Sometimes when you’re in a relationship yourself it can be hard to recognize those glaring red flags that tell you it’s time to get the heck out. Spotting them in the relationships of your friends using the luxury of a third person perspective is one thing, but catching them when they’re right in front of your eyes can be a whole other matter. Sometimes, you need to be able to look for a few key signs that there’s “gaslighting” going on.
“Gaslighting” can be a very difficult thing to spot indeed, especially when it’s happening to you.
Gaslighting refers to the process of slowly undermining someone’s worth and opinions in order to manipulate them with emotional abuse. Here are a few of those red flags that you should be keeping an eye out for if you feel like you may be in a relationship like that.
1. When you’re confused… all the time.
Gaslighting 101 is, always keep the person in a perpetual state of confusion. The first major red flag is when your partner or friend constantly makes you question your own mind and your ability to know what’s really going on. By de-stabilizing your belief in your own sanity, it’s much easier to make you second guess yourself during the next conflict. One key way they do this is by a technique known as “countering”, in which they call your motivations, memory or intelligence into question rather than addressing the issue.
2. It’s always you doing the apologizing
Another basic way that people manipulate others is by always finding a way to make you feel like you need to apologize. For big issues or small, if you go through your day apologizing, you may be being conditioned to take responsibility for everything.
3. You Are Becoming Withdrawn
Along with questioning your own mind, thinking, “Am I being too sensitive?” or “Am I wrong about this too?” the victim of gaslighting will often start to lose a lot of their confidence and begin to emotionally withdraw.
This is a dangerous part of the manipulation phase, as when the abuser is trying to keep you under their control, it makes it much easier if you have separated from your support system of friends and family. If they can keep some distance between you and anyone who might back you up against them, it keeps you under their thumb.
4. Your decisions are always undermined
In order to make sure that they maintain the power in a relationship, they will consistently undermine your ability to make decisions. No matter what decision you make, they will disagree with it so that when they want something, they will feel like they have the upper hand. If you’re not able to make many decisions in the day-to-day, that may be a red flag.
5. You Begin To Change
It may begin with small changes, the way you say things or some small opinions. They can also be bigger changes like the way you dress for the sake of someone else, or even the way you think. Don’t get me wrong, change isn’t always negative, in fact, it’s important to be trying to self-improve throughout your life. The important skill is is realizing your motivations for wanting to change. Is it a genuine improvement to yourself in your quest to be a better person, or are you doing it to make another person happy. If you look back and see that you’ve become a drastically different person for the sake of someone else, you may have a red flag on your hands.
Do you know any other red flags for gaslighting?
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