Most people have heard of gaslighting and have some idea of what it is. However, when you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s not always easy to figure out if it’s happening. Unfortunately, if you have a partner who is gaslighting you and doing a good job of it, they might have you questioning yourself and your beliefs, rather than allowing you to see the reality of the situation.
Gaslighting is a form of abuse. It’s unhealthy in any relationship, and can change the way you think about yourself and your life.
So, how can you tell if there’s gaslighting in your relationship?
More importantly, what should you do if you’re able to spot the signs?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common “red flags” associated with gaslighting, and how you can fight back to reclaim your identity and reality.
Your Partner Dismisses Your Feelings
One of the easiest ways to spot gaslighting in a relationship is to look at the way your partner treats your feelings.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Your partner doesn’t have to agree with you about everything. However, if you express an emotion and they ignore it or even try to convince you that you’re being irrational, it’s a problem.
They might even say things like “you’re being dramatic” or “you’re just blowing things out of proportion”.
When that happens often enough, you might start to believe it. So, you won’t express your feelings as often, or you might even start to doubt them yourself.
You Doubt Your Own Reality
It’s not uncommon to have to question yourself and your behaviors in a relationship. No one is perfect, and challenging yourself to break free from unhealthy patterns is important.
However, there’s a big difference between positive changes and growth, and doubting your reality because of your partner’s words and actions. If your partner causes you to doubt yourself enough, you might start to feel like you’re losing all sense of reality.
Obviously, that can lead to a myriad of mental health issues, including extreme anxiety.
When a conflict arises, they’ll always blame you. As a result, you’ll start to believe that you’re either not good enough or not working hard enough to make your relationship successful. This is nothing more than a manipulation tool that gaslighters use to get what they want, but it can have devastating consequences in your relationship, and for you, personally.
You Make Excuses for Your Partner
Sometimes, gaslighting behaviors can be obvious to everyone but the person actually having to deal with them.
Your friends or family might notice your partner’s actions and warn you about them. Unfortunately, the longer it’s been going on, the more likely you’ll be to make excuses for them because they’ve “trained” you into thinking things are your fault.
You might even get upset with people looking out for you because your sense of self and reality has been so damaged.
What Can You Do?
If there is gaslighting in your relationship, it’s essential to address it right away. While some relationships can be salvaged, it’s rare for the person doing the gaslighting to stop. In those cases, the best thing you can do is leave.
Understandably, that’s easier said than done. It’s especially difficult when you’ve been with that person for a long time and they’ve caused you to question everything.
However, if some of the signs and red flags in this article sound familiar, it’s imperative for your well-being that you step away from the relationship. Beyond that, feel free to search for an expert couples counselor near you for more information and to start reclaiming your sense of self and reality. Click here to be redirected to our 100% free online search engine to find a qualified and compassionate couples therapist near you. Or use the search engine below to find a qualified couples therapist near you. Click the search button and then enter in your zip code.
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