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10 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting


10 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting

This was taken from the newsletter of David Avocado Wolfe

“You’re crazy, that never happened.”

“You’re too sensitive.”

“You’re making things up”

Are these phrases that you constantly hear from your partner that cause you to question yourself? If so, your partner might be using something called “gaslighting” — a form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts and sanity, giving the abusive partner power and control.

The term “gaslighting” comes from a 1938 stage play called Gaslight, in which a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights in their home (which were powered by gas), then denies that the lights change when the wife asks him about them. Once an abusive partner has used gaslighting to break down the victim’s ability to trust his or her own perceptions and beliefs, the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship, because he or she no longer believes it’s possible to survive without the abuser.

Gaslighting usually happens gradually in a relationship — so gradually that the abusive partner’s actions seem harmless at first. Over time, a victim can be confused, anxious, isolated and depressed, and even lose sense of what is actually happening.

Personal Signs That You are Being Gaslighted

While the above are the common signs your partner will exhibit if he or she is gaslighting, there are also tell-tale signs you will start to notice within yourself. According to author and psychoanalyst Robin Stern, Ph.D., the following are signs of being a victim of gaslighting.

If you identify with these 10 signs, you’re most likely being gaslighted.

You are constantly second-guessing yourself.
You start to question if you are too sensitive.
You often feel confused and have a hard time making simple decisions.
You find yourself constantly apologizing.
You can’t understand why you’re so unhappy.
You often make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
You feel like you can’t do anything right.
You often feel like you aren’t good enough for others.
You have the sense that you used to be a more confident, relaxed and happy person.
You withhold information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain things.

The Following Actions are Associated with Gaslighting:

1. Withholding: Your partner pretends not to understand you or flat out refuses to listen to you. He or she might say things like “I don’t want to hear this again.”

2. Countering: Your partner questions your memory, even if you’re sure you know what happened. They say “You’re wrong, you never remember things correctly,” or “You’re imagining things, that never happened.”

3. Blocking/Diverting: Your partner changes the subject to silence you or questions how you’re feeling, saying things like “Is that another crazy idea you got from your (friend/family member)?”

4. Trivializing: Your partner makes your needs or feelings seem unimportant, constantly telling you that you’re too sensitive, or that “You’re going to get angry over a little thing like that?”

5. Forgetting/Denying: Your partner pretends to have forgotten what really happened, or flat out denies promises he or she made to you. He/she will say things like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” or “You’re just making things up.”

Gaslighting is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. If you feel like you’re being gaslighted in a relationship, it’s important to seek help.

This was taken from the newsletter of David Avocado Wolfe

10 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting

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16 thoughts on “10 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting

  1. amiannBonnie

    Been through it as well. The nasty side of master manipulators.
    Using your good sides and exploit them.
    Using your weakness to their benefit.

    At the time it happens you question yourself, once you feel strong enough to question the person.. the blame is back at you.
    *Example: i asked, why did you lie to me about you using drugs?
    He: it’s your fault, you made me feel that way or something more sorrowful: because we argued..
    *Or keep bringing up old issues of your past, which you told in trust but he judge you still for it (while he wasnt even part of your life then).
    *Talking as if you have a special bound together and no one can know a thing.
    *Accusing you of things he does himself.
    *Your not allowed to talk to any one but he goes out and tell everybody he knows, that he’s upset because of what you’ve done.. you’ll hear it last or through other people..
    *demanding respect but doesnt give it
    *plays the victim very well (i wonder if he carries his own body chalk along with him as well lol)
    Saying nobody likes him and as soon as he gets critized saying: see i told you so..
    *the blame is always on others
    *when you catch ‘m in the act (lying or broken promiss or whatever) they switch the attention rapidly onto you.. so quickly you dont/ cant have the time to grasp what just happend..
    *worst case: when you catch ‘m in the act or argue, they stalk you, harass you just as long as you hear them out.
    * playing mindgames, maybe to see your reaction, like saying: i feel im gonna loose you. Accusing you of beeing flirty while your just beeing friendly to a stranger.
    Telling you what he aspect from you but doing the opposite himself..
    Using affection as a weapon or treat..
    Telling scary stories so you fear him.
    In strange cases.. when “he” did something he’s suddenly saying “we” did…
    * always putting you down with remarks, name calling etc
    * for all the bad things he’s done to you.. its your own fault.. they have their way with words or twisting things around
    * saying things like: you always believe what people tell you.. makes you even question everything!!
    * saying things like: your the most important person (actions tells differently but hey..) in the end its always about them
    *knowing he drugged you, denying it and exploited the moment, either caressing you acting like he’s done a good deed.
    *knowing he drugged you, your body tells you and telling you: your off your head..
    *accusing you already of inappropriate behaviour before visitors come.. so you behave unnatural not to upset him or he gets violent.
    *saying goods things about you and bad of himself so you feel bad about yourself..
    Like: you had a nice warm shower, i had cold water, you could order what you like and they didnt had mine and so on..
    *giving warnings like: dont play games with me because i’ll do it worse to you.
    *all the sudden cuts off communication/ walks off/ say things like go back to your ex or guy of the supermarket (whoever you were friendly too).. leaving you confused.

