Gaslighting in Relationships: 7 Questions To Tell If You’re Being Manipulated

Gaslighting in Relationships Being Manipulated

Gaslighting in relationships has become notorious as a form of emotional abuse, and something that narcissists do to feed their partner’s self-doubt on purpose. Gaslighting is a way for narcissists to impose/maintain total control over their relationships, and their partners.

The term “Gaslight” comes from the Academy Award-winning 1944 film by the same name in which a man systematically sets out to drive his wife crazy by making her doubt the reality of her own perceptions.

Today that term has been expanded to describe a wider range of behaviors, in which one member of a couple tries to manipulate the other person to accept things as true that are patently false.

Generally, modern-day gaslighting takes place in the context of a relationship in which one partner is manipulative, self-centered, low on empathy, and has a vested interest in always being right. This is an apt description of many people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If you are in a relationship with someone with this disorder, there is a good chance you have experienced gaslighting yourself. If you have ever wondered why your level of self-doubt and confusion rises when you are with such a partner.

Here are seven questions to ask yourself that can help you determine if your mate is feeding your self-doubt on purpose.

7 signs that your partner is gaslighting you

1. Do they try to persuade you to doubt the evidence of your senses and what you are thinking and feeling?

2. Do they try to convince you that what you believe is wrong, and what they believe is right?

3. Do they react badly if you do not accept their version of the truth?

4. Are they extremely persistent and sometimes keep the argument going long after you have asked them to please drop the issue?

5. Do they attempt to bully you into admitting that they are 100 percent right, and you are completely wrong?

6. Are the facts always twisted so that they are the victim, and you are always at fault?

7. Do they twist and turn the truth and make such long and complicated arguments to prove their points that, after a while, you become thoroughly confused?

If you find yourself answering “yes” to many of the above questions, you may be being gaslighted.

Related: Gaslighting in Relationships: 10 Signs You Are Being Gaslighted

Why are you being gaslighted?

The three most common reasons are:

Hiding  –  Your mate wants to hide something that he or she is doing from you.
Change –  Your mate wants to change something about you.
Control –  Your mate wants more power over you.

Want to know more about gaslighting in relationships? Check this video out below:

gaslighting in relationships

1. Hiding

They will attempt to convince you to doubt any evidence that shows them in a bad light, makes them feel ashamed, or might create negative consequences for them.

This can be something mild, but embarrassing (such as evidence that they have been looking at internet porn), or something more important (such as gambling debts or an affair).

A common scenario involves you finding something that puzzles you. It could be texts from a strange person on your spouse’s phone, unusual charges on your joint credit card account, or even a change in the way that he or she dresses.

At first, you think there must be a simple explanation, so you mention this to your spouse. Your spouse vehemently denies anything strange is going on. The response is so disproportionate to your question that it makes you more suspicious.

You start to pay attention to things that you previously ignored. As the evidence that your spouse is lying starts piling up, you become more and more worried.

One day, you confront him or her with the evidence. Your spouse denies the whole thing and tries to convince you that you are paranoid and imagining this because you are an insecure or jealous person.

Was it sex or CPR?

A man comes home early and finds his wife half-naked by the pool with their handsome young gardener on top of her. She says: “It’s not what you think!

I got dizzy and started to pass out. He saved my life by giving me CPR.” She sticks to her story so convincingly that her husband starts to believe her version of the truth and not his own eyes. He ends up thanking the gardener and tipping him generously for saving his wife’s life.

Related: 121 Things Narcissists Say When They’re Gaslighting You

2. Change

They want to change you so that you are closer to their ideal. This can involve anything from dressing to suit their fantasies or reading different books to getting plastic surgery.

If you resist, they try to convince you that you are not good enough as you are.

Example:  “Your breasts are too small.”

Connie had a slim, petite figure. She enjoyed the freedom of going without a bra. She had always gotten lots of positive attention from men and was very confident about her looks — at least until she met Bill.

Bill, a wealthy, narcissistic businessman, was attracted to Connie and enjoyed that other men found her attractive as well. But once he was engaged to her, and other men were out of the picture, he started to work on what he viewed as Connie’s imperfections.

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Dr. Elinor Greenberg PhD, CGP

Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid adaptations in a lively and practical way. She has trained psychotherapists in her approach in the US, Norway, Sweden, Wales, England, Russia, and Mexico. Dr. Greenberg is the author of the book: Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration and Safety.View Author posts