Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that often occurs in abusive relationships. It is a covert type of emotional abuse where the bully or abuser misleads the target, creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality.1 Ultimately, the victim of gaslighting starts to feel unsure about their perceptions of the world and even wonder if they are losing their sanity.
Here are a few forms of gaslighting. This is a form of emotional abuse and should be taken seriously. No one deserves to be treated like this – all humans deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
- Withholding – When the abusive partner refuses to listen or avoids seeking understanding of what their partner is trying to communicate with them.
- Countering – When the abusive partner questions the victims memory and recollection of events even if the other partner is remembering correctly.
- Blocking and Diverting – When the abusive partner attempts to switch topics and steers the conversation to questioning the other partner’s thoughts.
- Trivialising – When the abusive partner minimised the other partner’s feelings and emotions. The abusive partner makes the other partner feel meaningless and unimportant.
- Forgetting & Denial – When the abusive partner acts like they don’t remember a situation or conversation that occurred. They deny former promises they made to the other partner.
If you suspect that you are experiencing gaslighting, you may also find it helpful to talk to a mental health professional. They can help you learn more about the situation, gain perspective, and develop new coping strategies that can help you deal with the behavior.