Have you heard of gaslighting and wondered what it is? Gaslighting is one of the emotional manipulator’s favorite tactics. I want to be clear that narcissist are emotional manipulators. For years I heard the term but had no idea that I continued to choose men that gaslighted me. Gaslighting is one of the more insidious forms of emotional abuse. just what is gaslighting and how do you know if it’s happening to you? Read on to find out all about gaslighting. Please be aware I write from my experiences so I write regarding males. I want people to understand that females can be just as damaging to males. Gaslighting can happen from friends, relatives and relationships.
Gaslighting comes from a 1944 movie called Gaslight about a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is going insane. Gaslighting is used to make a person doubt themselves and slowly over time you believe what your abuser tells you. Your self-esteem and independence erodes away and you start relying more and more upon your abuser. How do I know? I lived with it for many, many years. In the end it was suicide or find enough courage to walk away. My mom committed suicide so I wasn’t going to do that do my children. I found the courage to walk out the door and get into therapy. I am not crazy and either are you. Gaslighting is a technique the narcissist uses to keep you guessing your sanity. Which takes the pressure of his actions and puts the pressure on you.
Maybe you were a strong independent women like me before the abuse began. Telling yourself you’d never put up with a man who treated you bad; however, you had no idea there was a thing called emotional abuse and you only looked out for physical abuse. Gaslighting is one of the more subtle forms of emotional abuse and before you know it your questioning yourself and everything you do. It’s fucking insidious the way it starts and it never stops and before you know it you’re a doormat letting that man walk the fuck all over you.
Flirting/Sleeping with Another
You notice your SO getting text messages or talking with another girl and not just once but on many occasions. You’ve noticed it’s the same girl over and over. When you ask him about it they state “you have male friends don’t you? Your smart but overreacting. It’s just like you and your male friends. Honey you have nothing to worry about.” When you call him out that your friends don’t text or call you in the middle of the night. He gently tells you that if your male friends called you in the middle of the night he wouldn’t think anything of it. He then goes on to tell you “I can tell her to stop calling or texting but it’s going to make you look like a crazy jealous girlfriend. Didn’t you tell me you weren’t jealous?”
In the scenario the focus now is turned on you and off of him. No one likes to look like the crazy, jealous person. You certainly do not want this other girl thinking you are jealous of her. You starting thinking he is right I do have male friends and I am overreacting. Meanwhile, he’s having an affair or lining up his next narcissistic supply. The emotional manipulator uses this as a way to have other’s and keep you too. Why does it work? Because we do not like looking like a jealous, out of control woman.
You SO tells you that your friends are a little mean. That your friends don’t treat you with respect and talk down to you. He tells you not to tell them but he overheard them talking about how you don’t care about material things (by the way this person uses what ever you shared with him. You inner deepest secrets.) He then goes on to tell you that your friends aren’t really friends if they talk about you that way. He acts very angry at them and tells you I don’t want you hanging out with people who have no respect for you. “My queen deserves friends that think she is smart.”
This tactic is used to isolate and confuse you. You don’t want to make your lover look bad so you aren’t going to ask you friends about it. However, in the back of your head you don’t want to be with people who talk behind your back or don’t respect you. He called you his queen and he is right you want to be treated as a queen. Pretty soon you have no friends left because you believed everything he said. Remember your friends or family would never say those things about you.
Maybe you’ve told your SO some deep heartfelt secrets. He now subtlety use those secrets to make you think you are crazy. Maybe you notice pictures moved in your house or someone driving by going real slow. When you ask him about it he tells you “just because you were scared growing up doesn’t mean that kind of stuff happens around here. You’re imagining things.” “Honey, you’ve been under a lot of stress and I love you so come here and let me hold you. I’ll always be here for you.” You know deep down that you aren’t imagining things but you also know growing up you were scared all the time. You start questioning your sanity. Whatever you told that person is what they use to make you think you are losing your mind. In the meantime they are the ones driving by slow and moving pictures in your house. Maybe hiding things in different spots.
This is a tactic for you to rely on them and make you think you are losing your mind. Pretty soon you start believing everything they say over believing yourself. This will be used over and over each time you bring something up. He will say “You haven’t been right remember the car you keep thinking is driving by and it isn’t.” Again, the focus is on you and not them.
