Have you ever felt bad because someone said something that made you question your sanity?
Has it ever happened to you that you felt disoriented because you started believing the people around you more than yourself?
If you recognize yourself in these lines, I am sorry to inform you that you were the victim of gaslighting.
What is the definition of gaslighting?
Gaslighting has become one of the most common forms of emotional abuse, in which an abuser uses any means necessary to control and manipulate his victim.
In this case, a victim totally loses themselves, losing their self-confidence, questioning their common sense, and feeling that everything they believed in so far was just a product of their imagination.
When a victim starts to feel this way, the abuser will finally be happy because he achieved his goal: He made a person not sure of anything anymore and into one who totally depends on him.
Using his sick tactics and mind games, he mastered transforming a woman who was thinking with her own head into a puppet whom he controls. Most of the abusers are covert narcissists who make themselves look good and who always have an excuse for their behavior.
Gaslighting in relationships
Gaslighting happens in romantic relationships as well, so always be on the lookout! Just because you call this person your boyfriend does not mean he won’t try to manipulate you and turn you into his victim. Overly controlling partners are the best gaslighting examples in relationships. The most important thing that you have to know is how to spot all the red flags that someone might be a gaslighter, be that a friend or a romantic partner.
The abuser uses slick, sneaky methods that the victim is oblivious to. These methods slowly but surely cause the victim to start losing touch with reality and being paranoid about what is or isn’t real anymore. In that way, every victim loses their mental health step-by-step, without even being aware of it.
That is just one example of an abusive relationship. Even if the abuser doesn’t use his fist, it is still domestic violence. Too bad that most women tolerate this kind of partner’s behavior because they love them. They ignore all the red flags thinking it will get better.
But the truth is that a gaslighter will never let his victim out of his claws. He will do it all to keep her close. Some of the tactics all those sociopaths and narcissists use are put-downs, verbal abuse, questioning their victim’s own judgment and their own sanity.
That helps them to control their victims maximally and to make them behave just like they want them to.
Gaslighting by a family member
This personality disorder can also happen in families where a victim is being gaslighted by those who should be her loved ones. In that way, every victim is slowly starting to lose her self-esteem and her perception of reality totally changes.
The person doesn’t know they are actually being gaslighted, and at the same time, their self-esteem is so low that they have no strength to confront their abuser. In case they tell their abuser how they feel and that he needs to change, he will immediately realize that he is losing the control, and he will take all measures to prevent it.
First of all, he will start trivializing the whole situation, telling his victim that they are being oversensitive. He will try to change her perception of reality in the sneakiest ways that exist. He will tell her she is imagining things and that he has never said anything to hurt her. After that, he will start apologizing, saying that he doesn’t want to fight and that nobody loves her as strongly as he does.
Those are all gaslighting techniques that will make every victim question her own perception and sanity. The moment a victim starts thinking like this, the abuser knows he has won the game. This form of abuse is also domestic violence, and if the right remedy is taken in time, it doesn’t have to be that bad.
Gaslighting commonly occurs when the victim has the utmost trust in the perpetrator, and due to their supposed closeness, they would never expect to be used so maliciously.
It is extremely unfortunate to realize that you have this type of person in your life, but sadly, this is the harsh reality of the majority of victims out there. It’s always those you appear closest to who know the best ways to get to you.
Gaslighting is shockingly difficult to unmask because the abuser is more often than not very smooth with words and has a charming personality that he uses to disarm his victims.
He uses his ability to talk a person into anything to get you to fully trust him and give him almost all of the power over you. Once he feels he’s really got you hooked, he’s going to dig in and feed himself on your emotional vulnerability.
The abuser might even make you feel guilty or ashamed for even thinking about doubting him or questioning his motives. He makes you start ignoring your gut feelings and turns you into a victim of his mind games.
The abuser’s goal is for you to start having second thoughts about anything you felt was the case up until that moment and to put all of your faith and decision-making into his hands.
