Do you feel psychologically manipulated by your partner? Is he making you doubt the strength of your relationship and your own self?
If you relate to these questions, then you may be a victim of gaslighting.
Gaslighting refers to a form of manipulation where a narcissistic person intentionally makes you question your own memory, perception, and sanity. By using lies and persistent denial the gaslighter can undermine your reality and make you delusional. It is an extremely dangerous form of emotional abuse which can result in constant self-doubting.
The term “gaslighting” originates from the 1938 stage play “Gas Light” by the British dramatist Patrick Hamilton.
He tells the story of an egocentric husband who is trying to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment such as dimming the gas lights in their home. When she points out these changes he is insisting that she is just paranoid and her memory is incorrect.
Nowadays gaslighting stands for relations where a narcissist or a sociopath frequently fabricates the truth in his favor. Often he is charming and quite convincing which makes the lies he tells even more realistic.
Here are 6 of the red flags you might have noticed if your partner is gaslighting you.
1. You develop a toxic addiction to him
His charm and magnetism make you believe that your life would be empty without him in it. Your mind is so intoxicated by his affection that you cannot imagine being happy if he is not around. Assuming that your self-esteem was low before you met him, you are most likely feeling dependant on him. You become addicted to his attention.
2. You see there is a problem but you can’t point it out
Maybe his attention is slowly fading away or he tells you how needy you are. You see that he is becoming indifferent and even bored of you. However, you try to convince yourself that there is nothing to worry about and everything is fine. What is more, you start to believe that the problem is in you which makes you doubt yourself.
3. When he stops giving you attention you feel abandoned
Because of your addiction to his attention, you start to experience high levels of stress and anxiety whenever he is being distant. In spite of the fact that he was the one giving you this toxic trait, your craving for his company makes him seem disgusted and irritated.
4. You cast doubt upon everything you do
Rather than standing up for yourself whenever he is insulting your friends or underestimating your intellect, you start questioning yourself. You second guess every decision and every choice you make and you become even more dependant on him. Eventually, you stop seeing your friends and doing the things you once enjoyed. Instead, you put all of your energy to make sure he is feeling loved and he won’t leave you.
5. You are always apologizing
Anything you do or say makes you feel foolish and you constantly experience the need to say “Sorry”. Sooner or later you realize that this whole time you have been walking on eggshells. In case you feel like your narcissistic partner isn’t approving an idea or an action of yours, your initial reaction is to apologize for even thinking about it.
6. You can’t even think of breaking up
If you mention the possibility of ending your relationship because of his gaslighting behavior, he would do anything to make you feel like you are the reason for all of your problems. He would try to manufacture a whole set of reasons why you are the root of the downfall of your relationship. In fact, he will convince you that without him you are worthless and no one will ever tolerate you.
In case you identify with these warning signs that he is gaslighting you, the first thing you need to do is to understand why your partner is behaving like this.
Once you find the core of his sociopathic attitude, you will be able to break free from this toxic addiction you have. Moreover, you must know that you are not the problem – he is. You must no longer let yourself be a victim of his manipulative mind games. Have more faith in yourself and know that your life is valuable even without his presence in it.