Are You Being Manipulated? 7 Signs You Are A Victim of Gaslighting

Warning Signs You Are A Victim of Gaslighting

Do you feel you’re going nuts? Are you repeatedly doubting yourself? Are you made to feel dismissed and inferior all the time? If you feel like you’re going crazy and your emotions are getting stomped on by your partner, then these are just a few signs you are a victim of gaslighting, my friend.

In this article, we are going to explore the signs of psychological manipulation and how gaslighting really works.

Related: 10 Signs You Are Being Gaslighted

Are You A Victim Of Gaslighting?

If you are (or were) married to a narcissist, then you may be familiar with the term, “gaslighting.” It is the narcissist’s masterful manipulation technique to gain control over you.

As your relationship begins to weaken, he carefully causes you slight anxiety or confusion. But as the relationship worsens, he punitively devalues you, and you thereby question your mental sanity.

The extreme or long term gaslighting can ultimately lead you to have a distorted sense of reality—not knowing who is right or wrong, feeling guilty for being the person you are, and losing any remaining self-confidence.

Gaslighting is an extremely dangerous form of emotional abuse, as it causes the narcissist’s victim to question her judgment, on even the smallest issues, thereby making her dependent on him.

If, for example, she is repeatedly told that she is bad with money, she will begin to believe it and think that without her narcissist by her side, she will be financially ruined.

Signs you are a victim of gaslighting

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1944 film, ‘Gaslight,’ where a young woman named Paula falls madly in love with her suitor, Gregory. After an intense romance that led to marriage, Gregory begins to display pathological narcissistic behavior, leading to Paula’s insanity.

In one scene, Gregory tampers with the gaslight in the attic, causing the house lights to dim. When Paula mentions hearing footsteps in the attic and the lights dimming, Gregory tells her it’s completely her imagination, making Paula question her judgment.

Gaslighting is now the widely used term for when a narcissist truly messes with your head.

Depending on the stage of your narcissistic relationship, gaslighting at first appears to be subtle, but then gradually worsens. Below are the signs you are a victim of gaslighting, in order in which they may occur.

This list illustrates that as the relationship declines, so does your mental clarity and grasp of reality and truth.

7 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting

Signs you are a victim of gaslighting

1) You become addicted to his grandiosity

And because you likely had low self-esteem before you met him, the joy you feel can only occur when you are with him, thus making you dependent on him.

When your whirlwind romance is at its peak, you have intense feelings of euphoria—you are almost in a drunken dance with his charm and abundant attention. Your brain releases endorphins, sending you in a complete state of intoxication.

And because you likely had low self-esteem before you met him, the joy you feel can only occur when you are with him, thus making you dependent on him. Before you know it, you are addicted to your narcissist.

Related: 8 Lies You Start Believing When An Abusive Partner Is Gaslighting You

2) You see red flags but you can’t pinpoint the problem

As your narcissist becomes bored with you, his attention begins to dwindle and he searches for new supply. He may discreetly put you down, saying you’re “needy” or “overly sensitive.”

His once empathetic affection for you has now turned to apathy, and this sudden change leaves you in a foggy state of confusion. You can’t pinpoint the problem, so you think something is wrong with you, and you do everything you can to fix it.

3) When you no longer have his attention, you actually experience withdrawal

Because you are addicted to him, and no longer getting your “fix,” you experience intense anxiety.

Withdrawal from him may lead you to become fixated by his every action, wondering what he is doing, trying to please him, and obsessing on how to save the relationship.

Your addiction, however, only causes him disgust, despite the fact that he dispensed you the enslaving elixir.

4) You are ignored, then attended to, but then ignored again, so you lower the bar for yourself

While a narcissist may emotionally discard you, he will still keep you around for when supply is low.

Now that you no longer have your full fix, you will take what you can get. While a narcissist may emotionally discard you, he will still keep you around for when supply is low.

So he may give you a glimpse of affection here and there, giving you hope that he is coming back to you. This further declines your self-esteem, however, making you think you are only worth sub-par affection.

