Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation that leads someone to question their own sanity. Whoever falls victim to it ends up second guessing their memories and perceptions of reality. Soon they will be distrusting their own memories not just in the relationship itself, but in everything. It's detrimental to their mental health. Gaslighting can stem from many things; this person can be seeking control in their life, they could have learned it from others like their parents, or they could have an authoritarian personality. Sometimes they don't even realize what they are doing to you. These are just some signs you are being gaslighted in your relationship:
1. Your partner calls your memory into question, which is called "Countering."
They could say something like, "You're wrong, you never remember things correctly." This also leads them to project this trick onto a global level and say things like, "You see everything in the most negative way" or "Well, you obviously never believed in me then."
2. They make you feel like your thoughts and feelings aren't as important by "Trivializing."
They could say something like, "You're going to let something like that come between us?" or "You're going to get angry over something so little like that?" It's a way to make you and your feelings seem smaller than they are and to perceive them as not valid.
3. Forgetting and Denial can also be forms of gaslighting.
They pretend to forget things that have really occurred; they may also deny things like promises that have been made that are of clear importance to you. They might say: "I don't have to take this", "You're crazy, that never happened", or "You're making things up."
4. You ask yourself if you're being too sensitive multiple times a day.
You are convinced that it's just you, and it's your fault. They could say something like, "You're just playing the victim card."
5. You're always apologizing, to everyone.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to your family and friends.
7. You withhold information about your relationship from your family and friends so you don't have to make up excuses and give explanations.
8. You start lying to your partner to avoid possible put downs, verbal abuse, and reality twists.
9. You have trouble making small decisions on your own that should be simple.
10. You always question if you're good enough for your partner.
11. You feel like you've been worn down over time.
You feel like you just don't know what to do, say, or feel anymore because everything seems wrong. Every argument may turn into something major and you just give up trying, so you stay silent after a while.
12. You've been told by your partner that everyone else is a liar, that they just don't like him/her, or are out to get him/her.
These are just some of the signs you are being manipulated in your relationship. Whether you recognize that you're in something like this right now or you have been in the past and still struggling, it gets better. You will learn to trust your memories and decisions again. I'm here to let you know that you are not alone, and this happens more often than you may know. You are not too sensitive, you are not crazy, your feelings are important, and your memories are real. Trust in yourself because you are in control of you. They cannot control you. You will find your sense of self again.
Reach out to your support system or if you don't feel that you can talk to your family or friends you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for Deaf/Hard of hearing.