Do you find yourself changing your normal behavior because you are frightened of how your partner will react?
Do you record phone calls just to be sure of what your partner said?
Are you in a relationship that you spend 90% of your time apologizing for things you don't remember doing?
If your answer to any of my questions is yes, you are being abused. You are likely experiencing gaslighting.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting happens when someone makes you questions your sanity, perception of reality, or memories.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse with persistent manipulation and brainwashing where someone leads you to question whether you are imagining things. Any form of abuse depends on the power someone holds in a relationship.
As a result, gaslighters tend to hold all the power in a relationship. It could be in romantic ones, friendships, or even family-based types of relationships such as between a parent with his/her children.
Here’s how to know you’re being gaslighted:
This is the most common technique gaslighters use. Here, an abuser makes you feel as if you are overreacting and that your emotions are not important. For instance, a partner criticizes your dress code using not-so-kind words and when you try to stop him/her, they tell you; ‘Gosh! You are so sensitive’, ‘Why are you so defensive all the time? You are attacking me’ just to mention but a few.
This is where someone refuses to listen to someone or pretend they don’t understand them. For example, a partner can say something along the lines of: ‘you are not making sense here’ ‘I do not understand what you are explaining’. Withholding will make you feel stupid which is not true.
Here, the person doing the gaslighting completely denies an event has taken place and introduces new information that never really happened.
This is when a person completely changes a topic such that an individual cannot continue speaking about what they were talking about. This is usually done drastically, mostly done to minimize someone's concerns. Your abuser makes you feel that what you’re talking about is not important.
Here’s how gaslighting affects you
Gaslighting is intentional and it will make you question your judgment. The gaslighters know exactly what they are saying or doing. This form of abuse is anchored on deception and victim-blaming.
Victims of gaslighting constantly second guess themselves and struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, and worse depression. In addition, Gaslighting will break down your spirits and you will start to question yourself.
You will not be able to trust yourself since you’ve been made to feel insane. In most cases, you will be afraid of speaking up and insecurities will be your second name.
In a relationship, you will feel like you are walking on eggshells and spend most of your time feeling weak, confused, and worrying that you are too sensitive.
Every time you are with your partner, you will feel like something terrible is about to happen. In the event you feel gaslighted, you must seek help immediately.
If you are being gaslighted, seek help. Talk to someone you trust or talk to a counselor or therapist.