Gaslighting is used to describe abusive behaviour, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make the victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality.
The term “Gaslighting” can be traced back to a 1938 play. British playwright Patrick Hamilton created “Gaslight,” a mystery/thriller that premiered in London and played there for 6 months. But most folks familiar with the history of the term think back to the 1944 film adaptation of the play, “Gaslight.”
The movie stars Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. They play a married couple, Paula and Gregory throughout the film. Abusive husband Gregory manipulates Paula to make her feel as if she has gone mad. He leads her to believe she’s stealing things without realizing it and hearing noises that aren’t really there. Paula begins to question her reality.
The term “Gaslighting” is now commonly used to describe behaviour that is inherently manipulative. It is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and ultimately lose her or his own sense of perception, identity and self-worth
When someone is gaslighting you, they exert power over you and make you think you’ve lost your ability to think, remember, and rationalize. This is a problem because it messes with your mental health and turns you for the worse
In relationships, especially the ones that are romantically inclined, this form of behaviour is a tactic in which a person, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their sanity.
Gaslighting works much better than you may think because anyone is susceptible to it. And from what has been explained, it is highly toxic. If you find yourself in this condition, unfortunately, you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Here’s how to spot it if your partner is Gaslighting you.
The confusion and self-doubt that this comes with are one of the ways to know what is happening.
If you have to ask yourself regularly if you are the problem, and if that partner might be true with all the untrue stuff they come up with, you are in trouble.
But of course, it’s not you, it’s them.
2. They can never be wrong
In relationships, no one likes to be ‘wrong’ during arguments and discussions, but gaslighters, in particular, cannot be wrong, even if means making you doubt reality. That is including things you may have seen with your eyes and things you may have heard clearly.
Beatty Cohan, a nationally recognized psychotherapist and sex therapist expatiate on this when she told Business Insider that “gas lighters always need to be right. There is no win-win resolution — they need to be the winner and you, the loser.”
If these particular things describe your partner, better know they are gaslighting you.
3. You find yourself diminishing in confidence
The manipulative quality of gaslighters makes it difficult for victims to ever increase in confidence or self-esteem.
The manipulation happens gradually and over time the victim morphs into someone entirely different. The most confident human being can become a shell of a person without being aware of it in the process.
Self-worth is eroded, your idea of yourself and the confidence you may have had about yourself slowly fades as everything you know about yourself is now defined by the abuser’s twisted interpretation of your reality.
4. Your feelings don’t matter
One other way to know that you are being gaslighted is the way your partner downplays and waves away from your fears, worries, concerns and feelings.
They might make statements like: “calm down,” “you’re overreacting,” or “why are you so sensitive?”
You would find that you never feel self-validation; you are not understood and all of that can be extremely difficult to cope with.
The aforementioned are only but a few of the long list of this pattern of behaviour. As has been said earlier, gaslighting is often very subtle and happens to anyone no matter how smart you are. It’s always important to pay keen attention and be on the lookout for such treatment before it gets too late.