Do you feel that a certain person in your life is causing you distress, and perhaps bringing you more harm than happiness? Do you feel that this person is not truthful with you, and may even be keeping you away from other people that you love?
You Are Reading: 5 Subtle Signs You’re Being Gaslighted
If this title drew you in, then you may suspect that you are being gaslighted, although you may also be doubting your own thoughts and suspicions.
Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse in which a person undermines another’s perception of reality. The gaslighter manipulates their victim into falsely believing they are inadequate, alone, overly sensitive, and constantly at fault. It is a show of psychological control that leaves the other person confused and wears them down more and more over time (Gordon, 2022; Morris, 2017; Sarkis, 2017).
It is important to be attentive to signs that you are being gaslighted so that you can address this and/or seek help as needed, as soon as possible.
These are 5 subtle signs you’re being gaslighted.
1. They constantly lie to you
You may have noticed that this person constantly lies to you. They might lie outright to your face. They may also deny things that you confront them with. You might remind them of something they said or promised you, and they’ll insist they never said or did such a thing. You might observe that they’re not being truthful because their actions don’t seem to match their words.
Among some of the worst lies they might tell you is that everyone else around you (including your loved ones and even the media), is a liar. They might manipulate you into believing that you can only turn to them, for the truth (Sarkis, 2017).
2. They intentionally confuse you
All of these lies accumulate into you questioning your own feelings and reality. Gaslighters are aware that confusing you leaves you vulnerable enough to be manipulated for their benefit. In the process of questioning everything else, they may hope that you will turn to them for a sense of stability to keep you under their control.
In addition to lying, they may confuse you by telling you or other people that you are crazy, dismissing your feelings. They might also toss in bits of positive reinforcement into your relationship. Rather than having your best interests at heart, they may be doing this to keep you thinking that they aren’t “all bad,” or to keep you still wanting to stay with them.
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As a result of all these, you may find yourself questioning your own sanity, feelings, and judgment. “Maybe I’m too sensitive,” you might think. You question whether other people will believe you or blame you instead if you try to tell them about the gaslighter’s behavior. You might falsely believe that people around you think you are crazy, and even struggle to make decisions because of how much you have grown to distrust your own judgment (Gordon, 2022; Morris, 2017; Sarkis, 2017).
3. They make you believe others are against you
Part of why you may gradually begin to feel that others think you are crazy is that the gaslighter purposefully makes you believe that other people are against you.
They may tell you that certain people think that you’re wrong, useless, or, as previously mentioned, crazy. This is another one of their lies. By making you believe that others are against you, they make it seem as though you can only trust them (the gaslighter).
The gaslighter isolates you from others, giving themselves more control. This will likely leave you feeling vulnerable, insecure, alone, powerless, and trapped. (Gordon, 2022; Morris, 2017; Sarkis, 2017)
4. They attack you
Do you constantly feel like you are being attacked? Contrary to what they might tell you, this may not just be your imagination. Gaslighters are typically able to identify what is important to you, and also know how to use this against you. If you value your identity highly, they might tell you that you would be a person of value if you didn’t have whatever negative traits they claim you possess. If you value your friends highly, they may work on convincing you that you are better off without them.
Gaslighters also project. For instance, they might be a cheater, and yet somehow they constantly accuse you of cheating instead. You may find yourself frequently trying to defend yourself from this attack; distracted from the gaslighter’s own misbehavior.
As a result of this treatment, you may wonder if you are whatever they accuse you of being, or wonder if there is something “wrong” with you. You may find yourself feeling inadequate, and due to how they respond to you attempting to confront them about their behavior, worry that you are simply “too sensitive” (Gordon, 2022; Morris, 2017; Sarkis, 2017).
5. They wear you down over time
One of the key aspects of gaslighting is that it wears you down over time.
Victims of gaslighting are not especially foolish or weak. It isn’t as though gaslighting behavior is apparent and intense from the very beginning. One of the most difficult things about gaslighting is that it can creep up on you. Their behavior may start small– snide comments or “little” lies here and there, until they gradually build up as you feel more and more vulnerable and confused. Over time, you may find yourself growing weary and emotionally exhausted (Sarkis, 2017).
If you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, it is not something for you to be ashamed of, find fault in, or feel foolish for. Gaslighting worsens over time. The smartest person can fall prey. After all, gaslighters are master manipulators that know how to control others and toy with emotions, making logic feel hazy.
They may make you believe that no one will listen to you, or that you shouldn’t seek help, but this tends to be part of their methods to keep you under their control.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, please do not hesitate to seek help from loved ones and a qualified mental health provider.
Gordon, S. (2022, January 5). Ways to tell if someone is gaslighting you. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/is-someone-gaslighting-you-4147470
Morris, S. Y. (2017, April 1). Gaslighting: Signs and tips for seeking help. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/gaslighting
Sarkis, S. A. (2017, January 22). 11 red flags of gaslighting in a relationship. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-red-flags-gaslighting-in-relationship
Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Gaslighting. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gaslighting