Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser manipulates situations repeatedly to trick the victim into distrusting his or her own memory and perceptions.

Gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse.

It makes victims question the very instincts that they have counted on their whole lives, making them unsure of anything.

Gaslighting victims are likely to believe whatever their abusers tell them regardless as to their own experience because of this.

There are numerous gaslighting techniques which makes it difficult to identify.

The techniques are used to hide truths that the abuser doesn't want the victim to realise.


Withholding:

  • Where the abuser feigns a lack of understanding, refuses to listen and declines sharing his/her emotions. For example:
    • "I'm not listening to that crap again tonight."
    • "You're just trying to confuse me."

Countering: 

  • Where an abuser will vehemently call into question a victim's memory in spite of them having remembered things correctly. For example:
    • "Think about when you didn't remember things correctly last time."
    • "You thought that last time and you were wrong."

These techniques throw the victim off the issue at hand and make them question their own motivations and perceptions.

The abuser will then call into question the experiences, thoughts and opinions more globally through statements said in anger like:

  • "You see everything in the most negative way."
  • "Well you obviously never believed in me then."
  • "You have an overactive imagination."

Blocking and Diverting are techniques where the abuser changes the conversation from the subject matter to questioning the victim's thoughts and controlling the conversation. Examples include:

  • "I'm not going through that again."
  • "Where did you get a crazy idea like that?"
  • "Quit bitching."
  • "You're hurting me on purpose."

Trivializing: 

  • Involves making the victim believe his or her thoughts or needs aren't important, for example:
    • "You're going to let something like that come between us?"

Abusive Forgetting and Denial can also be forms of gaslighting. In this technique, the abuser pretends to forget things that have really occurred; the abuser may also deny things like promises that have been made that are important to the victim. An abuser might say,

  • "What are you talking about?"
  • "I don't have to take this."
  • "You're making that up."

Some gaslighters will then mock the victim for their "wrongdoings" and "misperceptions".


How Do You Know If You Are Being Gaslighted?

If any of the following warning signs ring true, you may be experiencing Gaslighting.

Take care of yourself by taking another look at your relationship, talking to a trusted friend; and, begin to think about changing the dynamic of your relationship.

Here are some signs:

1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself

2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day

3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work

4. You're always apologising to your mother, father, boy/girlfriend, boss

5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier

6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behaviour to friends and family

7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses

8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself

9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists

10. You have trouble making simple decisions

11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed

12. You feel hopeless and joyless

13. You feel as though you can't do anything right

14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/wife/employee/friend/daughter

15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses