The term ‘gaslighting’ has been making its rounds lately and while it’s possible to gaslight in almost any situation, it’s most common in relationships. But what exactly is gaslighting? In short, it’s a form of emotional or psychological abuse where one party says and does things to manipulate their partner in order to gain power over them.
As the word suggests, it’s akin to the situation where one pours gas over a fire so that it gets so out of control that you have no idea what’s going on. A gaslighter messes with your head by twisting and turning things so much that it eventually feels like things are always your fault and you’re not good enough for them. The mind games they play are emotionally draining on their ‘victim’ and, while it can work both ways, it’s usually men who do this. Here are seven ways to tell your man gaslighting.
A man who’s gaslighting will say one thing and do something totally different. Most of the time, what he says is literally just talk – he’ll say anything just to distract you from what he’s really doing, which is bound to be something that will upset you. Pay attention to his actions, not his words.
You’re always apologising
You find that you’re constantly saying sorry and, half the time, you have no idea why you’re doing it. A gaslighter is somehow able to turn the tables on their victim so easily that they never take responsibility for anything they’ve done wrong. In fact, it’s often the other party who ends up apologising, as they wear them down so much that saying sorry and ending the discussion is usually the best way to handle things.
He brings up your past
Your man keeps score of the negative things you’ve done to him and will use these against you at every opportunity. He does this just to make you feel like an awful person so that he comes across as the superior one in your relationship. Bringing up your past also throws you out of kilter as you wouldn’t expect your partner to do such a thing. Also, apart from hurting you, you might also realise all over again that you did something wrong and will, once again, end up apologising.
He constantly dismisses you
You question things he has said or done but he never gives you any answers. Instead, he dismisses all your thoughts and fears. It’s also not uncommon for a gaslighter to say things to you that make you feel like you’re losing your mind. You might even soon be questioning your own sanity and this will then make it unlikely that you’ll turn to someone else to get advice on your relationship. This is the gaslighter’s way to make you doubt yourself so that you won’t reveal what he’s doing, meaning you won’t get any advice that will actually be helpful to you. Or, worse still, you’ll end up being so manic that, even if you do mention anything to anyone else, it’s possible that nobody will believe you.
He uses your weaknesses against you
Whether it’s your insecurities or the love you have for your friends and family, your gaslighting man knows how to hit you where it hurts. So if you tell him you’re unhappy about something he said or did, for example, he’ll expertly turn the conversation around and end up making it about how weak or unworthy you are. He knows just what to say to throw you off your game, even if you’re ‘winning’ the argument. This, in turn, makes you feel like you can’t go on with the conversation so you shut down and he, once again, gets away scot-free.
He makes you feel like you’re the bad one
Even if it’s clear that he has done something wrong, he’s somehow able to twist things round to put the blame on you. For example, if he’s been neglecting your relationship and hasn’t made much time for you, and you bring this up, he manages to flip the conversation and end up accusing you for being a control freak or a psycho girlfriend. Whatever the scenario, he succeeds in using your words against you and leave you dumbfounded at the end.
He confuses you on purpose
Feeling stable is one thing that most of us aim to achieve in our lives so this is exactly what your man will attempt to take away from you in order to make you feel more dependent on him. He’ll do things that will make you question everyone else in your life so that he’ll be the only one you trust. This then gives him the upper hand he so wants and you won’t even realise he’s doing it until it’s too late.