Gaslighting can be described as the manipulation of an individual through psychological means so that they end up wondering about their own sanity. This is usually at the hands of a person with symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
So, what are some warning signs of gaslighting in a relationship?:
- You Find Yourself Lying Just To Keep The Peace.
- You No Longer Know What Is Considered Normal.
- You're Being Tricked Into Thinking You're The One With Mental Issues.
- You Stop Speaking Your Mind.
- Your Fears May Be Used Against You.
- You Start To Question Your Own Mind.
- You May Then Sink Into A State Of Depression.
- You Become Confused About What To Believe and Perceive.
- Your Memory Becomes Fuzzy.
- You Believe That You Are Going Insane.
If any of these sound like you or if you are wondering if you are a victim of this kind of behavior, read on for our 10 warning signs on how to tell if your significant other is a gaslighter...
1.) You Find Yourself Lying Just To Keep The Peace.
Many victims of gaslighting in relationships are not natural liars but find that they need to lie simply to keep the peace.
This is particularly prevalent in situations where your partner (or person with whom you are in an unhealthy relationship) is angered easily.
The result is that you find you need to bend the truth, a little or a lot so that you can avoid verbal or physical abuse due to not following their “rules”.Don’t fall into this trap and don’t make yourself a liar because you are in a relationship with a gaslighter.
2.) You No Longer Know What Is Considered Normal.
The lover often insists that unhealthy or immoral scenarios are completely normal and practically forces you to admit the same. This is typical gaslighting behavior.
An example could be if your partner asks you to lie about the bruises on your arms. If you refuse, they may pass threats to break-up or commit suicide.
Again, don’t fall into the trap of complying with them as this is how they are manipulating you.
3.) You're Being Tricked Into Thinking You're The One With Mental Issues.
It goes without saying that narcissism is very unhealthy and even pathological mentally.
The gaslighting effect can be clearly seen in an individual who, when not getting their way, will insist that YOU are the one who is paranoid, angry, unreasonable and/or hormonal.
They might even tell you that you require medication or therapy to deal with your so-called issues. Obviously, the case is the exact opposite and they're the one who needs treatment. At the end of the day, a narcissist always wants to be in control.
4.) You Stop Speaking Your Mind.
It is only natural for any (healthy) human being to want to express their thoughts about experiences and beliefs.
If there is someone in your life with whom you are afraid to do this, you could very well be a victim of gaslighting. At times, you will cease talking about yourself in fear of angering the other person.
In extreme cases, you may even forget how to talk about yourself and your experiences. How scary is that?
5.) Your Fears May Be Used Against You.
When you first meet someone with narcissistic tendencies, they are usually friendly, charming and charismatic. Don’t be fooled because when they are listening to you, they are mentally memorizing any fears or insecurities that you may express to them.
This will later be used against you in an attempt to manipulate you. For example, if you tell them you are afraid of spiders, they may often scare you into believing that there is a spider nearby.
This sounds very cruel but it is the way in which they operate- be aware. Remember, a gaslighter always has to be the strongest one in the relationship and this explains why they love manipulating your fears.
6.) You Start To Question Your Own Mind.
While in a relationship with the gaslighting type, you may well find them suggesting that they know exactly what you are thinking and feeling. If you deny this, they will tell you that you are lying.
You can easily spot this by their facial expressions and words that indicate you don’t know how you, yourself, are feeling or thinking.
Don’t waste your breath arguing with them because these kinds of folks will never admit that they are wrong.
7.) You May Then Sink Into A State Of Depression.
A gasser can sometimes be ruthless and will never let up. You will be constantly told that you are over-sensitive and paranoid. This is why you, as a victim, will begin to feel worn out, hopeless, sad and depressed.
It is only natural that you will feel this way after being taken on a veritable roller-coaster ride of emotions. If you are aware that you are in a relationship or marriage with a narcissist, you should not come off as confusing.
In addition, rather than seeking help for your “problem” rather address the issues with them. As soon as this poisonous relationship is over, your depression should fade away with time.
8.) You Become Confused About What To Believe and Perceive.
When you are constantly being told that your beliefs and perceptions are false, at some point, you will begin to doubt yourself.
