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Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where one is made to doubt their own reality and made to question their own sanity. In fact, it is observed amongst families, friends and even romantic relationships. In such cases, a manipulative person will make their partner believe that they are always right and their version of things is always the truth. This will give the manipulator more control in the relationship.
If you think you’re experiencing something along such lines, it could be a red flag telling you that you are in an abusive relationship. Here are some clear signs of gaslighting that you need to be alert about:
1. You often doubt yourself
Nobody is perfect but a relationship can aid personality development by forcing you to confront and change certain unhealthy behaviour patterns. However, if your partner is making you question your reality and making you doubt yourself too often, it could point to a major red flag.
So, if you are constantly struggling with trusting your own self and are unsure about how you feel about a certain situation, you are being gaslit.
2. Your partner blames you or external circumstances
Does your partner often blame you during a conflict? Do they keep pushing the blame on external factors for the problems the relationship is facing? This is another negative but very common sign of gaslighting. Sometimes, they could also resort to personal attacks and belittling you by bringing up the past or calling you names.
3. Your partner is dismissive of your feelings
A healthy relationship is where you are comfortable sharing your concerns with your partner who listens to them and addresses them instead of dismissing your feelings or denying that the given event ever happened.
When you bring up a concern or tell your partner how you feel about a certain thing or situation, they would ideally acknowledge and address it. However, a manipulative partner will try to convince you that you are the one who is mistaken and are overthinking.
4. Your partner doesn’t apologize when you express hurt
When you express the fact that you are hurt by your partner’s actions, instead of apologizing or addressing it, they tell you how to feel about it. This is a classic sign of gaslighting. In a healthy relationship, your partner will feel accountable for their actions. They will not drive you to a point where you feel exhausted trying to justify your feelings. Your partner’s lack of empathy when you are hurt because of them is a red flag.
5. They never let you talk during a conflict
During an argument, you might discover that they have a habit of cutting you off and not letting you complete what you’re saying. In such a situation, you might end up feeling like they are trying to control the narrative and not letting you put your point across. If this is common in your relationship, you are probably experiencing gaslighting. A two-way conversation where both the parties are willing to listen and be empathetic is an integral pre-requisite to a healthy relationship.
6. Using your voice brings about feelings of guilt
If the thought of bringing up a concern or sharing how you feel starts making you feel guilty or uncomfortable, it means that powerplay and control are the driving factors of your relationship which is a key marker of gaslighting.
7. You start believing that you’re just not working hard enough in your relationship
There will be a point in the relationship where you might begin to believe that you are not doing enough. Being constantly blamed, ignored and demeaned might lead you to actually believe that you are at fault. But, a healthy relationship is one where both partners know that they will make mistakes given that it is only human to be flawed and are willing to apologize when they are in the wrong. If apologies and faults always seem to be one-sided, then it is time to reevaluate your relationship dynamic.
Always be alert about certain signs that could point to an abusive relationship. It is important to put your mental health first.