    I can go on and on.. or even write a book about it..

    The signs were there.. some ive missed and some were clear “after” all the damage was done…
    Thank god i had my family who helped me through it, they knew i wasn’t myself anymore..
    I lost 2 jobs, nearly my family, house and most of all.. myself..

    I pray for those who are in this mess for strenght and to open their eyes.
    I pray for the perpetrator to feel real love and empathy.
    I pray for those family’s to never give up, without support its hard to get out of the cycle.
    I pray for healing..

  2. amiannRaki Brown

    This is generally a female accusation made against men. Consider that maybe there is another side to the coin here. Imagine what it is like to live with someone who DOES in fact remember things very differently to how they occured. Imagine that you are pretty factual and clear about certain events and again and again see it slowly bit by bit be reconstrued into something else entirely, you know that this new version of reality that paints your partner as a victim within events slowly seeps into your circle of friends (secretly because a “victim” cannot be open about these things because he is abusive) and family, you start to notice that they look at you differently and obviously start to get paranoid somewhat as to what is being said and no one will tell you. It’s like you are fighting a 100 invisible enemies convicted of non-existent crimes. I find this narrative very dangerous because it is so widespread, women almost constantly will use this accusation at the end of a bad relationship with very little self reflection. I mean what are you supposed to say if things didn’t occur as potrayed and it is ongoing and an evolving story? I’ve been in situations where I have just entirely given up even trying to bring things back to simple facts surrounding situations, I just sit back and see this picture being painted and growing in complexity with the same innevitable conclusion, she is the victim and I am the perpetrator. No one here knows me of course and I am not suggesting anyone on here is the same but there needs to be a voice for the other side of the coin. I’ve developed a whole theory around it to try and understand why this is such a common phenomenon and it goes like this: First you meet and get on, you are both in love and do things for each other, for you there is no bedt in this, you act out of love but for her there is an emotional debt. At some point along the way you are going to miss the mark, maybe you ignored or didn’t notice something she did for you or you forgot some item going shopping or whatever. Anyway nothing is mentioned at the time (not enough faults accured yet), over time more fault or mistakes are noted down in that invisible little book and one day there is an argument, this is the moment, a whole barrage of accusations that you never heard mention of before, they come so quick and so many of them that your mind cannot possibly remember every incident clearly, and she is upset, so you believe that you must have acted the ways in which she claims, you appologise (First MASSIVE mistake, you have already admitted guilt and now the emotional debt is legitimate). So, the dynamic changes, now you are guilty and she is a victim of your carelessness or thoughtlessness, you feel you need to make amends, thinking you can get back to an equal footing (Second MASSIVE mistake, there is no going back). You work harder, you try to appease her more, show more concern, try to learn from your mistakes and better your self in the relationship. The problem is that now she is in a position of power and not willing to move from that position, so more offences are mentioned (again ones that were never mentioned at the time and you have little recolection of) and/or the pain of the original offences are revisited and the depth of the pain increased, so you try harder. At some point you feel absoluted shattered, destroyed almost, like you are a terrible person and no matter what you do things never seem to improve, so you put your foot down and say that enough is enough, this leads to direct conflict for the first time and the drama is immense (she is loosing her position of power and fighting tooth and nail to maintain it), so you back down because you start to realise that you have just given her another thing to hold against you simply by the measure of how upset she was (keep in mind that as a guy your own level of pain and upset equals zero to her). Instead you start paying attention to all the little details, what is said, when it was said, what the circumstances where and you suddently have an invisible little book to write things down