Gaslighting in a relationship can be a real nightmare. Unfortunately, many people do not spot it early. And even when they spot it, they do not know the right way to navigate through it. Gaslighting is when the other party makes you question your own experiences and feelings. In a relationship, your partner may psychologically manipulate you to think you remember or feel things wrong.
So What Are the Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship?
Many people get gaslighted in relationships but do not notice it. However, staying in that environment is psychological torture. In many cases, it does not happen at the start of the relationship. Your partner may build a solid and trustworthy relationship with you. Then, when you are too deep and strongly attached, the gaslighting starts. This is one primary reason why people do not recognize gaslighting.
Below are the common signs of gaslighting in a relationship.
#1: Lying to you
If your partner is a pathological liar, you may want to look deeper at whether or not they invalidate your experiences and perception. Gaslighters are often habitual liars; take note of that. Many times, their stories or excuses are lies. But despite this, they will firmly take their stand and won’t back out even if you call them out.
#2: Gossip about you
One thing about gaslighters is they try to win people on their side. With more people on their side, you are more likely to start second-guessing yourself. The only way to win people on their side is to gossip about you. They will expose your vulnerability to others, all to appear like the party on the right side.
They will also twist their stories and tell you what people think about your emotional state. Such people target spots that are sensitive to you, which they know will hurt the most.
#3: They distract you
Have you ever asked somebody a question, and they answer you back with a question? That is one tactic a gaslighter will use.
Their answers will often be along the lines of:
- Are you crazy?
- Are you even listening to yourself?
- Why don’t you trust me?
- Why do you keep following me around like a child?
Such distractors will take you down, which is their winning point.
#4: Invalidating your feelings and emotions
A gaslighter will never recognize how heavy emotion is on you. They will always invalidate it and say you are overreacting. They will tell you to stop being overdramatic or too sensitive. With this, your instincts will tell you to step and coil back into a shell, which is a gaslighter’s goal (when you cannot express your feelings).
#5: Strong on the blame game
A gaslighter is always right. This is why all the blame will always come back to you. If you are in a relationship with someone who is always the victim, they could be very calculating with their gaslighting. If you call them out on anything, they will find a way to shift the blame to you. You will always be the reason behind their bad behavior.
They will never take responsibility for their bad behavior. Or they will say that they did it because you pushed them to do it.
#6: They coat their behaviors with sweet words
Gaslighters are very calculating. They make you feel like you are in the wrong when it is them. They will, therefore, use sweet and compassionate words to blind you. When you call them out, you will hear things like, ‘You know how deeply I love you….”, or, “I would never cheat on you on purpose….”
They know that these words make you feel good. You may fall for them, but they are all inauthentic.
#7: They retell the story wrongly
When in a relationship, you two know the details of an incident when it happens. However, a gaslighting partner will go out there and retell the story to favor themselves. They may omit parts to suit what they are trying to achieve. Or they may include parts or twist them to make you look bad.
If they omit, exaggerate or twist incidents to make themselves better before others, they have mastered the art of gaslighting well.
#8: They never let you talk during a fight
Gaslighters can be too loud or talkative during a conflict. They will cut you off or constantly invalidate you; you won’t just get the chance to express yourself.
A psychologist notes that many people resort to sending long messages and emails to express their feelings. Many people may not recognize this, but it is a clear sign of gaslighting in a relationship; you cannot express yourself well with your partner, and the only way out is to send them long messages.
#9: They never apologize
If you express your hurt feelings to your partner, the only sane thing for them is to listen and apologize if they are in the wrong. However, gaslighters would rather die than apologize. It is not unpopular for them to shift the blame on you and expect you to apologize for their mistakes.
In a healthy relationship, all partners make mistakes. And it is only suitable for them to apologize. However, if you are the only one ever apologizing, yet your feelings are hurt, chances are high you are being gaslit.
#10: You are voiceless in the relationship
A gaslighter makes you feel guilty every other single time a conflict arises. They may also make you feel too needy; you decide to start keeping to yourself. They will always blame you when you express your hurt feelings.
With accumulated guilt, you may decide to start keeping to yourself. If you feel like you cannot express your feelings, or your partner has made it clear that they are not a safe space to talk about what you genuinely feel, they are probably gaslighting you.
How to Deal With Gaslighting?
Here are some tips for dealing with gaslighting in your relationships:
- Confront your partner about their gaslighting. Many people do not know they are gaslighting others, so call them out.
- If your partner is narcissistic, for the sake of your well-being, walk away from a such relationship.
- Get support from friends and professionals.
- Understand that it is not your job to stop the gaslighting pattern. But it is your job to protect yourself; walk out if the gaslighting persists.