Signs you are a victim of gaslighting

5) You second guess yourself and question your sanity

To keep you within close reach, he will gaslight your every request. While this seems counter-intuitive, the manipulator is puppeteering you. You may ask him to join you for a dinner party, but rather than simply declining, he will denigrate your friends and even scold you for having an interest in them.

But because you are still in love with him, you now question your choices in friends. You withdraw from them in order to please him, and he further reigns in his puppet strings. Slowly, you second guess every choice of yours, making you more dependent of him, which is the narcissist’s ultimate goal.

Related: The Effects of Gaslighting in Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

6) You feel guilty and are always apologizing

As you now second guess yourself, anything you do to repair the relationship feels like a mistake. If your narcissist is threatened by you experimenting with a new approach, he may experience narcissistic injury, erupting into an extreme rage or placating you with deafening silence.

So you apologize, retreat, and feel bad for trying something new. Unable to move, you walk on eggshells, now feeling captive by your abuser. You fantasize about breaking free, but you feel hostage due to his masterful gaslighting.

7) When you mention divorce, he will retreat into victim mode

When you mention divorce, he will stab at your ability to function as a human being and insist you could never get by without him.

Now that you have tried everything but failed, you want to give up and end the marriage. But when you mention divorce, he will stab at your ability to function as a human being and insist you could never get by without him.

Rather than taking responsibility for his actions, he will blame you for a multitude of infractions: you don’t want to have sex, you want too much sex, you’re lazy, you’re fat, you’re insane, you’re unstable, and you should be LUCKY that he has stuck around to support you. After all, no one else would ever tolerate you but him.

Now you’re giving up, how could you do such a thing, how could you do that to the children, how could you do that to him, you are so selfish. And because your sense of reality is so distorted at this point, you actually feel bad for him, so you stay.

Signs you are a victim of gaslighting

And so the cycle continues.

If you are a victim of gaslighting, you must remember why your narcissist does this. Their distorted sense of self and their fear of being exposed that they are no longer truly special gives them the ammo to play ultimate mind games. You aren’t the problem—they are.

Related: 4 Ways Gaslighters Attempt To Ruin Your Self Esteem

Do not succumb to his manipulation—you are worthy of love and safety, and narcissists gaslighting will only prevent you from realizing it. You must break free before your sanity is ultimately compromised.

Written by Divorced Moms
Originally appeared in The Good Men Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Can gaslighting cause memory loss?

A victim of gaslighting may often doubt their own memories and may believe that their memories are inaccurate. However, studies show that gaslighting may not result in “full-blown delusions or distortions of memory”, although it can negatively affect one’s mental health & self-esteem.

Can gaslighting cause schizophrenia?

Victims of gaslighting often start doubting their thoughts, emotions and identities. In extreme cases, gaslighting can lead to psychological lapses causing psychosis. Studies show experiencing emotional abuse in childhood can lead to the development of schizophrenia in adulthood.

What are some gaslighting interventions for survivors?

Some beneficial interventions for gaslighting survivors may include practicing mindfulness, keeping a journal and documenting all facts, seeking support, talking openly with trusted loved ones, being assertive about your thoughts, opinions and feelings and consulting a therapist.

How do I help a victim of gaslighting when they don’t know they’re being gaslit? 

Someone who is being gaslit may often not realize or be unaware that they are being abused. The best way to help them is to collect evidence of the abuse, talk openly and honestly with the victim and encourage them to seek professional help. However, don’t force the victim to seek help and be patient with them.

7 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting
7 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting pin
victim of gaslighting

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Dive Into The Mind Of A Distancer: The Partner Who Pulls Away

Discover The Mind Of A Distancer: Things To Know Well

Pursuer distancer relationships cause a lot of heartache, especially for a pursuer. Learn about the mind of a distancer to understand your own or your partner’s behavior so you won’t take it personally.

As codependants, we usually gravitate toward insecure relationships where we’re a distancer or a pursuer. We may be a distancer in one relationship and a pursuer in the next. This is due to early attachment problems and dysfunctional parenting.

Reacting makes it worse! A distancer reacting by withdrawing or the pursuer reacting by pursuing exacerbates conflict and unhappiness.