Maybe someone close to you committed suicide and you’ve been in a deep pit of grieve (rightly so). This tactic had been used over and over on me. Here’s how it went: I’d be mad about something maybe he wasn’t looking for a job or doing something he said he was going to do. First, he would use the ignoring and then I would lose my mind and start yelling. He would look me straight in the eye and rationally say “Sherry look at the way you’re acting you haven’t been right since your mother died.” Inside by brain I would say “he’s so right, I haven’t been right since by mom died. I must be overreacting.” I started questioning every little thing I wanted him to do and in the end I believed I was too much because my mom committed suicide and I wasn’t right in the head.
This is a tactic that is used to slowly make you question your ability in believing yourself. Why do they want you to stop believing in yourself? Why so you only believe in them. After a while you don’t believe in any thoughts of your own and you look to him for everything.
Another way to chip way at your self-esteem and start questioning yourself is to make these statements:
- “I love you so much and you’re lucky that I do because you can’t cook.”
- “Where’s your Big Mama?”
- “You’re lucky you have me because cleaning isn’t a strong suit of yours.”
- “I love you no matter how big you are; It’s a good thing too most men like smaller women.”
- “I’m proud that you lost 1 lb this month; Susie at work lost 3lbs this week but I know your trying.”
This tactic is used to erode your self-esteem. It is a criticism behind a compliment. Pretty soon you believe everything he has said. “No one will want me because I can’t cook, clean, and I’m to big.”
His Wants and Needs
When you tell him he’s hurting your feelings and you wish he would stop or maybe you asked him to apologize these are some of the statements you might hear:
- “You’re overreacting.”‘
- “You’re crazy, obsessed.”
- “Fuck, you are to sensitive.”
- “Can’t you take a joke.”
- “Not this bullshit again, I”m leaving.”
- “Why do you have to be so jealous.”
- “I should have believed your ex when he told me you were crazy.”
- You have to big of a heart you need to stop with the feeling shit.”
- “You are so paranoid, get over it.”
- “Are you sure you’re ok, you’ve been under a lot of stress lately.”
This tactic is used to minimize your wants and needs and before you know it you don’t have any wants and needs of your own. The only wants and needs being met in the relationship are his and his alone.
Arguing becomes Your Fault
Have you been angry and hurt with your SO and want to have a rationale conversation to solve the problem; however, it turns into a fight? Before you know it you’re the one screaming but he’s the rationale one? This is one of another of his favorite statements, “look at you and the way your acting I’m not the bad guy here.” “You’re overreacting just look at you.” Every time you bring up something it becomes your fault and nothing you can do is right.
This tactic is used so you take the blame for all his mistakes and all the unhappiness in the relationships. Pretty soon your guilt ridden and blame lies heavily on your shoulders.
Gaslighting is Horrendous
In the end, gaslighting has worked you no longer have any self-esteem, self-respect or individuality. Gaslighting makes you doubt everything including your sanity. You also believe you could never make it on your own and no one would want you. Believe me I know I’ve been there. I walked away 4 years ago and I’m still recovering from the glutenous strands of gaslighting.
Find my list of books here on emotional manipulators and narcissist.
Getting My Inner Goddess Back
My inner goddess is finally peaking out and I’m not shoving her back in. I now have boundaries and self-worth and no longer will be a doormat for anyone. When someone tries to minimize my feelings, wants or needs I speak up and tell them “I feel uncomfortable when they do ______________.”If they say anything other than “I”m sorry for making you feel that way” then it’s bye-bye. When people respond with any of the above statements I know they aren’t right for me. Most days I believe in myself; it’s been a long road but I am starting to shine like a diamond. I’m hoping you can also find your inner goddess and let her shine! I started understanding what I will allow in a relationship by filling out my wants and needs list.
I want you to know you are not crazy, you are not unstable, and you are definitely not imagining things. If you bring something up and they minimize it ask yourself why do you want to be with someone who can’t see you for the loving, wonderful person you are. You are beautiful, strong and most importantly you deserve to be valued and respected please don’t waste your valuable life on someone who can’t see you as the loving person you are. You only get one life!
Leave me a comment below and let me know if you’ve been gaslighted.