For example, they love to tell you that other, healthy relationships you have are no good.
Why? Because they want you to sabotage those relationships. You should, therefore, take anything that they tell you with a pinch of salt.
9.) Your Memory Becomes Fuzzy.
Ever heard of selective memory? Well, that state of mind could definitely have been invented by a person of narcissism!
If you are continuously being denied that they hurt you or they make empty promises, this is a telltale warning sign.
You do not have memory problems- you are definitely being gassed up and need to take a step back from your relationship with that person to avoid being taken advantage of.
10.) You Believe That You Are Going Insane.
If you have ever been in a close relationship with a professional narcissist, you will understand the full intensity of their manipulation on your life!
They are also extremely convincing so, even if you are correct, they will have you believe that you were wrong.
After the fact, you may feel confused as to what just happened.
Let Us Know:
Helpful Video On How To Deal With Gaslighting
© 2018 M Will
Cherrie Rene from United States on July 21, 2020:
Kathryn Collins i feel as if i am hearing my own voice. We are 100% going through the exact same thing. My husband has memory prob and is very aware he suffers from the exact diagnosis including PTSD from the military along with sleep apnea but refuses to see dr and seek treatment. Yet gets angry at me when im trying to tell him he is remembering something wrong or not at all. He also tunes me comp out as well as plugs his ears like a child. We have been married 18yrs and i am 16yrs his junior
Kathryn Collins from UK on March 05, 2020:
I have agreed with my husband in the past or said what I know he wanted me to in order to get him to stop arguing with me to agree with what he wants me to while tuning out what I say or explaining why it is wrong.
He will forget things or remember things wrongly and tell me I am the one who is wrong. I don't think he does the second thing on purpose. I think he needs meds but he does not want help. He was diagnosed with mood disorder, anxiety and depression.
He oozes negativity so I keep my distance as I am trying to emotionally heal from 35 years so far of marriage
No name on February 16, 2020:
All 10 signs for lighting have effected me and have also been said to me. However, I have been told that I have epilepsy since the age of 5. (It seems to be cowinsidensly strange that this is around the age my daughter seemed different to me.) I cant get into details completely, but it was totally ALL no choice scarry! 3 narcissist and affraid an innocent will be one because of them.
Dawniee on February 16, 2020:
My ex is a malignant narcissist and I never realized that until I had been divorced and dating for almost a year about what my ex husband was and I googled lack of empathy regarding my current boyfriend after I felt something was so very off and NPD showed so I read on this then Anti-social Personality disorder came up as I read about this it rang true to my ex-husband so I always believed him to be a sociopath and up until last week I went back and forth between the two disorders regarding my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend is a narcissist and all the info I read was him through and through and he blamed me for the demise of our relationship and re-iterated all of my fears and beliefs I had shared with him . Then my ex -husband once I watched a video in a Malignant Narcissist where it was explained by dissecting it and basically this is my ex -husband and he’s pure evil and the amount of irreversible damage he’s done to mine and our children’s life is so disgusting and sadistic and the torturous approach he took during our marriage to gaslight me into questioning my own body and values as he accused me of cheating for 2 years non-stop. What he did to get all on board was so crazy as I was being asked by my friends if I was cheating it was hitting all ways and I was loosing it .. sleep deprivation is a tactic they use too to make you more apt forget and get confused . I left him With our two kids and since March 2013 till now even after divorce I had primary residence of our kids for 5-1/2 years and I never knew anyone for that matter would set one up for abuse and neglect as he did this to me .. trauma shut down total despair loosing all hope it’s now feb 2020 and he has kids and I live in fear and pray he does Not ever physically hurt our kids . I can’t understand why the Dcf and family courts and more family attorneys aren’t trained to understand this is most high conflict divorces and they truly need to at First believe kids and ex-wife who is in C-PTSD and just because we’re triggered flight fight doesn’t mean we’re crazy it means we’re being abused by the ex-spouse and he is calm doesn’t that tell all ???? I mean really my life was annihilated On the basic fact that DCF are not educated or trained in this area as to why narcissism is on the rise . The victims are getting Re-victimized over and over loosing all hope and it truly is one of the Sickest undermining crap I’ve ever could imagine .. if we want to see change it starts with educating the family Courts judges attorneys police officers schools counselors social worker and especially DCF & CPS they totally destroy children and the spouses who were abused . Disgusting !
