Have you ever felt like you are going crazy or are constantly confused in a relationship? Do you feel like you have to prove everything, and to be on the safer side you always assume that you did something wrong?
If this rings a bell, you might be experiencing gaslighting in your relationship.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that involves making someone question their own reality, feelings, and experience of events, mainly to maintain control over that person. It is a subtle form of manipulation wherein the person being gaslighted is often unaware of the fact. It often makes the person, at the receiving end doubt their sanity and perception of reality. It often begins when the other person asks you to “correct” your thinking, along with dismissing and invalidating your emotions and this continues until you are doubting your own thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and even your memory.
It can happen in romantic relationships, families, friendships, and even workplaces, and it's often a sign of an abusive relationship.
But why do people gaslight? This is one important question that comes to mind. Relationships are supposed to be based on trust, mutual respect, and affection towards each other but why do some people emotionally manipulate their partners? Gaslighting someone else is an act of self-preservation and maintenance of power/control. It helps the “gaslighter” to construct a narrative that keeps them in the 'right' and their partner in the ‘wrong.
Gaslighting in a relationship might be difficult to identify due to its insidious nature. It can sound like this:
- "You're making things up."
- "That never happened."
- "You're being dramatic."
- "You're blowing things out of proportion.”
- “You’re making a big deal out of nothing, like always”
- “You’re being paranoid”
- “You’re acting crazy” or “you’re overreacting”
- “I was joking! You take everything personally”
- “That never even happened.” “This is what happened…” or “this is what I said…”
- “You’re not thinking clearly”
- “You’re making yourself the victim when I’m the one who should be mad”
- Or any other statement that invalidates or dismisses your emotions, behaviour, or thoughts
Some signs of gaslighting in a relationship?
- You may find yourself doubting your reality (I am not sure if I am being valid)
- Never letting you talk during a conflict (Cutting you off and not allowing you to explain your point of view)
- Being dismissive of your feelings (You are probably overthinking)
- Blaming you or outside circumstances (You are being too sensitive)
- Your partner doesn’t apologize when you express hurt (You shouldn’t think what you are thinking)
A WORD FROM SOCIALLY SOULED
Gaslighting can be both conscious and unconscious. However, it is never justified. It is commonly seen in romantic relationships although it can be done by friends, family members, or colleagues too! By recognizing if you are being gaslighted, you can take the necessary steps to stop it. It can be done by seeking professional help, confronting your partner, noticing the patterns, or even leaving the relationship.