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11 Signs Of Gaslighting In Your Relationship, Beware!

SisterMilkshake posted 9/9/2018 11:12 AM

This article popped up in my FB feed this morning. I found it interesting. I thought many of you may find it interesting and enlightening, also. I didn't realize that gaslighting encompassed so many manipulation techniques. Are you being gaslighted?

11 Signs Of Gaslighting In Your Relationship, Beware!

Have you ever heard of the 1938 stage play “Gaslight” or seen the movie by the same name from the 1960s? Gaslight is about a husband who successfully convinces his wife that she’s insane by destabilizing and delegitimizing her memories and beliefs.

Since then, the term “gaslighting” has been used both colloquially and by psychiatric professionals to describe the manipulation tactic in real life relationships.

What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a power tactic where one person uses manipulation as a way to control another person by making them question their grip on reality and truths. On paper, it’s easy for people to say that they’d never be susceptible to the seemingly obvious methodologies of gaslighting, but in reality, gaslighting is often done so subtlety, slowly, and methodically that the damage is often already done before the target figures out they’ve been victimized.

From politicians, world leaders, religious leaders, and corporate leaders, gaslighting is a tactic common among those in power positions, especially when the person is also a narcissist or sociopath. It’s also a common tactic employed by bullies to lower the independence and self-esteem of the victim. It’s a common theme in abusive relationships.

How To Know If You’re The Victim Of Gaslighting

Gaslighters frequently use these 11 manipulation techniques to achieve making you think you’re the one that’s crazy so that they can continue onward abusing you:

1. They Have Lies Of All Shapes And Colors

For most people, little white lies are an everyday occurrence. Your partner asks you if their makeup or tie looks good and you nod your head despite thinking it’s not so attractive. You do this to spare the person’s feelings, not harm them. In gaslighting, these small lies are malicious in intent and done to make the perpetrator, not others, feel better.

Gaslighters intentionally lie, and they do so boldly and brashly. They can lie with a straight face as they tell you something they know good and well you don’t believe. These lies are designed to set a precedent. Once they have told the lies, they know you’re not sure if anything they say is true. This is designed to throw you off kilter, make you wonder why, and slowly chip away at your guard and judgment.

2. Everyone Else Is A Liar

Anyone that disagrees with a gaslighter’s philosophy is an automatic liar. From that point on, those people’s thoughts have no validity or truth. What can’t be rationalized is explained away by the people simply being jealous or wanting to tear the two of you apart. This is to isolate you from the competing ideas of others and those in a position to help you. When you’ve abandoned competing relationships, the gaslighter is now free to disrespect and abuse you uninterrupted.

3. They Deny, Deny, Deny

You’ll find that gaslighters are equally audacious in their denials as they are their lies. They’ll say or do something and then turn around and flat out deny it ever occurred. They’ll make promises and then vehemently deny they ever even had the discussion with you. Even in the presence of proof, they’ll find a fallacy to fall back on our way to discredit the evidence.

Victims will find this irritating and frustrating at first. As it continues, though, victims will naturally begin to question their own perspective, judgment, and reality. Human nature is to recognize anything that becomes a pattern, and as the lies and denials continue, you’ll start to wonder if it’s you that’s wrong, misheard, or are just losing your mind. Ironically, the person’s word you once knew was so wrong becomes a replacement for your own reality. You begin to believe what they say as the truth.

4. Their Actions And Words Are Incongruent

When your partner is a gaslighter, their words and actions will never be congruent. This leaves you to constantly question their behaviors and motives. It’s a maze that you’ll never reach the end of, however. The more you try, the deeper you’re pulled in and the more lost you get. And, they’ll keep you trying with professions of love that are absolutely perplexing considering the actions they take that hurt you so much. Passive aggressive behavior is also common; it’s the beautiful apple filled with poison.

5. They Orchestrate Attacks On What Defines You As You

Gaslighters attack your family, parenting role, talents, goals, personality, and any of the other core elements that gives your existence meaning and purpose. Piece by piece, they’ll break you down by discounting anything that gives credit to your worth. This can be done by devaluing your core, such as by conning you into feeling that you’re worthless when it comes to the lives of your children.

It can also be devaluing how you view your core, such as that you’re overly obsessed, selfish, or negligent in it.

This cold and calculated method of breaking apart who you are as a person eventually creates a you without dignity, confidence, or self-preservation. Slowly, you’re becoming more and more unsure and unstable as a human being.

6. They’re Energy Leeches

Through potent, subtle, and routine application, gaslighting sucks all your energy away. It’s the lie here, the degrading remark there, the chip to your confidence today, and the crack in your perception tomorrow that all add up to you becoming too tired to fight the leech literally sucking the life out of you.

