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10 Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship

Abena is a writer and entrepreneur. In 2016, she took the plunge and moved from the UK to Ghana, West Africa.


When you love someone, the last thing you want to discover is that they might be gaslighting you. But sadly, it happens. Gaslighting is a tactic used with the sole purpose of granting a person more power and control over you. The person manipulates you into believing things that aren't true, and this action can potentially affect your perception.

If you notice any of the following ten telltale signs of gaslighting in your relationship, get help. It's hard to watch yourself get robbed of what you know is right in front of you, but it will help with your mental health and getting out of an unhealthy relationship.

#1- They Blatantly Lie To Your Face

This sign is an obvious one, but it deserves mentioning. When someone you love and trust blatantly lies to your face about something important, your partner is probably gaslighting you. That's not to say a healthy relationship has no lies. When gaslighting, the marker has to do with the frequency and ease. If your partner rarely lies to you, then you have no reason to get worried.

#2- They Make You Doubt Your Reality

Relationships have challenges, and it's always good to work on improving yourself. However, a person who's gaslighting you will pick at your flaws and make you feel like you're "losing it," making it impossible for you to see the good in yourself. What makes this sign so dangerous is how difficult it is to detect. You may never realize your partner is gaslighting because it is subtle, and it happens over time.

#3- They Dismiss Your Feelings

Every strong relationship relies on good communication and the acknowledgment of feelings. In a healthy connection, different issues will arise from time to time, and when they do, both parties need to work them out. That means the person listening to the problems can recognize their partner's feelings and opinions.

In a gaslighting relationship, however, the person doing the gaslighting becomes your adversary. They do not recognize how you feel. They will even deny events to make you doubt yourself and discount your feelings for them to feel better about themselves.

#4- They Never Tell You "Sorry," Even When They're To Blame

It's a big red flag when a partner does not empathize with you when they hurt your feelings. A gaslighting partner does not just refuse to apologize, but they try to get you to stop thinking or feeling the way you're feeling. You can tell you have a gaslighting partner if you frequently find yourself tiring yourself out explaining your feelings just so your partner can determine their validity.

#5- They Make You Feel Like You're Not Working Hard Enough

Please realize that the fundamental aim of a gaslighting partner is to get you under their control. What happens, then, is with time, you will begin to believe that everything wrong in the relationship is your fault. Although this does not make sense, their manipulation causes you to believe it. Logically, that's not possible because a relationship depends on both partners to function correctly.

#6- They Discredit You

A gaslighter will act as if they care about you when they're around you. But then, when you're not around, your partner will spread wrong information concerning you to others. The sad part is, most people believe what the abuser says without listening to both sides of the story. To add salt to injury, they may lie to you and make you think that others think so too.

#7- They Make You Feel Like You're Going Crazy Or Overreacting

If you find yourself constantly explaining yourself to your partner or even to others, then it might be time to ask yourself if you're dealing with a gaslighter. They never listen. And they are always picking at your flaws. Their sole purpose is to make you feel like something is wrong with you, not them. So if someone makes you feel "crazy" or that nothing they do is wrong, then they're gaslighting you.

#8- They Try To Tear You Away From Those Who Care About You

When you realize that a gaslighter's main aim is control, it's easy to see why they see your loved ones as threats. They feel threatened by those who make you happy because they know your loved ones also influence your life. Thus, they try to tear you away from them. A gaslighter might start picking fights with those around you and creating a reason for you to do the same.

#9- They Make You Feel Powerless

A relationship with a gaslighter is one where they have all -- or most of -- the power. You begin to think you're crazy; you feel there's something wrong with you. And those feelings cause you to feel out of control. You feel like you're all alone. You feel powerless against the gaslighter.

#10- They Make You Distrust Yourself

As mentioned earlier, most people, including women and men, believe what someone close to you says -- even if the person is lying. It gets to a point where you distrust yourself. You begin to think they might be right about your being "crazy." When you feel like you can't trust your judgment, that's a sign that you're dealing with someone who wants to gaslight you.

As you read through the list of signs, you probably have memories that present themselves to you. Perhaps you feel you're dealing with a gaslighting partner. But before you jump to conclusions, take a step back to assess your relationship. Seek professional help to determine if you're genuinely in a gaslighting relationship.

When you confirm your suspicions, what next? Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse, so if you feel like your partner is gaslighting you, the best thing to do is get out of the relationship. If you think they're just trying to help, then try communicating with them. The way they deal with you will further prove if you're in one or not.

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Finally, remember that at times, a victim of gaslighting may continue to doubt themselves even after they've left a gaslighter in their lives. The moment that happens stop doubting yourself and stand up for yourself.


Ann M from Temple Terrace on October 04, 2021:

This is a very good description of a gaslighter. I wish I didn’t know so well.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 04, 2021:

Ultimately no one can (make you) think anything about yourself unless there is a part of you that is in agreement with them.

If you're always "second guessing yourself" or trying to figure out what this other person would do or say then you're probably insecure. Some folks are actually attracted to narcissists.

They believe if this person is "special" and chooses to be with them that means I am special. So they will try to hold onto them.

It's human nature for people to want to have things (their way) so with that in mind it's up to each individual to have their own boundaries and "deal breakers".

Those who automatically "go along to get along" or are "people pleasers" are likely to have low self-esteem and insecurities.

If someone has convinced you that YOU are always wrong or you are always at odds, you are probably with the wrong person!

A romantic relationship should not resemble a parent/child relationship. There should be (mutual) respect consideration.

The mistake a lot of folks make is trying to make things "work".

No amount of communication or work can overcome being with someone who simply does not want what you want!

Others hold onto or can't let go of the memories they have from the infatuation phase of their relationship. This causes them to "hope" that if they can change or have their mate change those times will return.

Life is too short to be trying to change water into wine.

The goal is to find someone (who already is) what you want.

No one is "stuck" with anyone. Suffering is optional.

"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

- Oscar Wilde

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