How to Spot Gaslighting in Your Relationship and Shut it Down

How to Spot Gaslighting in Your Relationship and Shut it Down from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

First things first: Gaslighting is emotional abuse. The term was birthed from a movie produced in the 1940s called ‘Gaslight. In the film, a boyfriend drives his girlfriend to madness with a series of emotionally abusive tactics that we now call gaslighting. Gaslighting lives in the emotional abuse family in the mental health system.

Like many mental health issues, gaslighting lives on a spectrum. In other words, there are varying degrees of emotional abuse in gaslighting. It can be as simple as your partner playing down your feelings or as complex as your boyfriend or girlfriend denying your thoughts, feelings, and version of events altogether. 

Regardless of how it presents in your relationship, it’s important to nip the emotional abuse before it gets out of hand. If you’re already experiencing the strain on your mental health from gaslighting, it’s never too late to start making an exit strategy. In this article, we’re going to help you identify gaslighting signs and address them in romantic relationships. 

Identifying Gaslighting in Romantic Relationships

Often times gaslighting techniques are utilized by abuse spouses in order to control their situation and their spouse. No matter the situation, a gaslighter is committed to their view of the world and will not validate the feelings of others.

Here are a few examples of gaslighting:

  • Your spouse constantly disagrees with your ‘version of events’ when you bring up situations that have hurt your feelings.
  • Your spouse questions facts and argues more intensely when provided with evidence.
  • Your spouse constantly talks down to you, downplaying your world view to show you how they are ‘right’.
  • Your spouse plays trust games and insists they cannot believe you because of your past mistakes.
  • Your spouse denies you the opportunity to express your feelings entirely. 

More often than not, narcissists quite often turn to gaslight as their first line of defense. If these situations sound family, your partner may be gaslighting you. For example: If you tell your partner that them saying your hobby is boring hurt your feelings, they may accuse you of being too sensitive by saying that wouldn’t hurt their feelings.

Coping with this emotional abuse can be detrimental to mental health. After all, if you’re constantly being questioned and downplayed by your spouse- you’re going to experience moments of self-doubt. If not handled properly, being a victim of gaslighting can lead to long term emotional trauma that can take years (and sometimes a lifetime) to recover from. To add to that, it’s often the first sign that a relationship may become emotionally abusive as time goes on.

How to Handle Gaslighting Behavior 

Protect your own sanity before arguing with a gaslighter. If you suspect that you’re being emotionally abused by your girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s time to set up a neutral foundation. Talk to a trusted friend or keep a journal where you detail the arguments had between you and your spouse. This foundation will help you ground yourself during times of emotional strife. By having a log of the fights, comments, and reactions you stay in touch with reality instead of submitting to your partner’s version of events. This is especially important when your partner’s abuse has made you feel like you’re losing touch with reality. 

When your partner begins gaslighting you, talk to them with logic. Don’t submit nor raise the emotional ceiling. Ask for details, provide your evidence, and do your best to stay level-headed. Submitting continues a cycle of abuse. Raising the emotional ceiling creates a more dangerous situation for you and your partner. If you can’t get your partner to retire their abusive behavior, you need to remove yourself from the situation. Even if that means telling your partner that you are done with the conversation.

Stay True to Yourself: Shut it Down

Like most emotional abuse, being the victim of gaslighting can cause crippling self-doubt and depression. If you don’t take steps to correct the behavior or remove yourself from the situation, the abuse will continue and in most cases, grow. More importantly, your mental health will deteriorate. Though it can be hard to walk away from a loved one, it can sometimes be necessary in order to live a healthy and fulfilling life. 

If you’re still in a position where you believe the relationship can be salvaged, talk to your partner about their gaslighting behavior. Pay attention to the little details and have your facts in order. Confront them calmly. Ask them to get professional help if it’s needed. Though this may not save the relationship, it’s certainly a way to regain your personal power. Emotional manipulative people are often deterred when they realize their victim cannot be controlled. 

Dealing with gaslighting is never an easy task. Anyone who has dealt with emotional abuse knows how daunting it can be. What’s important is that you have unbreakable confidence in who you are and how you will be treated. Don’t let gaslighters rule your life and worse, your mind.

Similar Posts:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.