Before you know it, you’re left standing there questioning where and who you are, and the only person with answers is the very person that took them from you. You’re now primed to be refilled with the gaslighter’s version of the answers - brainwashed. Those already suffering from energy-draining depression and low self-esteem are easy and quick targets for gaslighting relationships.

7. They’re The Anti-villain

Gaslighters aren’t going to be the evil villain 24/7. Part of the plan to keep you second guessing everything is to also throw you a bone of kindness every so often. They’ll sprinkle random acts of love, kindness, and devotion in so that partners lose their balance from the times of meanness, humiliation, and cruelty. You may get praised for a wonderful meal only to minutes later be degraded because the laundry wasn’t folded to a precise specification.

Humans have a natural craving for stability. The end game is for their unpredictability to cause you to begin to question your ability to ever be fully right. You doubt your abilities and judgment, and then slowly you lose all faith in yourself. The gaslighter is then free to step in as the ultimate and final word of truth for you.

8. They Thrive In Your Confusion

For a gaslighter, confusion is a shotgun bullet. They’ll shoot it at you to leave your sense of placement and purpose riddled with holes. You’re vulnerable, weak. exposed, and emotionally bleeding. Then, the very person that shot you is the only one there to plug your holes. Bam, then you’re shot again and he/she is there again for you. It’s an endless cycle.

They’ve attacked your worth and value. They’ve caused mass confusion to your mental and physical placement. Now, you turn to bonding to mend your broken and overcompensating pieces. It’s the ideal time for the abusive partner to sweep in and turn their reality into yours. It ensures they are the ones you continually turn to for comfort and guidance so that the manipulation can continue onward in its cycle.

9. They’re Experts At Projection

It’s your fault, not their fault. You’re the one doing the evil deeds, not them. When your anger, discontent, or questions arise, they always have some outlandish excuse like you’re the one cheating, you’re the one doing drugs, or you’re the one that’s being crazy.

You’re so busy defending yourself that you don’t have time or energy to investigate what they’re doing. This not only gives them a projection for their own misdeeds, it’s also setting you up to be disbelieved by outsiders and hesitant to involve others. Plus, when something like “you’re crazy,” even when referenced with outlandish accusations like drug abuse, is stated on repeat, it leaves you to question if you are indeed really acting insane.

10. You Keep Quiet And Think It’s Your Own Idea

Just as the gaslighter has painted himself as the anti-villain, he/she is working to paint you as the true villain. It’s all about illusions and misdirection. They surround themselves with mock juries of ‘friends’ accepting of what they do and use those opinions to prop up their stories, condemn you as the bad guy, and cement your deteriorating sense of self.

Gaslighters are pros at using such social connections as tools to shame and quiet you. They may threaten to tell someone about your “craziness” and all the embarrassing accusations they’ve made on why it’s happening.

The end goal is isolation. You’re too anxious and fearful about the disgracing accusations to want help. You’re too confused as to how the entire situation became about you being crazy verses the crazy things they’re doing to you to even know you need help. The only source of comfort you’re left with is the very abuser causing the discomfort in the first place.

11. They Publicly Destroy Your Character

As you’re keeping quiet in your confusion and turmoil, your gaslighter is working to destroy your credibility publicly. Your image will be tarnished. You’ll be presented as someone incapable of making sound decisions. Your partner will come out smelling fresh as a daisy should you ever expose their gaslighting. No one will believe you, and you’ll be faced with yet again only one source of comfort in your isolation - your gaslighter.

Do you think you're in a relationship with a gaslighter?

Ripped62 posted 9/9/2018 11:37 AM

I watched the flame dance in the Gas Light. It was brutal.

It is horrible to have your personal narrative and agency stolen from you by someone you love.

seekers posted 9/9/2018 11:46 AM

This article should be stickied somewhere. It breaks down each step used in gas lightning so you can see how it gets missed. From my own experience, the isolation tactic was key to my unraveling. That's why SI becomes so important, as it gives the betrayed a safe place to both be heard and to listen. To learn, heal, and regain self respect ( clarity of truth). Gas lightning is imo, hard to pick up on,making it an efficient tool for cheaters. Great read.

Want2BHappyAgain posted 9/9/2018 11:47 AM

There was absolutely no question I was being gaslighted...for YEARS . I was so trusting that I didn't see it until DDay. After that...I didn't believe ANYTHING he was saying...he had to prove his words to me by actions...and sometimes even that didn't work!!!

Now that WE are out of that is clear to both of us how EASY it was for him to do it...THEN...and how it would be practically impossible for him to get away with it NOW. I know how capable he is of doing it I will never say never!!! I also won't question MY gut ever again!!!

