Gaslighting is a form of manipulation which can occur in abusive relationships. The perpetrator will make the victim doubt their own perceptions, memory, judgement and sometimes even their sanity. It is a manipulation tactic used by abusers to gain power over their victim. It often occurs in romantic relationships but also can be present in familial relationships or friendships. 

Gaslighting is usually done over a longer period of time. It can be hard to spot in the beginning but after a while the victim can feel isolated, confused and lose their confidence and self esteem. 

Am I being gaslit by my partner?

When someone is gaslighting you you may second guess yourself and your memories. You can feel backed into a corner and not sure whether what you perceive as reality is actually real. 

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • They lie frequently.
    Gaslighters are often compulsive or pathological liars. For example they could outright deny they said something, even though you know that they did. They could say things like ‘you’re making this up’ or ‘that never happened’ which then makes you question your memory.
  • They use what you love against you.
    For example if you love your job, they might find issues with it. If you have children, the abuser might make you feel like you are a bad parent. 
  • Discrediting you.
    The abuser may spread gossip about you that you are ‘crazy’ or mentally unwell. 
  • They lovebomb you.
    The gaslighter will tear you down and then build you back up again. This is a manipulation tactic used to make you feel loved after feeling so alone. This is to convince the victim that the abuser isn’t all bad. 
  • They confuse you.
    An abuser will instil constant confusion to make you question your own reality. They can do this by denying wrongdoing, rewriting history and shifting blame. 
  • They minimise your thoughts and feelings.
    They may say things like ‘it’s not that big of a deal’ or ‘you’re overreacting’ but the important thing to remember is if their behaviour is making you feel in a negative way then you are not overreacting.
  • Projecting their behaviour.
    For example, if they are a liar or a cheater then they will accuse you of the same thing. 
  • Isolating the victim.
    They will call everyone else around them a liar or that they are crazy to further isolate the victim from their friends and family.

How do I know if I’m being gaslit?

Signs that you might have an abusive relationship:

  • You question your judgement and perceptions
  • You are disappointed in yourself 
  • You feel alone and powerless
  • You are often confused
  • You have anxiety or a sense of impending doom
  • You struggle to make decisions because you don’t trust yourself
  • You second guess yourself
  • You feel inadequate
  • You assume others are disappointed in you
  • You wonder if you are what they say you are
  • You spend a lot of time apologising

Reaching out for help if you think you are being abused

If you feel like you may be being gaslit by your partner, friend or family member then there is help available. 

If you live in South Tyneside then you can call us in confidence on 07375 788 835 (Mon-Fri 9-5) or you can email us at [email protected]. 

Or, you can call the National Abuse Helpline, for free and in confidence 24 hours a day on:

0808 2000 247 (women only)

0808 8010327 (men only)

The sooner the signs are spotted the sooner the victim can get help.