UseCare on April 25, 2019:
Oh, I didn’t see dashingscorpio’s comment. It’s a shame I cannot post some of the events that happened since I left... I always thought that too, dashing, just get out, why do women stay? What’s wrong with them? Oh, I learned why, what it takes, what happens...
UseCare on April 25, 2019:
I did not realize how scary these type can be. I never met anyone like this person before. I thought moving far away would finalize the end of the relationship until odd things started occurring in my home. I laughed it off at first - remembering this was how I used to live because it was how things had been prior to me moving - NEVER realizing that “someone” had been in my home! (I do not want to say what type of things were happening.) A few particular and scary events then happened and there was no doubt it was the former. No sign of forced entry whatsoever during any of these “events”. This continues despite police activities. I have to be vague about everything that I write.. It is unbelievable to think this is happening now because of the magical start of the relationship. Anyway, some advice that might sound expensive now but it could save you $$$ in the long run plus more importantly... IMMEDIATELY change ALL of your passwords - everyone single one!!! If you have absolutely have to write them down then put them on something that you can hide. These type of people will be all over everything. Everything, everywhere. Yes, even the back of the bureau. Consider a new home, perhaps you can’t. Either way, I suggest hidden cameras with a router and modem changeout, preferably with a new internet provider. Be aware that any provider parked in your drive may possibly be viewed and phoned later with a great story by a stalker or girl/friend of stalker. (Remember how bad the ex was spoken of? They can spin a great story and most likely have your SS # even if you may not think so! I had my credit reports taken. I always thought I was pretty savvy.) Get a new bank account. Get a new computer - even a used one until you can afford a new one. New email address. Please give some serious thought to your social media accounts. I really like my iPhone now but know how to use settings. Set PIN numbers on your phone- not just the start menu - but in all settings. I believe Apple offers courses. I never, ever thought I would be in this position nor did I think I would sound like this, spouting off about changing passwords, installing cameras, etc. Please give serious thought to this, I beg you!! It may save your life!! I still could lose mine at some point, I don’t know. I’m writing this in hopes that whoever may read this will strongly consider the advice or tell their family, friends, acquaintances about the advice. It is hard-learned advice. God bless you all.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 16, 2018:
Not everyone is in a position to leave this type of person. Circumstances are sometimes such, that the victim has absolutely no choice.
Thank you for this very informative and helpful article. I'm holding on to this!
M Will (author) from New Haven, CT on October 19, 2018:
Well said, Dashingscorio. However, it's sad to say that some people choose not to leave at first for a number of reasons:
1.) Hoping the gaslighter will change.
2.) They don't realize they're being manipulated at the time.
3.) Feeling like they have nowhere else to go (depression caused by narcissistic behavior will make you feel this way)
4.) The fear of losing everything they own
5.) The fear of being alone
and much more depending on the person.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 19, 2018:
"..you find you need to bend the truth, a little or a lot so that you can avoid verbal or physical abuse due to not following their “rules”. Don’t fall into this trap and don’t make yourself a liar because you are in a relationship with a gaslighter!"
I imagine if someone has decided to stay with such a person they will do whatever they deem necessary to keep the peace. The solution isn't to stop lying but rather find the courage to leave!
Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.
Each of us has our mate selection process/must haves list.
Each of us has our has our boundaries and "deal breakers".
No one is "stuck" with anyone. Suffering is optional.
We're always where we choose to be.
Insecure people pleasers or those overly enamored with someone are likely to bend over backwards in order to avoid being abandoned. They want to bask in his/her limelight.
They don't feel special without the love of a narcissist.
If you're unhappy, can't relax, or simply be yourself odds are you're in a toxic relationship. Walking on eggshells and second guessing yourself is not the other person's fault.
It's your choice to leave or stay.
In a world with over 7 Billion people rejection just means: Next!
"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."
- Oscar Wilde