“You’re mad – that could never happen.”
“Are you sure? Because you have an extremely bad memory.”
“It’s all in your head.”
Does your significant other say stuff like this to you a lot and you wonder if it’s really true and have you lost your own sanity? Such gaslighting in relationships is very common, but it still goes unnoticed a lot.
If you do question yourself like this, then your significant other may be using what mental health experts may call “Gaslighting.”
Gaslighting is a term that is not very clear, and many people wonder what is gaslighting in a relationship.
What does gaslighting mean in a relationship?
Gaslighting in relationships is a kind of manipulation technique that makes the other person develop self-doubt and brainwash them, which makes them lose their own sense of self-worth, identity, and perception.
This term was taken from the film Gaslight created in 1944 that shows how a husband convinced his wife to question herself and reality around her.
There are many different types of gaslighting techniques and methods used by gaslighters. Read on below to find out which techniques they are and how to deal with gaslighting in a relationship.
Withholding is when your significant other pretends not to listen and understand for e.g., “you’re trying to confuse me.”
Countering is when the abusive significant other questions the victim’s memory of events even when the victim remembers them perfectly. E.g., “you’re wrong; you don’t even know what happened”.
Blocking is when the abusive significant other questions the victim’s thoughts. e.g., you’re imagining things.
Trivializing is when the abusive significant other make the victim seem unimportant, e.g., you’re too sensitive.
Forgetting is when the abusive significant other pretends to have forgotten what they had promised to their partner, e.g., you’re making stuff up.
How to deal with gaslighting in a relationship
People in such manipulative relationships wonder how to deal with a gaslighting spouse.
This can be a complicated situation to deal with, but it is not impossible to get out of such a situation. In order to know how to stop someone from gaslighting you, you need to learn different ways to extinguish gaslighting.
- To extinguish gaslighting, you should understand the undermining behavior pattern. Once you understand the pattern, it wouldn’t affect you at all.
- The victim should keep in mind that gaslighting isn’t really about them.
In many cases, the gaslighter is a very insecure being, and gaslighting is just for their need for control and power.
- The victim should be aware that it takes a lifetime to change the gaslighter. It usually requires intensive therapy for a gaslighter to give up.
- The victim should develop their own support system as they might need other people in life who can confirm their worth and reality.
- The victim should work on rebuilding their self-esteem; they should remind their self how worthy they are and how they are such lovable and capable human beings.
- The victims should also get help by a professional as many victims are prone to lose confidence in their own self, and you may find themselves double-checking the entire day.
Stages of gaslighting in a relationship
A gaslighter has the ability to create false hope in the relationship.
This hope creates misunderstandings between the gaslighter and the victim, causing the gaslighter to manipulate more. Before learning how to turn off the gaslighting effect in your relationship, let’s first take a look at stages of gaslighting.
If the victim becomes aware of the stages of gaslighting in a relationship, then they can remain cautious and protect themselves from being gas-lit.
Here are seven stages through which a gaslighter dominates a victim
1. Lie And exaggerate
The gaslighter negatively impacts the victim.
Like psychological warfare, the lies are repeated constantly in order to stay offensive.
3. Escalate when challenged
When the victims called on their lies the gaslighter escalates the dispute by more denial, blame, and more false claims.
4. Wear out the victim
The gaslighter in relationships mentally tortures the victim who becomes discouraged, resigned and fearful.
5. Form codependent relationships
The gaslighter elicits constant insecurity and anxiety in the victim, thereby pulling the victim by strings.
6. Give false hopes
The gaslighter will occasionally treat the victim with moderation and even remorse to give the victim false hope.
7. Dominate and control
The ultimate objective of the gaslighter is to control, dominate and take advantage of another individual or even a society. The gaslighter keeps the victim in a constant state of doubt and fear.
How to get out of a gaslighting relationship
With the above guide, any victim in such a mentally abusive relationship will be able to understand how gaslighting works. Once they understand the framework, they will stop being manipulated and be able to get out of a gaslighting relationship with ease.