Here are some of the most common signs of gaslighting that happen every time an abuser tries to control his victim. I suggest you read all of them and learn how to react to situations like these.
Gaslighting: 7 signs of this secret form of mind abuse
When a gaslighter wants to control his victim, he will lie about her being incapable of doing something. In that way, he is showing her that without him she wouldn’t be able to reach her goals or have a successful life.
This happens a lot in romantic relationships where one partner is jealous of the other one and when he does everything to make her life too hard to live by herself.
He exaggerates when he says that he is more clever and better than her, just so she would feel bad about it. But in most cases, that kind of story will work because a victim will start questioning her common sense and her ability to do things right.
The gaslighter will lie with such ease that it would never cross your mind that you are being fed manipulated lies with the goal to weaken you from the inside out. He just wants you to start doubting yourself and to close your eyes to all the warning signs of emotional abuse.
This is his second nature, and there is no one better at making you believe their lies than this abuser. This is why you should never feel bad about yourself if you didn’t catch it in time.
Almost nobody ever does!
The most favorite game of every gaslighter is to control his victim. He does that with different methods—all the way from denying he ever said something to confusing and attacking you with a bunch of questions that you don’t have time to answer.
He will do all these things because he knows that by doing so, he will have total control over his victim and that if he convinces her that she is not good enough, she will always stay with him.
Also, humiliation and name-calling are on the list of all those nasty things that a man can do to a victim of gaslighting if he has this kind of mental disorder.
There is no telling what this type of man will resort to, but rest assured, he will try anything in his power to make you bound to him.
He will either guilt-trip you into being his puppet or he will use harsher methods that you won’t feel give you any other choice but to obey him and let him control you. If you let him treat you like this and you do nothing about it, you can lose your good mental health which is one of the characteristics of every abusive relationship.
When a gaslighter sees that his victim is clever enough to realize that he is playing with her, he will start pretending that he doesn’t understand what she says, and he will deny that he did any bad things in the past.
To every question that the gaslightee asks him, he will answer with another question, asking her why she is mentioning things like this at that time because he doesn’t find them important. All narcissists and sociopaths are known to use these gaslighting techniques as a form of abuse.
The thing is that he is using any tactic available to end the discussion and to convince his victim that she was wrong and that he was right.
You know what he said, and he knows it too. But he is going to push it and push you into proving what you’re saying, knowing that you have nothing substantial to prove it with anything other than your memory.
He knows exactly what he said, but he is not going to let up until he sees that you are wavering and actually second-guessing your own mind and memory, until you actually start believing he might be right.
And that’s how the gaslighter gets you. All it takes is one time—one time to doubt yourself and question your sanity, and he knows he’s got you.
Sentences like: “Don’t be so sensitive!”, “You are overreacting!” or “Don’t make a fuss over small things like that!” are classic examples of gaslighting in relationships.
By doing this, the gaslighter is deliberately doing everything in his power to convince the victim that her needs are not as important as his and that she should wait some time to follow her own dreams.
He wants to satisfy his needs only, not taking care of his partner at all.
You will feel like you’re not entitled to your emotions and like everything you wish for is too much. Whenever you feel sad, he’s going to make you feel silly about it, and whenever you want to discuss a problem, he’s going to minimize it completely.
All that matters is his shit, his opinions and his decisions. And whatever you say, he will make it seem small and insignificant.
5. Bombarding the victim with questions
When I say questions, I’m not referring to normal questions but to those that indirectly tell her that she isn’t capable of doing anything right.
A gaslighter will bombard his victim with questions, asking her if she is sure about something or if she thinks something she did was handled in a good way.
In this way, every victim will feel bad about herself, she will doubt her own sanity, and she will ask herself whether everything that she did so far was right or not.
No matter what the victim does or how successfully she does it, the gaslighter is always going to make them feel inadequate. He is incapable of making a kind remark. So if he sees his victim thriving in any way, he’s going to destroy it, especially when the victim is good at something. This is when his power rises, and he does everything he can to diminish the effort and hard work that has been put into something for the sole purpose of re-establishing his sociopathic regimen.
