Gaslighting is a behavior that happens with people that are in a relationship. You can decide to leave this kind of relationship that is toxic because it is a kind of emotional abuse that people don’t often admit to. You aren’t hopeless in this situation.
You can find out if your partner will stop gaslighting you or if they will continue to destroy the relationship by trying to stay in control and have power over you. This is something that most people outside of the relationship can spot, even if you cannot. You will see that when you deal with someone that has a narcissistic personality that you can successfully leave them.
Of course, this article isn’t for you if you are being physically abused or if some kind of abuse is going on with your children. No one has the right to touch you or harm you or your family and if this is happening then you should find help right away.
People can be gaslighters and it doesn’t have to be someone that you are romantic with. This can be a friend, a boss, a parent, or someone else that you know. A gaslighter can be a male or female but for the purposes of reading this article, the gaslighter will be referred to as a male and the gaslightee as the female.
This is also talking about adults that are in this kind of relationship. This is the type of relationship that is toxic and that has to have two people in it. If you have been someone that has dealt with gaslighting before, you will often feel like a victim. You might even wonder if you believe anything that you are even thinking or saying.
Gaslighting doesn’t just happen one way, when you allow this to happen in your relationship then you are telling your gaslighter that their behavior is okay.
Signs of Gaslighting
Gaslighting is something that people will use to have power in the relationship. They will do what they can to make you question if you are crazy or if you even know anything. This will cause the gaslightee to wonder if she can trust herself or even her partner.
Chances are, the gaslightee will try to get the gaslighter to see them differently but he won’t. He will make sure to make her miserable and to make her question herself over and over. She will probably be crazy about him but he will do whatever he can to make her feel bad while she is trying to get his approval.
The gaslighter will be someone that has no real sense of self and someone that sends judgements and hate into the world.
How is Gaslighting a Two-Way Street?
We live in a world where people don’t often want to tell the truth. People either don’t want to tell the truth or they are so afraid of offending someone that they refuse to admit when something is wrong. If you feel that you have found the love of your life and you’re madly in love with them, you want them to approve of you and you even look at them as a god, chances are this should be someone that you love and trust.
The truth is that you have probably been love-bombed by this person.
This relationship might have started when things were hard in your life. Maybe you have been dealing with childhood trauma and this person made you feel excited and made you feel loved. The sex might have been good and maybe even your approval was given…at first.
We can all tell when gaslighting comes when there are insults or threats but when it comes subtle, it can be hard to decipher.
When He Was Nice
You can find someone that has been a nice gaslighter. You wonder why you are feeling numb and sad all the time. He helps around the house and with the children and tells you that he loves you but you never feel that he is being honest or that he is appreciating you. You feel like he is being bossy and that he is looking at you like you aren’t good enough.
If you talk about his behavior then chances are he will tell you that you are needy or that you are someone that is controlling. He might not make you feel special and even if he gives you things like gifts or dinner, you still feel that he doesn’t care about you.
This guy might be someone that is a spiritual leader or someone that is an activist, and he believes that he is being fair, or he makes you feel that way. He goes out of his way to be overly nice because he wants you to feel like you are in the perfect relationship.
When you argue, he will let you win but you never feel respected. You will feel that you have concerns, and no one will care about it. You don’t know why you feel this way because even though he does things for you, you always feel that you owe him something. You wonder why you aren’t thankful for him, but you feel disrespected instead.
You love him and you ignore the way that he makes you feel and when you feel that you have no peace or no power, you feel like you are the wrong one. You realize that everyone likes him, and you cannot figure out why.
You feel in love with the person that you thought was your soulmate. He is someone that you have always dreamed of, and you felt that from moment one that he was perfect. He would bring you flowers, apologize when he was late, kiss you like you wanted to be kissed and he would make you laugh.
Then out of nowhere, he started using drugs or drinking, he would get upset when you would complain. He would think you were unreasonable and then tell you to move on. But then he would buy you things that made you feel important and even when you had sex you would feel that it was a show. He would criticize you after doing something nice or tell you he didn’t want to have sex with you.
He takes away your sex and makes you feel alone. You know something is wrong and even though at first it seemed amazing, it gets worse by the day. You keep telling yourself that no one is perfect but you realize that he doesn’t want to please you and you wonder how you can fix yourself.
Are You Someone Easy to Gaslight?
People that have low self-esteem or don’t feel that they have any self-worth will not feel that they are good enough unless someone else loves them. This makes it easy for them to be gaslit.
A person that is a gaslighter will take all of the doubts that you have about yourself and will learn to use them against you. Even though it is never easy to build trust in yourself, you have to try and do this. You have to understand that even if gaslighting is normal to you, it is not healthy or good for you to have happening to you.
If you happen to have children with someone with this personality, chances are you will stay with them because it can be hard to support yourself and to take care of your family alone.
A gaslighter will be someone that will insult you, fight with you and do whatever they can to make you think they will leave, even though they won’t.
Stop Buying into It
A person that refuses to buy into the nonsense of a gaslighter will learn to stand up for themselves. They will learn that the gaslighter makes things up and once you learn to trust yourself enough to know that your own reality is real, you can see the relationship for what it is. If you are someone that has had to deal with a gaslighter as a child, remember that was then and now you don’t have to accept it.
Stop the Gaslighting
The only way that you can really stop a gaslighter is by leaving them. Don’t just threaten to leave but be willing to leave. By doing this, you will see that this is the only thing that will help you and will stop them from treating you this way.
You may wonder if the gaslighter is going to change and maybe they will try to change but until they admit that they have a problem, this will never happen. Once the gaslighter admits that he has a problem, then you can get couples therapy that might help. Being aware of this behavior may help to bring about change. Always get the support you need to get away from this person.
Listen for the Whispers
When people notice something, they begin to whisper about things. If you hear people whispering, they might be talking about what they are noticing such as:
- Feeling confused often.
- When you are trying to convince people how good of a partner he is.
- When friends or family start talking about being concerned about the relationship.
- If your stomach drops or you feel your chest getting tight.
Who is He Changing For?
Is he changing for you or for himself? This can be hard to see and to know for sure. But the best way to find out is to ask him to stop giving you things, asking for sex and doing nice things and see what happens next.
Does he seem hurt by your request or does he take time to find out what your needs are?
Figuring Out the Problems
Make yourself two lists, the first list should be “what does he do to gaslight me,” and the second list, “what do I do as a gaslightee.” Here are some things to ask:
- Find out the truth: Do you accept things in your relationship that aren’t true? Do you doubt who you are and what you want?
- Is there a power struggle between what you feel and what is reality?
- Focusing on your feelings instead of what is right or what is wrong. When you feel like you are being attacked, stop accept it.
- Figure out a way to exit the situation such as walking away or changing the subject.
- Know everyone can have their own opinions: He can have an opinion, but you don’t have to accept it. You don’t have to accept any abuse or attacks.
- Be confident in who you are: Accept that he is gaslighting you and that the views his decisions as right.
Even though your gaslighter might change, you have to figure out what you agree with and what you don’t. You don’t have to let him belittle you or treat you poorly.
Staying or Leaving
Give yourself time to decide what you want to do. Once you realize that you don’t want to accept his abuse anymore, leave. Give yourself a time limit to put up with it and to see if he is going to change or not and then if he doesn’t, leave him.
If you choose to not accept it and he changes his behavior, this is a good sign but if he doesn’t then chances are he isn’t going to change and he will continue to live in his own world. Learn to live with your head held high and demanding the respect that you deserve.