10 Signs of Gaslighting in an Abusive Relationship

To gaslight someone is to manipulate them into questioning their own sanity. This is seen in abusive relationships and, even after the relationship ends, the effects of gaslighting can still progress. This is why it is important to identify such a relationship as soon as possible and remove gaslighters from your life, and keep them away from contact for at least a year if not permanently. It is a form of emotional abuse that gives the abuser power by making the victim question their own mentalities.


1. Your Fears Are Used Against You

Abusive people are often charming in order to extract information from you and use it against you later on. They take note of your vulnerabilities especially for this reason. The abuser will want to feel better than you and make sure you feel that way too. If you have weight insecurities, the abuser will poke fun of your weight and constantly point out people who are thinner than you.


2. Who are “You”?

Many abusers think and act as if they know everything about you, right down to your thoughts. If you try to claim otherwise, they will assume you are lying (whether they are vocal about it or not). They might even try to convince you that you are lying to yourself.


borderline personality disorder

3. The Meaning of “Normal” Changes

This is one of the most obvious signs of gaslighting. If someone tries to tell you something is normal when you think it is wrong, you need to get out of that relationship. This is like if a person does not want to take the next step in a relationship and the other partner calls them a prude rather than accepting their comfort levels. Keep in mind, abusers are not only in romantic relationships but even professional relationships.

4. Abuser Questions Your Sanity

A person is abusing you and yet you are the insane one? That’s basically how it goes in the mind of an abuser. When an abuser does not get their way via their typical manipulative ways, they may crank up their intensity by questioning your sanity. You are likely to be called paranoid, hormonal, or ultra sensitive.

5. Self Doubt

When someone says something enough, you are bound to eventually believe it. From frequent exposure to such comments, you will find yourself questioning your judgement and may eventually give up completely and let the other person think for you.

6. Untrustworthy Memory

Abusers tend to have “selective memory”, where they may deny ever saying anything that upset you if you try to confront them about it. This might come in the form of a promise that is never fulfilled, and then a claim that the promise was never actually made.

7. Lying for Serenity

You may not usually lie, but the abuser makes you lie through your teeth at times to avoid verbal and/or physical abuse. This lying would be motivated by the stress caused by angering or upsetting the abuser.


8. No Yearn to be Heard

Humans’ yearning to share experiences is innate, but learned habits and trauma from being with an abuser may redirect that nature. It could make you avoid talking with the abuser and even make you stop talking about yourself and your experiences to everyone in general.


9. You Question Your Sanity

Manipulative tactics can drastically change the way people think. When you are constantly trying to end an argument with an abuser, it may become easy to simply go along with whatever they are saying, but this changes the way you think as well. The problem is that this will make you believe the abuser when they say you are in the wrong and should apologize.


10. Depression

Being worn down by an abuser can easily make anyone depressed. Being pushed to question yourself and your sanity will get tiring over time and eventually lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Worst of all, because you think you have paranoia issues and memory loss, you are likely to search for treatment for the depression rather than the issue itself: the abuser.



Have you ever been gaslighted before?




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  1. I wish I had this article a couple months ago, I just recently escaped an emotional abuser and this would have helped me see the signs sooner

  2. Wish I saw this YEARS ago! Would have saved me & my children from years of continuous therapy & medications.

  3. From the pictures in the article, you make it seem as if women are the victims only and men can never be manipulated or shamed by an abusive woman.
    I’ve had to force myself to lie or go along with my abusive girlfriend, otherwise she’d guilt the shit out of me endlessly by constantly changing the mood from good to dark…or cry until I’ve had to apologize for not seeing things her way…(all the time). She sometimes makes me question if I’m even a good man… i’d Spontaneously buy her flowers, chocolates or little gifts, etc… to let her know I’m thinking about her …but then if I have a disagreement with her and try to maintain my ground and reason with her, she’d use her tactics as mentioned before and tell me that I’m the worse, etc..and I’d start to believe it.
    So my point is… women need to be careful that they don’t intentionally or even unintentionally “gaslight” their man at times even though he busts his ass to work hard to make her happy and put a warm smile on her face.

  4. I’m not dating anyone but a lot of this reminds me of what my dad dose…. he doesn’t remember calling me fat or telling me I’m a communist. He says I either made this up or I’m crazy.

  5. I at first thought a particular family member did this to me and then the later clues came in and it was exactly what I was going through in my marriage. 7,8,9 in particular.

    1. The ability for this person to get accepted into a school doesn’t make them a success or a good person. Please don’t think less of yourself for that. They’ll eventually get what’s coming to them.

  6. As I re-read this article, I realised that my school/work environment is rife with gaslighting, especially from the faculty; we are accused of making things up, they lie about instructions they gave; it’s a very toxic environment. I wonder how I can highlight this to my fellow residents. Thank you for the information.

  7. The ability for this person to get accepted into a school doesn’t make them a success or a good person. Please don’t think less of yourself for that. They’ll eventually get what’s coming to them and you’ll be better off without them I’m the long run.

  8. I’m currently dealing with someone who has hurt me and has been disloyal to me so many times but one thing that came up from my past made him scream at me and say nasty things. I now question myself as a person and I do believe him. I believe that i pushed him away and that its my fault we broke up. My heart sinks every time he texts me even when things are good, only because i never know what his text will be, whether its good or bad, I am always scared. I cant leave him though and every time he texts me I break down and tell him that I miss him and love him even though in the back of my mind i know i shouldn’t, but I still do. Im trying to prove something to him and i don’t even know what I’m trying to prove anymore.

    1. I used to get that feeling when getting a text from my ex-husband who is currently sitting in prison. He abused me for six years, cheated on me continuously, and always, always made me feel like the bad guy. Whatever you did in the past is in the past and you have nothing to prove to anyone. Anyone who truly loves you will accept you for who you are, past mistakes and all. Being in an abusive relationship can be addictive because the ups and downs promote trauma bonding. It’s very hard to get free of an abuser. You have to dig them out of your soul. It’s hard but definitely worth it to be safe in your own skin again.

  9. I had a boss do all of this 10 years ago. I had my life destroyed, lost literally everything and now suffer from PTSD. It took her one year to take me from a nice farm with horses, cars, tools and a girlfriend to single and homeless. NEVER work for Slush Puppie Canada.