“I started to doubt if what I was feeling was real or just in my head.”
Does your partner say things that make you wonder if you are going crazy? If they are making you feel more confused and questioning your reality, you may be experiencing gaslighting.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting refers to manipulation where you question your own sanity, reality or judgments. In an intimate partner relationship, gaslighting is an abuse tactic where one partner questions facts, denies memories the other has, undermines their judgment, and bullies them into believing things that are not true about themselves or their experience.
What Does Gaslighting Look Like?
Technology is often used to gaslight a person. One SHALVA client described how her partner had put spyware on the computer and programmed the computer to start talking out loud. When she heard the computer “talking,” she asked her partner if they heard the voices. They said they didn’t know what she was talking about and that she should see a doctor.
This is just one example of gaslighting, and it is psychological abuse. Our client was questioning her reality and believed she was crazy until her therapist was able to put all the pieces together and educated her that it was gaslighting.
How to Respond to Gaslighting
Gaslighting makes it very hard to feel comfortable disclosing abuse because you may not trust your memory. We recommend documenting what you experience by taking videos, photos and writing notes. This will help you remember what happened. It can also help other people, like a therapist, to recognize patterns and identify abuse.
Gaslighting is a Red Flag
It is hard to believe someone you love could be so cruel, but gaslighting is a warning sign that there are problems in your relationship. If this is happening to you, please know that you are not alone, and SHALVA is here to help.