Understand The Mind Of A Distancer

Up Next

What Is Unintentional Gaslighting? The Surprising Ways You Might Be Gaslighting Without Knowing It

What Is Unintentional Gaslighting? How Good Intentions Can Go Awry

Ever found yourself questioning your own reality after interaction with someone you know? Unintentional gaslighting can sneak into conversations, leaving you feeling disoriented and invalidated, even when no harm is intended.

Accidental, unintended or unconscious gaslighting in relationships can make you doubt your own thoughts, feelings, or even sanity. Someone’s words or actions can make you feel uncertain, dazed & confused without even realizing it.

Gaslighting, a term derived from a movie titled “Gaslight,” refers to the act of manipulating someone into doubting their own experiences and perceptions. But what is unintentional gaslighting?

Let’s explore this lesser-known concept and shed light on

Up Next

Lost Connection: How To Heal From Emotional Neglect In Marriage And Find Hope

How To Heal From Emotional Neglect In Marriage: Tips

Do you know why some marriages appear to be thriving while others seem to be crumbling? What is it that creates such distance among spouses? While there can be various reasons behind marital distress, one often overlooked but significant factor is emotional neglect in marriage.

Emotional neglect can quietly erode the foundation of a relationship, leaving both partners feeling lonely, disconnected, and unfulfilled. Let us delve into the depths of emotional neglect in marriage, exploring what actually is, signs, underlying causes, and most importantly, how to heal and nurture a healthier emotional connection with your spouse.

What is Emotional Neglect in Marriage?

Emotional neglect in marriage refers to a pat

Up Next

Vulturing: Beware Of This Latest Toxic Dating Trend!

What Is Vulturing Dating: Toxic Signs To Be Wary Of

In the world of dating, there are more online trends than you can swipe in a day. The new one on the block is called vulturing dating. Let’s find out what it means in a relationship.

So, What Is Vulturing Dating?

Among the colloquialisms of modern dating, this one is called “vulturing.” In a similar vein to the predatory bird it’s named after, vulturing entails someone hovering around people who are on the brink of ending their relationship.

They wait until they can swoop in with malicious intent on damaged hearts — sometimes as soon as possible after their former partner cuts them loose and they’re emotiona

Up Next

Conditional Relationship? 8 Red Flags Indicating You’re in a Relationship with Strings Attached

Conditional Relationship: Signs You Are In One

Relationships can be an incredible source of happiness, love, joy and contentment. However, not all relationships are the same; while some might feel as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold night, some are like an annoying sweater that doesn’t fit well. Being in a conditional relationship can make you feel like the latter.

Conditional relationships, in particular, can make you feel unsure and alone, because the relationship and the “love” comes with strings attached. So, how can you know if you’re in a conditional relationship or not?

We are going to talk about the signs of conditional love, what does cond

Up Next

How To Deal With An Obsessive Ex That Won’t Leave You Alone: 5 Steps You Can Take

How To Deal With Obsessive Ex: Urgent Steps You Can Take

Dealing with an obsessive ex is one of the most horrible experiences one can go through. What are the best ways to handle obsessive people? What are the effective steps you can take when it comes to dealing with an obsessive ex? Let’s find out!

There are certain people who just can’t handle being dumped. They go crazy. They hate losing their “control” and “power” over their partners.

Recently my good friend ended an abusive relationship. Thankfully he realised he was in a relationship with a narcissist and that his only way forward was without her. Soon after the relationship ended, he found a new partner — he was ecstatic, he was just about to ride off into the sunset with his sweetheart.

There was one issue — his e

Up Next

The “False Self” Of A Narcissist: Look Beyond The Facade!

Hidden Narcissist False Self: Make Believe Traits in Them

The narcissist false self is charming and confident, masking underlying insecurities and emptiness beneath. Let’s find out other secrets they hide!

Narcissists have a false self. They’re master illusionists. They behave like a little king or queen — whether bragging or sulking. Their whole personality is a charade crafted to deceive you into believing they are confident, superior, self-sufficient, likable, and caring.

In studies, groups of people met with and liked a narcissist, but after 6 more interviews, they discerned the narcissist’s true nature and changed thei