When you start to doubt yourself and things you know have been said and those around you tell you that was never said or you misunderstood what was said do you question your sanity?
To be honest, we all have times when we wonder if we did misunderstand what someone said, but if it is being said to us frequently then it is highly likely that you are being gaslighted and being led to believe that you are going crazy when you are not.
What exactly is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is one of the most common forms of emotional abuse and the abuser is attempting to control and manipulate you.
Their aim is to remove your self-confidence and have you question everything going on in your life and lead you to believe that everything is in your mind.
Over time this abuse will increase, their mind games will feel like torture and they make their victim behave irrationally especially in front of others so when the time comes to totally discredit the victim everyone will believe it as they have already seen for themselves the victim acting in an irrational manner.
The victim will begin to lose touch with reality and will become paranoid about everyone and everything.
Gaslighting takes place in close relationships as the victim is supposed to be able to trust the abuser.
The most important thing that you must know is how to spot all the red flag signs that someone might be a gaslighter, be that a friend or a romantic partner.
Here are some of the most common examples:
The abuser starts with little lies, planting a seed of doubt with their victim and those around them. The abuser will convince their victim that without them they would be nothing and have no way of being successful in life without their support.
They will make their victim feel inadequate and their victim will start to question if they can even survive life without their abuser.
The abuser is so clever and articulate in what they say it would never occur to anyone to doubt their word and in that action, everyone has fallen for the initial tactic of bringing the victim down.
Once doubts around the victim start the abuser will then begin their control tactics. The abuser makes their victim feel they are not good enough in all aspects of their life. They will humiliate them in public so that their victim begins to be afraid to even speak for fear of being embarrassed. Name calling is a common way and they will imply that their victim is suffering from a mental health issue to anyone who will listen and they will be convincing when doing so.
Should the victim be strong enough at this stage to challenge their abuser they will claim they have imagined all they are saying. They will say they are not making sense and perhaps should seek medical attention. They will start to withhold any form of affection that they have been using up to this point and tell their victim that they can’t possibly love someone who doubts their love for them, more mind games and often the victim bows down to this as they don’t want to lose what they currently have with the abuser.
Should the victim get distressed about having their thoughts and feelings ignored or trivialized their abusers’ responses are “Don’t be so sensitive!”, or “You are overreacting!” In doing this the abuser has convinced the victim that their thoughts are not worth voicing and worse listening to so the victim begins to grow quieter and being afraid to say what they are thinking.
Bombarding the victim with questions
Once the abuser feels confident that full control is close at hand, they will then start to questions everything their victim does. Time limits will be given for simple tasks such as grocery shopping and if it takes longer, they will question why and accuse their victim of doing something they haven’t done such as meeting with friends the abuser has banned contact with or even accuse the victim of having an affair.
Using your loved ones against you
They will tell members of your family that you have a mental illness and they are trying to help you, if children are involved, they even gaslight the children into believing their mother is worthless and sick in the head and they must report back to them all that their mother has said and done. The abuser will tell the family that she is an unfit mother and, in some cases, has even engaged the family to help remove the children from their mother.
Making you believe the people around you are against you
They will tell their victim that people they once trusted are against them, they will tell their victim things they have said about them behind their back, leaving the victim reeling in shock and feeling very much alone and that the only person they should trust is their abuser. The abuser will make them believe that everyone is against them. Once the abuser accomplishes that, they know they are the only person in their victim’s life left who has any power over them and that is the only thing they need to feel like their work with their victim is done.
If any of this sounds familiar then it’s time to remove yourself from this environment before it’s too late.