Have you ever been in a toxic relationship before or have you ever stayed with someone who is narcissistic? Toxic and narcissistic people are very similar in their characteristics and the way they treat other people. They are very good at abusing people which does not only come in the form of physical abuse. They are very good at other covert forms of abuse most notably the mental, verbal and emotional abuse. These three forms of abuse are their specialties. This is not to say that they cannot abuse their partners physically, they can, they just most usually prefer to abuse them in other forms. Their own method of abuse is so bad that it can leave their partner feeling insane. Have you ever felt like you were running mad? Seeing things that were not there, accusing your partner of things that he did not do or alluding to events that did not take place. If you ever felt this brand of insane then perhaps someone was orchestrating it. Toxic people do have their means of abusing their partners and one of their favorite methods is to leave their partners feeling insane. They do this by making their victims feel as if they are disillusioned to the extent that their partners find themselves wondering if they were slowly turning mad. They are so good at this that their partners would end up feeling bad and so confused that they can no longer trust themselves to know the truth of what has happened in their relationship. This horrible method of emotional abuse is called Gaslighting from a movie in 1950 which portrays a man who deceives a woman into thinking that she was slowly going insane.
In case you did not know what gaslighting was before today then you need to know about one of the worst mind manipulation games to ever exist. This article might help you find the answers to the unexplainable things that have been happening in your relationship lately.
If you have ever heard about gaslighting before seeing this article, tell us what you know about it, and if you have been a victim of gaslighting before, then we would love to hear about your experiences in the comment section. Let us know what happened to you, how you left and how you have healed to encourage other people who might be going through something similar.
Gaslighting is a word used to explain a form of emotional abuse in which the victim is led to believe that they have imagined events, things and even whole conversations. This form of abuse makes you question the sanity of your mind, your memory and ultimately yourself. You begin to worry that you might be overreacting to your partner’s actions because you feel that your mind is unbalanced.
The funny thing is that many people are being gaslighted by their significant others without even knowing what is being done to them. They just live with the fear of their impending insanity. This article was written to help other people out there have a thorough understanding of what gaslighting is all about and all the forms in which it might come in so as not to be a victim of these terrible mind game. If you notice that your significant other is gaslighting you, please leave the relationship as fast as possible to save your sanity.
Gaslighting comes in many variations, and I would be writing about them.
The use of denial to gaslight someone is one of the most commonly used styles of gaslighting. This can be a mild form of gaslighting but no less harmful. In this tactic, your partner would always deny that something happened even though you know that such a thing happened. He will act as if you are dreaming things up and no matter what you say, he will stick to his assertion that nothing happened. It could be an argument, or a discussion or even an action. It does not matter what it is; they would vehemently deny it. If you insist on arguing your point they will stop you by repeating a particular phrase such as “ That did not happen at all” until you get tired and walk away.
2. THEY WILL MOVE THINGS AROUND
It can be very scary to discover that your things are moving around especially with your partner emphatically saying that they did not move it. You begin to doubt yourself. Maybe you did not keep your car keys on the table; maybe you left them on top of the fridge after all. It does not end with little things like your car key. These people can go as far as deleting your browser history, chats and emails which are clear proofs, leaving no trace behind. At this point, you get so confused that you begin to believe that something might be wrong with you.
3. THEY TAKE AWAY YOUR SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG AWAY.
These toxic people are very good at all warping of your senses. They would slowly strip you of everything that you have always believed in. This is to keep you off balance and disoriented for them to control you fully. They would start with your views on right and wrong. They would crush them making use of philosophy, books or just any made up bullshit they can quickly come up with. It does not matter what it is. What matters is that at the end of the day, you doubt yourself. That is their end goal. Some of them even go as far as calling you dramatic and ridiculous and somehow making you feel like the abuser when the reverse is the case.
