How to Identify Gaslighting in Relationships

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting can happen in any relationship and has been known to cause mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. It usually begins with little things, such as making someone feel guilty for inconsequential reasons more often than necessary or if something appears strange, they question your reality? This is an act by the abuser/gas lighter to persuade you that your feelings are wrong and to only trust the gas lighter. Gaslighting is subtle at first, which can make it difficult to recognize, however, there are ways to detect it.

The first step in identifying gaslighting is recognizing how the person is telling you how to feel or is trying to convince you of something without letting you think about it for yourself. Next, if you notice a lot of mind games and manipulation, that’s also a sign that gaslighting might be happening. Another way to identify gaslighting is if someone needs constant praise. Saying things like “you can’t survive without me” or “without me, you’re really nothing” could also be signs that gaslighting might be happening in your relationship.

If you’re in a relationship with a gas lighter, odds are they might also try to convince you that your friends and family are bad influences or part of the problem. They may also say things like being around certain people is “toxic” or everyone else is wrong but them.  Using scare tactics is another sign of gaslighting. Examples include things like “if you don’t do what I say, something bad will happen” or “if you tell anyone about this, they’ll never forgive you.” Furthermore, if the gas lighter tries to convince you that only they can help or only they understand you, that’s also a sign of gaslighting. Another way to gaslight is to try and convince you that reality isn’t real is through evasion or diversion. If they avoid a certain topic, refuse to answer questions about it, or redirect the conversation when this subject comes up, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a gas lighter.  If the gas lighter has told you that you’re “crazy” or “imagining things,” something is definitely wrong. You know your own reality better than anyone else and the fact that they’re denying it means there’s a problem.

While this list is far from comprehensive, if you find that something on here sounds familiar next time, listen to your gut. If something sounds off, it probably is. Remember that you deserve to feel good and be around people who build you up and makes you feel safe rather than trying to tear you down. Look out for yourself because your feelings are valid and always remember that anything someone says or does when they want to control you isn’t right.

If you’re starting to notice signs of gaslighting in your relationship, it’s time for an intervention. Gas lighters are skilled manipulators and will do whatever they can to get what they want out of the person who is being abused. If this sounds like a situation you might be experiencing contact AMR today. Our team is ready to help heal any wounds from emotional abuse through therapy sessions tailored specifically for people who have been hurt by gaslighting tactics. We’ll work with you on everything from learning how to identify these types of behaviors (such as mind games) so that next time something strange happens, you’ll recognize it right away before things escalate into more of a problem. We’ll also help you to work through any guilt or shame that comes along with being in this type of toxic relationship so you can find out what you really want when it comes to your relationships. We are here for you, helping you discover a better life.