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Understanding Gaslighting

Understanding Gaslighting

Have you seen the movie Gaslight?

Years after her aunt was murdered in her home; a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.

If you find yourself in a relationship and struggling, maybe you have thought about the term gaslighting. Or, perhaps you tell a friend, and they suggest that gaslighting is happening in your relationship.

What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting takes place whenever there is manipulation. The victim will start to question their reality. For instance, let’s say you have proof of your partner cheating via text message. Even your friends know that your partner is cheating on you. However, your partner over and over and over again will deny it. The victim will start to question things.

Usually, when someone is caught doing something, they own up to it. So, it has you thinking that maybe you’re wrong. Then, your partner will tell you that your friends are also dishonest; they’re bad people. It will break your level of trust with your friends.

1. Breaking Down Your Self-Esteem

When someone is gaslighting, they want control of the situation. A person may attack you at your core. Let’s say you’re an excellent mom. However, your partner will start to say that you’re a terrible mom. They do this because it will break down your self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth.When your confidence is down, it will make it easier for the person who is gaslighting to manipulate you and make you question your reality.

2. Showing Love, Affection, and Support

Another tactic is when your partner will show certain levels of love, affection, and support. The person will do this to distract you and steer you in a specific direction. Then, you will start to think that the person isn’t lying. You begin to believe they are not lying because they are so nice.

The person engaging in gaslighting will do specific tactics, so the victim will question their reality, experience low self-esteem, feel insecure, and break connections with their support system. So when they question what is happening within the realm of the relationship, they won’t go to their friends and family. In the end, the victim will question their entire reality, and they find themselves in a difficult position.

3. Take A Step Back and Find Help

If you find yourself in a position where gaslighting is taking place, it’s often difficult for us to see what is familiar. If you are in a relationship where this is happening for years, it can be challenging to see it differently. So, step away and get distant. A stranger can come in and know that it is happening. We are so used to it that it will become a system; we don’t know any different. Take a GIANT step back and reach out to a counselor. Find someone who is neutral and share what is happening so you can get some clarity and understanding.

Santos Counseling PLLC is located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Start your counseling journey, check out the amazing counselors, and see which one is a good fit for you here:


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