in. So as the relationship progresses and she brings stuff up you now have the facts recoreded in your memeory clearly and you say “no, actually that wasn’t exactly how it went down, this and that happened first and is why we missed the train or whatever”, she doesn’t like that (threatening power base again) and will insist on her version of events but you don’t budge this time because you know what the facts were. So it continues and she starts to realise that you will not always agree (you obviously appologise when there were genuine mis-steps, you are not looking for power just honesty and equality within the relationship) and she starts to get more desperate over time and is forced to look at some of her own mis-steps as you’ve realised that it’s pretty unfair if she doesn’t, seeing as you are the only one asked to appologise all the time. This is where it gets weird and no offence to the ladies here but for some bizzare reason, women don’t admit fault (as a test tell me of one single woman who has ever gone on national TV and admitted they were at fault, shouldn’t have done what they had done and take full responsibility for their actions). So now this strange dynamic starts to develop where she will still try to bring up things from the past to create emotional debt, you shut it down with the facts and in turn point to certain things she has done (keeping to definite undeniable things), one day she appologises for something and you think FINALLY!!!! Except it doesn’t have the desired effect at all, you think that can finally find some common ground where you can both admit that there were mistakes made and are both able to admit and appologise for those mistakes (Third mistake, there will never be common ground again). Instead what happens is that she sees appologising as a humiliation, she feels diminished and although she keeps trying the same old tactics they are more desperate now and she starts to doubt her own version of events, she starts to think that maybe she was wrong about everything, then it goes further and she starts to get paranoid, “what if he is not who i think he is?”. She talks to her friends, maybe her mother and even your mutual friends and says how she doesn’t know what to think anymore and asks them wether she is a good person or not? They are of course supportive and of course she isn’t a bad person at all so it’s easy for them to realise that and say no, so where does the problem lie? It must of course lie with him, maybe he is gaslighting you? Boom!!! New weapon, a new way of turning the tables again, so now whenever the past if brought up you cannot argue it again because if you do then you are gaslighting and there is really little you can say to that, I mean what do you say? If you insits on the facts then it doesn’t go anywhere. So you read up on what gaslighting actually means and you think, wow… That is such a serious accusation, i mean you would have to be a seriously sinister and messed up person to conciously do something like that, why would you? You love her after all, otherwise you wouldn’t be putting your self through hell just to try and make it work. Anyway in the end the relationship has become totally untenable and one of the partners leaves. It’s the invisible emotional debt accusition you end up with that destroys everything. So I have a question for anyone reading this, do you make sure to mention what has upset you as close to the event as possible and make it clear to your partner? And are you able to appologise in an adult way if you have gone wrong in some way? Maybe my case unique I don’t know, there are monsters out there who obviously are genuinly gaslighting people and of course stay away from those, they are dangerous. On the other hand excersise some self reflection as a woman and ask your self how you play the game of power within the relationship.

    1. amiannJJ

      You’re gaslighting, loser. There is no “other side”, it’s abuse. A lie is a lie.
      Nobody is forcing you to abuse. Moral relativism is a lie.

  3. amiannShar

    This is EXACTLY what my local authority (Council) housing director has done. Several, including No-4 that I can recall. In brief; I’m being abused tortured denied sleep and after he (kb) visited me at home 2 pm – I’m in nightwear all day as too weak to get up. He then meets neighbour (suspected sociopath) at (46), then writes a 6 page letter with strange comments as; “I am told you have a fear of noise.” Now I’ve run this through my mind too many times. Deciding what to write but waiting for an evidence first on other lies he’s written. Enjoying your site but not sure I afford your handwriting fee. Nice to reD your views anyway that’s the internet.

