What Is Gaslighting Anyway? Here Are 5 Signs Your Partner Is Doing It to You, According to Psychologists
If your partner is doing any of these manipulative things, it may be time to question your relationship.
If you've ever been in a relationship where you constantly hear your partner saying things like, "I never said that" or "you're being way too sensitive right now," you may be familiar with the term psychologists call, gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where the gaslighter will make their victim feel confused and doubtful about their own sanity. It's not something to ever ignore and unfortunately, it can be detrimental to the victim's psychological well-being.
According to Psycom.com, "Persistent gaslighting can be catastrophic for the mental health of the person on the receiving end causing them to believe they deserve the abuse. The impact can last long after the gaslighter is out of the victim's life and very often leads to a lifetime of self-doubt and difficulty making decisions."
Good and safe relationships are built on trust, so it's unnerving to think that a partner or friend, could potentially be gaslighting you without you realizing. Luckily there are signs you can look for to determine if this is happening to you. Read on to see the five signs your partner is gaslighting you, according to psychologists.
READ THIS NEXT: The Zodiac Sign Most Likely to Break Your Heart, Astrologers Say.
They lie to you.
Being lied to is a bright red flag that you may be being gaslit by your partner—and these lies don't have to be big either.
"One of the key signs that your partner may be gaslighting you is if they frequently lie or deny the truth, even when confronted with facts," says Alyssa Roberts, senior writer at Practical Psychology. "They may also twist information to suit their own narrative and may try to deflect blame or responsibility onto you."
When your partner lies to you constantly, no matter what it's about, they may be attempting to break you down little by little, to make you question everything about yourself, including your own memories and mind.
They blame you for everything.
It's normal for couples to have arguments and point fingers at one another from time to time, but it's an entirely different story when it comes to gaslighting. If your partner often blames you for their own actions or emotions, it's unfortunately a sign you're being manipulated.
"Gaslighters often deflect responsibility for their own bad behavior onto their victims," says Kalley Hartman, LMFT at Ocean Recovery. "For example, they might say things like, 'It's your fault I had to do this,' or 'If only you were different,' then this wouldn't have happened."
In most healthy relationships, no one person is 100 percent to blame. With gaslighting, your partner will make you the problem in almost every scenario.
For more helpful advice delivered straight to your inbox,sign up for our daily newsletter.
They make you question your sanity.
Gaslighters love to make you question your own mindset. When you're being gaslighted, it's your partner's goal to make you feel as though you are the one who is becoming unstable. If you have been questioning your own truth and gut instincts, that's another red flag.
"If you often wonder if something is wrong with you, or whether you're to blame after communicating with a partner, this may indicate that you're being gaslit," says Brooke Schwartz, LCSW at Choosing Therapy.
Schwartz also says to look out for especially manipulative statements like, "You're so sensitive," "Don't get so worked up," and "You sound crazy."
They deny things they said to you.
If your partner frequently makes you feel like you're suffering from memory loss, it may be a sign of gaslighting.
"When your partner constantly says things like 'I never said that' or 'you must have heard me wrong' to where you are questioning what you heard over and over again—another sign of gaslighting," says Dunn.
And while these statements of denial may seem small, if you are being controlled to think in a different way, it's not something to sweep under the rug.
Nancy Landrum, MA, an author and relationship coach, says that an example of gaslighting is when your partner is "so certain of their interpretation and belittles your perceptions that you eventually will think to yourself, 'They must be right. I guess I remember it wrong."'
Your partner may even flat out deny that certain events or conversation took place, and twist your own reality into another version. This often leaves the victim feeling confused and questioning, "Did I make it up? Did it happen that way? Maybe it was a dream," says Dunn.
They isolate you from your support network.
One of the more severe signs a partner is gaslighting you is by slowly isolating you from your loved ones and support network. By plucking people out of your life one by one, your partner will in turn gain more control over you and your thoughts.
"Gaslighting can often involve isolating the victim from their support system, whether that's friends, family, or professionals," says Roberts. "Your partner may try to prevent you from talking to others about the relationship or discourage you from seeking help."
Without proper support from loved ones and family members, your partner's gaslighting tendencies will increase, and you won't be able to get the help you truly need.
If any of these things are happening to you, it may be time to question if the relationship you are in is worth it.