If you find that your partner is constantly trying to undermine you and your feelings, and it feels like they are trying to shape and override your reality on their own terms, then you should know that they are gaslighting.
Gaslighting: it’s real and more is happening than we even realize.
What does gaslighting mean in relationships?
The term, taken from the 1944 film Gaslight, is defined as “a form of psychological manipulation aimed at sowing the seeds of doubt in a target person or in members of a target audience and getting them to recall their own memory, To question perception and reason. Persistent denial, misleading, contradictions and lies are used to try to destabilize the victim and to delegitimize his or her beliefs. ”
Gaslighting is a slow, excruciating form of manipulation, victim-blaming, and emotional abuse.
It is a gradual feeding of poison through words that creep into our minds and gnaw away at every semblance of self-worth and happiness in our hearts. The worst part is, you won’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late and the damage has already been done.
Often times the lover who holds us, hostage, through this tactical method is a cunning, charming guy. We are blind to the signs on the wall because we have been conditioned to see our abuser as wonderful; our hearts are already caught in their clutches when the first signs that something is the wrong to break in on us.
But what does gaslighting really look like in a toxic relationship? What makes us believe as reality?
The harsh reality is that it can really look like anything and convince us of endless fallacies.
The thing is, they can really all mesh together and start to sound the same, but here are a few examples of lies you will hold as truth in an abusive relationship if someone gaslighted you to manipulate you.
Here are 8 lies that show your partner is pressuring you
1. “You can consider yourself lucky to have someone at all, because who else would want you.”
How do you keep someone captive? They are tricked into believing the cage is the best place for them.
The same goes for a master manipulator; they hold you tight by blinding you to the possibility that things could or should ever be different. They sow the seeds of delusion that leads to the belief that they are your salvation and that without them you would quickly perish from loneliness.
Sometimes simple phrases like “What would you do without me?” Or “You need me to take care of you” can turn into a blindfold or rose-colored glasses that do not allow us to see others around us who are too could take care of us.
2. “It’s all in your head!”
Ah yes, the mind games to convince us we’re crazy … they’re all too common in situations like this.
Truly talented gaslighters will create an illusion that even your five senses cannot be trusted, that your eyes and ears are completely deserting you. There is no danger; you imagined the times when they slammed doors or broke glasses.
However, the reality couldn’t be further from what we are beginning to believe in the hands of our hurting lover.
3. “No wonder you don’t have many friends … you are really hard to love.”
Master manipulators know how to spin the yarn that completely changes our self-image.
A clear sign of someone gaslighting is the way they project guilt and try to shame the victim. By convincing you that you are “difficult to love” or “too much”, they are made into heroes or saints because, despite these (nonexistent) character weaknesses, they are ready to “deal with you” or “with your Side to stand “.
Extremely skilled gas lighters go one step further and also convince the people in your life that you are really “crazy” or “difficult”.
4. “Everything that goes wrong is your fault.”
This can really devour anything and become a serious problem. Like all other tactics, it starts with seemingly small things. Did the dog destroy a pillow? Well, clearly it’s your fault for leaving it there even though you know it’s the dog’s place. Didn’t get a promotion at work and feel discriminated against? No, you just have to learn how to do your job really well and get recognition.
This can go to extremes, such as blaming you for their own problems, addictions, and self-destructive behaviours. And I speak from personal experience, once the damage is done here, you will find yourself living your life with a constant sense of shame and literally blaming yourself for everything that happens in the world around you.
5. “I was just kidding, why do you take things so seriously?”
One thing gaslighting partners love to do is knock you down. But, because everything is a carefully planned strategy like a game, there has to be a way to go back and clean the slate so it doesn’t look like they are mistreating you with their words.
So how can you say terrible things to someone and attack their character and then make it look like it didn’t actually happen? Say it’s a joke, of course! Not only does this remove your thoughts that they were verbally abusive (which they were!), It puts the guilt back on you for being “too sensitive” or for having to learn to “relax.”
6. “I never said that!”
As soon as the environment and the relationship with a gaslighting company is established, they will find ways to completely fool you and bring your thoughts into a tailspin.
They will claim that things did not happen the way you saw them, or maybe claim that they did not happen at all. This often starts with words and assertions that “were not what was said” and can move into even more elaborate schemes by claiming that entire acts, scenes and events did not take place.
You start to question your own thoughts and feelings or even wonder what is wrong with you and if you are actually losing your thought (which they are trying to make you believe is happening).
Sadly, it took me years to work through and relive some of the trauma that I was told “didn’t happen” to truly see the full effects of the harm of this seemingly simple sentence.
7. “You know, you’re really not that great at _______.”
We all have natural talents, abilities, and parts of us that we are proud of. However, these things can help us stay in a place of self-love or serve as a means of escape, so they need to be torn apart too.
Maybe it’s your career, a hobby, or just something you like to brag about … but a gaslighting partner will slowly and systematically begin to break your confidence and self-worth by making claims that go against what you think of yourself and believe your talents. At best, it breaks your mind a little, but at worst, you’ll believe these webs the gaslighter is spinning to the point where you sink into total dependence on it, be it emotionally or even financially.
8. “You’re ‘just a crazy ex’.”
Maybe you saw the light, smelled the coffee, came to your senses and walked away. Good for you! But when you see the next victim of gaslighting, you are trying to step in and save someone. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work (if at all) because it opens up space for your ex to tell the new person in their life that you are “just the crazy ex.”
This can happen with mutual friends to whom you tell about your problems in a relationship, or even with professionals whom you can ask for help. Maybe things have fallen for, and you started dating someone new. But when you start telling this new person in your life about the last relationship you were in, they question you and say, “Are you sure you’re not just a crazy ex?”
It could be that they are harmless and your story seems implausible, or the more likely case is that you are already falling into the hands of another master manipulator.
The sad reality is that once you get yourself into these types of relationships, you have a higher chance of getting yourself into a pattern of these types of situations because you believe that is just how it should be.
The reality is that many of us find ourselves trapped in these seemingly hopeless situations at some point in our lives. What makes matters worse is that it’s almost impossible to spot a gaslighting, manipulative person on your first few dates; many of us find ourselves trapped in these harmful kinds of love for years or even a lifetime.
If these phrases sound all too true to you, know it: you are loved, you are beautiful and amazing, and it is not your fault.