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.
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.
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?