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7 Ways You’re Being Gaslighted — And You Don’t Even Realize It

Being gaslighted in a relationship is an experience that you WANT to miss.

Problem is, gaslighting can be so subtle that you miss the signs.

Any relationship can make you feel self-doubt, but there’s a difference between being gaslighted and having a compatibility issue.

So, what is gaslighting? Gaslighting is emotional abuse and a destroyer of relationships. It’s a dysfunctional tactic rooted in manipulation, where one person, intentionally or not, makes another feel completely insane.

This dysfunctional relationship dynamic is rooted in co-dependency, and although it can happen in any kind of relationship, it does happen between couples where one person is perceived to have more authority than another.

The imbalance of power and authority draws out an unhealthy power dynamic — almost like a parent-child relationship — and at first, can feel a bit romantic. The gaslighter is thought to be charismatic, sexy, and in control, but the problem is they want more control, and often it’s over their victim.

Gaslighting begins after a major threshhold in the relationship is crossed where people start to get comfortable and let their guards down. Moving in together, having a baby, if the situation emphases the authority and subordinate dynamic, the person likely to gaslight may show their true stripes because they need to maintain authority and power in the relationship.

Since the victim isn’t consciously aware their relationship is set up for gaslighting, they are blindsided, and easily fooled into thinking they are to blame, even though all evidence says otherwise.

As the relationship dynamically deepens, and the perpetrator feels their authority is at stake or they have a need to hide something (a character flaw, affair, or need for control) that person will start gaslighting for self-preservation. It’s a tactic used to keep their partner in the dark and even accept the lie that no one ever turned off the lights.

These relationship scenarios contribute most to gaslighting:

  • Unresolved emotional or undiagnosed or treated mental health disorders, like narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic traits desperately depend on being right. If the veil is pulled, get ready for some serious gaslighting!
  • Addict and enabler-based relationships where the active addict doesn’t want their partner to know they are using, or the person enabling wants to manipulate their loved one to quit.
  • Infidelity.

Typically, the person being gaslighted senses something is wrong within the relationship. They might even try to improve the situation by requesting counseling or talking things over.

But, when gaslighting is full-blown, it’s not that simple. The more you insist there’s a problem, the greater the risk that the manipulator feels in losing control. This makes the situation escalate and can put each party in a unique sense of danger.

The term “gaslighting” was first introduced by an old black and white film called Gaslight where a charismatic husband manipulates his wife into doubting herself.

The couple’s dynamic goes from one awkwardly tense from the outside everything appears to be normal to super sickening drama one moment to the next.

You feel sorry for her as she continues to try to bring the relationship back to normal only to be forced into believing that she’s batsh*t crazy.

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