4. THEY DISCREDIT YOU BEFORE YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
This horrible tactic of emotional abuse does not just end at you. Seasoned gaslighters would totally isolate you from family and friends by discrediting you before them. They would start small with little incidents like moving your phone and then acting as if you usually are a little forgetful. To big incidents such as making you sound a little delusional when you mention certain events or conversations which they would swear did not happen all the while dropping hints that this is now normal behavior for you. With this, they look like saints before your friends and family who will see him as a good man for sticking with you even though you were going bonkers. Some of them can go as far as making the police think you self-harm or have attempted suicide before so that your word would not hold with them.
5. THEY PICK FIGHTS TO DRAIN YOU EMOTIONALLY.
These horrible people are also in the habit of picking fights over nothing just so that they can emotionally drain you. They would be sure to put the blame on your doorstep and accuse you of being the instigator of the argument.
Toxic partners are usually smart about gaslighting their partners. They would start with subtle things that you would hardly notice so you need to be on the lookout. Things like trying to get past your limits. They would do something and then later apologize when you get mad over it and in the very next breath accuse you of being a dramatic person. Before you can say, Jack Robinson, they have the world thinking that you are just dramatic each time you complain about something and soon no one would take you seriously when you complain. It will just be more drama.
In other cases, they are quick to tell you how you feel. They love to give their partners labels usually of the mental disorder type. Anything from depression to anxiety would do for them and when you try to tell them that you have none of those they would insist accusing you of being in denial. If it blows up into a big argument, they will tell other people that they were only trying to help you when they noticed you were depressed but you are living in denial and wanted nothing to do with getting help.
Gaslighting comes in so many varied forms, some of them so subtle that you can’t even peg them as a form of gaslighting. More than that, they would disorient their partners by pushing the blame on them and distracting them until they can’t even tell what went wrong and when it did.
Victims of gaslighting always feel confused and in doubt. They always second question their judgment and would not be quick to stick to their words because they have been conditioned to believe that their words are wrong. They show a high level of emotional drainage. They are just too tired to get emotionally tangled with anyone, and they are usually angry with the universe as a whole. These symptoms are a residue from the treatment meted out to them. They never enforce their own opinions and words because they have been conditioned to believe that they are wrong and would always be wrong.
They would also apologize frequently and compulsively. They can’t help themselves. They always believe that they are wrong and would automatically apologize before they can be chastised. They most probably would become shadows of themselves who cannot offer their opinions on things and would most often than not do anything to maintain peace including telling lies.
When the victim has been broken finally, they become shells of themselves unable to make any decisions and relying solely on their abuser to take care of them. Their minds are fully warped by this stage, and they are convinced that they are insane. It is a really sorry sight to behold, and they would need extreme therapy before they can untangle the mess their minds have become.
The gaslighter does not care about the feelings of his partner or that he is slowly turning them into an empty husk. All he cares about is himself and his ego. He has gotten what he wanted, control. Control of his partner’s thoughts, words, and actions. They enjoy the game of breaking down their prey and seeing their partner in pain feeds their egos. They enjoy the game of mind control and manipulation. Most gaslighters are people suffering from mental disorders such as narcissism, psychopathy, and sociopathy.
If the above-described symptoms are something that you can associate your relationship with, then you need to walk away. Get out of that relationship as fast as possible and sever all ties to that toxic partner because if you do not do that, they can easily manipulate you into staying with them. The experts on abuse have given walking away from that relationship as the best course of action in a toxic relationship in which your partner is gaslighting you. No matter how much you might want to confront him and let him know that you are aware of all his manipulative tactics, it is not advisable at all. Let your family and friends in on the issue and break up with him. For no reason should you ever go back, you might never come out again.
As you begin your journey of healing after what has been done to you, the first step is to realize and accept that what happened to you was in no way a fault of yours. What he did to you was not because of anything that you did, it was because he was a sick, terrible person. I know that you must be feeling as if your abuse was somehow a response to something you might have done. It is not. Abusive people abuse others because they are cowards who can only feel better when others feel bad and what you have gone through can happen to anybody. The most important thing is that you have learned something from this toxic relationship and next time you would be sure to avoid dating anyone who exhibits even the subtlest form of a mental disorder.