  4. amiannMary Ann

    Yes my husband has done this to me.When we were first married I was confused. As the marriage went on he would say I never did that. If I was friendly to a person he would accuse me of flirting. Believe what you feel. I believe they accuse you of something they are guilty of doing. Been married and stayed married because I had children. Life gets more complicated but I also know how to fight back when necessary. My husband is controlling. But I have 12th house Pluto conjunct my Asc and Mars in opp. Fire can shoot out of my 👀! I am much older now so I had to learn not to take abuse. (An old woman gave me very good advice once. She told me to marry someone who likes you better than you like them. She picked up on a man I was engaged to. I just wanted to share her words of Wisdom.) I enjoy your website! Very good advice. 😊

  5. amiannMichele McWilliams

    I, too, could write a book about this subject. Eighteen years with the Sun/Moon/Merc/Nept/NN in Scorpio – I believe he chose me due to my childhood (orphaned, stepmother so extremely abusive (physically), we actually had a CPS worker in the early 70’s, my history of suicide attempts, etc) for the sole purpose of his amusement and the challenge of seeing if he could push me off the cliff of insanity. Besides all the gaslighting, he would say things like “I want to see you overdose on a huge pile of heroin” – this was two years after losing my beloved 20 year old nephew to a heroin overdose – and “when you drive away from here, I hope you don’t make it to the stop sign before you get violently killed in a bloody, brutal car accident”. You know, Scorpio style. Those quotes were verbatim, by the way. Anyway, he seriously underestimated the strength of my mental faculties and not only did I finally leave him, but I moved 2200 miles away and went no contact for awhile. I found an essay a woman named Ashley wrote about getting involved with a Scorpio male, that is very accurate. Funny thing about it -she’s a Scorpio, too. I will send it to you, amiann. Or I could post it in these comments, though it’s somewhat lengthy.

      1. amiannMichele

        My mother died when I was six and I didn’t want to go back to Sunday school after that because I decided he didn’t exist. What was kind of funny – and I didn’t know this until decades later – is the only “church” we ever went to as children, was the Scottish Rite Temple in Mission Valley (San Diego). If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s for Freemasons only. I had no clue my family were Freemasons. Mostly because a lot of them die pretty young…and they have always been so secretive. I mean, really kind of creepy secretive. The most mysterious was my grandmother, a Scorpio (of course). There is a lot of interesting stuff in my history, amiann. We descend from three women – our seventh, eighth and ninth great grandmothers – who were charged in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Two were eventually pardoned but the ninth died in jail from injuries sustained from the prolonged torture.

        I recently found out I had BLM in my 4th house and then saw this on AstroCodex: The 4th house is the house of one’s roots, and Lilith placed there can bring a lot of secrecy about the native’s ancestors. There can be dark powers running in the blood of some female ancestors.

        Touché, I say. 🙂

        …Copyright (©) –

        To answer your question, amiable, I’ve been an atheist my whole life but everyone I love is a devout Christian. I defend Christians and will always take their side in any and every battle. I LOVE that they believe. I am a walking contradiction and I hate it. But I can only speak my truth, even if no one gets it. I stay open always, amiann, hoping something will break through to me.

          1. amiannMichele

            I am the middle sister, sandwiched between two very faithful Christians. Seriously, amiann, every man I get involved with is religiously inclined and I live with my sisters and brother-in-law, all church-goers. Every radio in every car is set to gospel music. Lol. Then I bust in with my playlist and bring some much needed balance with Pink Floyd, Korn, Disturbed (their remake of “Sounds of Silence” is very nice, with several youtube videos just discussing the performance – etc., so there is currently an active campaign in progress to convert me. Been that way for years. 🙂 I’m just waiting for that light to shine.

          2. amiannamiann Post author

            Wow lol I am a musician and play all kinds of things, but Jesus is everything to me. How about pray the prayer for God to show you the way and see what happens.

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