely be a red flag.
Minimizing your experience: “You’re so sensitive!”
It can be your feelings, your thoughts or your desires. When they make you believe that your concerns don’t matter, something is definitely off in your relationship. If you’re accused of being too sensitive or too selfish, you are being gaslighted.
Denial: “You’re making that up.”
They can be denying something they’ve said, something they’ve done, something you told them, all kinds of things. When they deny things, that ruins your understanding of reality, causing you to have some major trust issues with the person closest to you, yourself. Believe in yourself some more and when they tell you that you are making something up, take it with a grain of salt.
Diverting: “It’s no big deal”
Changing the topic at hand, just to mess with you is another red flag. When you strike up a conversation or tell a story, and your partner sidetracks you or belittles your story or experience, this is gaslighting. Someone is minimizing the importance of things you care about, leaving you to doubt your credibility and sometimes even your worth.
Stereoptyping: “You sound crazy, you know that, don’t you?”
One of the gaslighting techniques is when someone uses negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, nationality, ethnicity or race against them. For example, when you tell them you’re upset because of something, and they say you are just irrational and crazy, that’s just them putting you in a box, seeing you as they see fit.
These abusive techniques will only make you feel isolated and make you lose your confidence, which definitely gives them control over you and your mindset. If anything is repeated enough, it’ll be believeable and true for you. A person that’s being psychologically abused would most likely feel confused, anxious, will have trust issues, difficulity making decisions, and might even start lying to family and close friends because they can’t really make any more excuses to defend their partner’s behavior.
If someone is gaslighting you, whether intentionally or by accident, leave now. Run for your life. Change your name and move to another country. It’s not worth it. They might not mean it, but it will be hurting you. Their own need for attention, control, admiration, and superiority should not hinder you. No need to pay the price for their insecurities. Now, is your partner gaslighting you? Come on. Really. Be honest.