What Is Gaslighting? 15 Toxic Signs

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Gaslighting is an unfortunate form of psychological manipulation in romantic relationships.

It can make people question their minds or even their reality. It is characterized by the fact that one person repeatedly manipulates the other in a relationship.

It's definitely as bad as it sounds – the person is wielding power in the relationship to try to take control of their partner or to do some kind of emotional damage.

So why would anyone resort to such disturbing behavior?

When they have low self-esteem, it can be a twisted way of feeling better. In other cases, research has shown that some people simply enjoy the feeling of control that gaslighting someone else gives them.

Whatever the reason, gas lighting is never okay, and the signs are generally the same.

Here are 15 toxic signs of gaslighting to look out for:

1. Constant lying

A big part of gaslighting is questioning someone's perception of events or their sense of reality. Gaslighters keep changing the truth to work things out in their favor. Every lie, no matter how small, makes you question yourself, and they'll keep it up regardless of whether you start to understand.

2. Denial, even if you have evidence

If you get caught lying by your partner, you get clean right away, right? Gas lighters do the opposite. They will deny lies, even if there is evidence, and even double their "innocence." It makes you wonder if you are making things up or not.

3. You always make excuses

If you keep apologizing to your partner to friends and family, it is likely a bad sign. (Not to mention exhausting.) You keep doing it against your better judgment, which can create distance from loved ones.

The reason? The gaslighter's combative behavior leads to so much conflict that your inner circle gets involved and you defend it. (Which unfortunately benefits the gas lighter.)

4. They use what you like against you

As the ultimate form of manipulation, gaslighters learn what is important to you and use it against you. For example, if you value support in a relationship, he might say something like, "I'm the only one who understands you." You will also destroy your confidence and self-esteem by questioning things you like about yourself .

5. They use your personal relationships against you

Gaslighters don't want anyone outside of the relationship to challenge their control. So what are you doing?

They try to make you feel guilty about your relationships with friends and family. They try to make up lies about them or accuse them of manipulating you. This, in turn, makes you question your other relationships, which ultimately gives the gas lighter even more control.

6. They tell you that you are crazy

Gaslighters love to make you feel stupid or silly about how you feel. Even if you have a good reason for a certain reaction, they will convince you that you are insane. This constant manipulation can lead to you letting go of things more often, even when you shouldn't, just so as not to appear "overly sensitive".

7. Constant projection

Not only do gas lighters lie all the time, they also accuse you of lying. This causes you to defend yourself, which shifts attention from your behavior to yours, even if you haven't done anything wrong.

8. Words and actions do not go together

The old adage “Actions speak louder than words” has never been so true. A gaslighter may tell you that they are doing the best they can, but their actions tell otherwise.

9. They tell you how to feel

If you get gaslighted, the person will dismiss your feelings and tell you how you "should" feel. They say things like, "You should be glad I did this for you" or "You should be more grateful". It can also make you question your response to things.

10. You always apologize

If you keep apologizing (even if you haven't done anything wrong) you are likely to be pressured. You'd rather apologize to keep the peace than for them to attack your character again, which is both unhealthy and personally stressful.

11. You “walk on eggshells” around them

Do you feel like walking around on eggshells for fear of upsetting your partner? Not only is this stressful, it's also a sign of gaslighting. They have manipulated and worn you down so much that your goal is to make them happy at all costs. You prioritize their feelings over your own, mostly because they criticize you for having them.

12. They add positive reinforcement to confuse you

You know they can't be 100% in control, so someone gaslighting you will show nice behavior from time to time. One loving act might be enough to make you think that they are "not that bad". If you rarely see your partner's good points, it is probably time to reconsider the relationship.

13. They turn people against you

Gaslighters will lie about your friends and family to make you believe they turned on you. They might say, "My sister agrees you overreacted" or "My friends couldn't believe you acted that way." Whatever it is, it probably isn't true. The more people you have “on your side”, the more you question your own actions, and that's exactly what the gaslighter wants.

14. You feel isolated from your previous life

Someone using gaslighting manipulations wants you to be completely isolated from your past life. Why? You need total control – and you can't have it when you are influenced by external relationships.

15. You just don't feel like yourself anymore

Constant manipulation can affect your physical and emotional wellbeing. When you're feeling anxious, defeated, or exhausted, it's time to end the relationship. Trust your gut feeling – if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

So what if you get gaslighted in your relationship?

One of the first things you can do is seek advice from friends and family. If you think everything is on your head they will quickly help you realize that you are a victim of gaslighting. While there are times when people try to cope with this, it is not easy.

Gaslighting is incredibly unhealthy and harmful to a relationship, and the best option is to end it. At the end of the day, it is important that you focus on yourself and practice self-care. Remember, a gaslighter might try to control you, but it will never be able to change you.

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