6. Using your loved ones against you
For example, if you have kids, a gaslighter will probably tell you that you are an awful mom for dedicating yourself to your career more than to your kids and that he should probably take them away from you.
That would make any woman doubt herself if she really did something like that because it would break her heart if she thought she had neglected her kids because of her job.
If you have been in a situation like this, don’t think that you did anything wrong because you didn’t. You were just a victim of a sick man who couldn’t stand that his partner was more successful than he was.
After the victim becomes aware of all the red flags, the abuser will find another way to try and win her over. He will probably play the cards of love and affection, and he will tell her that he missed her so much and that’s why he treated her like that.
Once this is said, a victim will feel disoriented because she won’t know what the real truth is, and she will always ask herself if she should go back to him and give him another shot.
7. Making you believe the people around you are against you
This is the sneakiest tactic of them all. The gaslighter wants to be the only one whose approval you seek, so he is going to make you believe that those around you, those closest to you, are all liars and secretly have a problem with you.
He will make you believe that he is the only bright spot in your life and that you have nobody else to turn to but him.
The gaslighter needs you to turn to him for everything as that is the only way for him to continue with the abuse. He will blur your idea of right and wrong and make you question everything and everyone around you.
Once he accomplishes that, he knows that he is the only person left in your life who has any power over you, and that is the only thing he needs to feel like his work with you is done.
You are the only one in control of your life, remember that.
If you feel like your romantic partner is doing this to you, then you have every reason and right to run as far away from him as possible. Don’t let the fear overcome you, and instead, fight for your life.
Whatever you decide, please bear in mind that gaslighting is a malicious act. It can only bring you emotional and mental damage, and that is certainly not the way any woman should be treated in a relationship.
8. Gaslighter’s words and actions don’t match
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a gaslighter says something but does totally the opposite. If for example, your boyfriend told you that he will never yell at you yet he yells repeatedly, it is a sign that his actions don’t match his words.
It means that he doesn’t respect you enough and that he is taking you for granted. All gaslighters use some gaslighting techniques that help them control and manipulate their victims, making the charmed circle of emotional abuse.
In that way, they make their victims question their sense of reality, blindly trusting the abuser and manipulator they live with. The most important thing you need to know is that gaslighting is a personality disorder, and if you stay with the abuser, you will never live the life you deserve.
You will always walk on eggshells to satisfy the man you live with because he convinced you that you can’t function without him. You will have self-doubt, often thinking that you are not valuable because he brainwashed you. That is one of the most common gaslighting effects and the thing most manipulators use to control their victims.
How to deal with gaslighting
One of the most important things that you need to do is to recognize the problem. If you find out that you are being gaslighted, half of the problem is already solved. You should never let your abuser use his gaslighting behavior like it is the most normal thing.
That is not normal at all. it is just one more red flag of a toxic relationship you need to escape ASAP. Whatever you do, please don’t fall for his apologizing and the mental breakdowns he will have in front of you. Even if you think he is feeling bad, it is not true.
He is just trying to make you feel sorry for him by using psychological abuse. He is just trying to bring you close to madness just like Ingrid Bergman was driven to by her husband in the movie, ‘Gaslight’.
When something like this happens to you, just know that you are the only one who can escape it. You can have the support of your friends and family, but you are the one who will put a full stop to a relationship full of mindfucking and brainwashing.
Please check out all these signs just to make sure that you are not living with someone who can cost you your life and your nerves. You should always pay a lot of attention to all the warning signs and escape if you feel you are a part of a toxic relationship.
Hopefully these examples will help you to see all those threatening gaslighting signs and that once you recognize them, you will get away as far as you can from your abuser.
And remember that no matter how much you love someone, you can’t let them manipulate you and make you feel this worthless. You are better and stronger than that!