Emotionalhell posted 9/9/2018 12:06 PM

I lived this. Every bit of it. The goal is to wear you down. You get so worn down your just trying to survive from day to day.
This is also a NPD behavior.

Thank you for posting

SI Staff posted 9/9/2018 12:27 PM

   Moving to Just Found Out

Lawyerman posted 9/9/2018 14:12 PM

To pick up on point 11, they are often very smart at this. They will tell you that they say nothing but nice things about you. Other people will say the same. But at the same time, these people will have some ideas somehow in their head.

You may have a temper. You may have a problem with drugs or drink. You may be violent. You may have money issues. None of it could be true but it's out there somehow.

I have spoken to folks about this and not one of them can remember where they heard these things. I do.

So please keep that in mind.

william posted 9/9/2018 14:53 PM

Great post SMS! Brava!

Zamboni posted 9/9/2018 16:10 PM

Thank you SMS!! I’m glad I’m not crazy and delusional after all!!

CrossedArrow posted 9/9/2018 17:12 PM

I have often stated I could have run multiple marathons with the amount of spent energy. She would set me up every time.

1. Ensure I was exhausted from lack of sleep
2. Do something that would cause an argument (overspend or act suspicious)
3. Wait for me to investigate issue
4. Not participate in conversation or manipulate the conversation until it was an arguement
5. Point out how I was the issue

I finally recognized the simple pattern of manipulation. She has a playbook. And, she has become predictable.

deena04 posted 9/9/2018 21:09 PM

This is golden and true! Holy macaroni, every single thing rang true.

OneLittleVictory posted 9/9/2018 23:24 PM

Yes, it happened to me, too. Always trying to make me feel like I was the bad guy and I was the unfaithful one, until she had her affair. She still tries to do it sometimes even today, but I no longer care what she thinks.

Limbo79 posted 9/10/2018 00:36 AM

I’ve been there, actually if I’m honest I’m still there. I didn’t realise how long ago the little lies started. The whole being nice occasionally to my face while spreading lies and disinformation behind my back and sometimes to my face. Changing stories and our history so that I’m to blame.
We’ve been in MC but she’s dropped out now. The C had picked up on some of the lies but didn’t say anything until the last session which was just me as the ww hadn’t come.
It’s unbelievable how it all saps away your belief in yourself.
I know my ww has been telling outright lies about me but o can’t do anything about it now. Even if people know that they are false stories it causes doubt about your character.
Is there a gaslight school? How do people learn to do it? Or is it just a natural ability?
I’m glad I saw this post as it reaffirms my belief in my myself and my need to end my M. My confidence was wavering and I was wondering if it was all in my head.

Tripletrouble posted 9/10/2018 00:57 AM

Lived this!! I feel like #3 was the most destructive. XH would say things and hours or days later deny with a passion. I almost reached the point of secretly recording conversations because I was losing my sanity. It was crazy making.

EyesOpened50 posted 9/13/2018 02:59 AM

Been there and got the T shirt!! Grrrrr

worldofpotential posted 9/13/2018 03:23 AM

I have so been here. One of many examples, in the six months leading up to D-Day, STBXH accused me of being obsessed with money. I think he was trying to convince both of us that I was such an evil person that it was ok to cheat and lie.

It was in the oddest contexts - I broke a nice whisky glass and was upset since it was a special Xmas present I'd spent ages tracking down to give him. I was upset and apologised profusely to my X and he looked at me oddly and said "it's just a thing, I don't know why you're so worried about money". I was so gobsmacked I didn't challenge this. Again, when we finished building our dream house he walked out on me and naturally I was distraught. Once again he told me my obsession with material things was upsetting to him and a sign this marriage wasn't right for him. I wasn't concerned with $$$ at all and told him it was the loss of the future I thought we were having together that hurt. He looked shocked and quickly ran off. He managed to convince a couple of mutual friends he was forced to seek out his AP due to my greed, but most people haven't bought it, thank God.

For the record both of us are physicians on high salaries. I know at the end of life that people don't think of material items, but of love, family, and major deeds, both good and bad. Time is much more important than money, and as I have grown older I have lived my life like this. To imply otherwise has been a gross insult. And the years of my life he has wasted with his lies I try not to be angry at.

jesebeard posted 9/13/2018 04:50 AM

Great article indeed.It's very informative and alarming as well. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

CatsNTats posted 9/13/2018 16:58 PM

I feel this on so many levels. Especially now. Thanks for posting this. Sometimes it helps to see it in writing.

jesebeard posted 9/19/2018 01:52 AM

You have mentioned that gaslighters are complete liars and that they deny everything you say even if you have proofs making us fools. Here are one of the exact lies that they have been using and probably will use.Let's spread the awareness guys!

(No soliciting)

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:27 AM, September 24th (Monday)]

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