What is Gaslighting in a Relationship?
Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse common in abusive relationships. It is the act of influencing someone by making them doubt their own ideas, recollections, and the events going on around them. A victim of gaslighting may be driven to the point of questioning their own sanity.
The term “gaslighting” is derived from the play and later film “Gaslight.” In the film, the deceitful husband, played by Charles Boyer, manipulates and torments his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, in order to convince her that she is going insane.
Gaslighting is a sort of manipulation, whether deliberate or unintentional. Gaslighting may occur in a variety of settings, including those involving bosses, friends, and parents. However, one of the most painful kinds of gaslighting is when it occurs in a couple’s relationship.
Gaslighting is most frequent in romantic relationships, however it can also happen in dominating friendships or among family members. Toxic people use emotional abuse to exert dominance over others in order to manipulate friends, family members, and even coworkers.
It is a deception tactic that distorts a person’s view of reality. When you are gaslighted, you may begin to doubt yourself, your recollections, and your senses. After speaking with the individual who is gaslighting you, you may feel bewildered and question if anything is wrong with you.
Gaslighting might cause you to doubt your judgement and your overall mental health. Being exposed to gaslighting can result in anxiety, sadness, and other mental health issues such as addiction and suicidal ideation. As a result, it’s critical to know when you’re being gaslighted. Consider whether any of the following situations apply to you:
- You feel alone and helpless, believing that everyone around you thinks you are “weird,” “crazy,” or “unstable,” just as the gaslighter claims. You feel confined and alone as a result of this.
- You’re wondering if you’re who they claim you are. The comments of the gaslighter make you feel incorrect, ignorant, inadequate, or mad. You may even find yourself repeating these statements to yourself at times.
- You are dissatisfied with yourself and who you have become: for example, you feel weak and submissive when you used to be stronger and more outspoken.
- You are concerned that you are overly sensitive. You attempt to persuade yourself that the treatment you are receiving is not that severe or that you are very sensitive.
- You have a sense of impending doom. You get the feeling that something dreadful is going to happen when you are in the presence of this individual. This might involve feeling frightened and on alert for no apparent reason.
- You are self-conscious: You have the impression that you are never “good enough.” You make an effort to meet other people’s expectations and requests, even if they are unjustified.
- You question yourself. You frequently question if you remember the specifics of prior occurrences correctly. You may have even given up attempting to explain what you recall for fear of being incorrect.
- You believe that people are disappointed with you. You constantly apologise for what you do or who you are, presuming that you have let others down or that you have made a mistake.
- You are perplexed as to what is wrong with you. You question whether there is something fundamentally wrong with you. In other words, you are concerned about your mental health.
- You have difficulty making decisions because you doubt yourself. You would rather have your lover, friend, or family member make the decision for you and avoid making decisions entirely.
- You doubt your own judgement and perceptions. You are frightened to speak up or express your feelings. You’ve learned that discussing your thoughts typically makes you feel worse in the end, so you choose to remain silent.
- You have a sense of vulnerability and insecurity. You frequently feel like you’re “walking on eggshells” when you’re around your spouse, friend, or family member. You’re also tense and irritable and lack self-esteem.
Identifying that you are a victim in your relationship is a critical first step toward seeking assistance. The following step is to visit with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. They can assist you in sorting through your questions and anxieties and understanding the truth of what you see. You’ll learn how to deal with uncertainties and worry, as well as build coping strategies.
Counseling will teach you how to make healthy choices and create boundaries with the individual who participates in gaslighting. You might also reach a point when you are ready to end the relationship.
Remember that you are not to fault for what is happening to you. The individual who is gaslighting you has chosen to act in this manner. They are held accountable for their acts. Nothing you did prompted them to make this decision, and you won’t be able to reverse it.