Do you feel confused, paranoid, not sure of reality? Do conversations with your partner leave you questioning what you have experienced? Does your partner try to convince you that you are "crazy" or leave you second-guessing your memory? You might be experiencing gaslighting.
The term gaslighting comes from a 1938 stage play titled Gas Light. In the play a husband attempts to make his wife believe she is "crazy" by dimming gas powered-light and denying it happens when she points it out. Gaslighting is a very powerful form of emotional abuse where the abuser twists your own experiences, memories, and/or beliefs against you, ultimately causing you to question your own reality. Over time gaslighting can cause you to lose trust in your own perspective and leave you more vulnerable to abuse and manipulation by an abuser.
Because of the nature of gaslighting, it can be difficult for someone to recognize the abuse. Here are a few warning signs that you might be experiencing gaslighting in your relationship.
Trivializing- Your partner might say, "You are too sensitive.", "Are you really getting mad over that.", or "You're so dramatic."
Countering -Your partner might say, "You need help.", "You're wrong, you never remember things correctly.", "I would have never done that to you."
Withholding - Your partner might say, "Not this again.", "You're trying to cause a fight.", "I am not doing this right now."
Blocking/Diverting - Your partner might say, "You are imagining things.", "Why are you so defensive all the time.", "You sound so crazy right now."
Forgetting/Denial- Your partner might say, "That didn't happen.", "I didn't mean it like that, obviously.", "What are you even talking about."
If these things sound familiar, remember gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. Reach out for help at 618-235-0892.