Gaslighting in Adult Relationships

Gaslighting is basically crazy making. It typically happens in abusive relationships, relationships where one (or both) partner has an addiction, or if one partner has narcissistic tendencies. It can be a defense strategy (he says "I wasn’t drunk", when he obviously was), a form of manipulation ("I'm worried about you. I hope you haven't told anyone, they'll think you're crazy"), or a result of limited attunement or empathy ("you're just being sensitive"). Sometimes it's blatant. Sometimes it's more tricky to spot. Either way, it has an impact on your health and vitality and is a pattern that needs attention and effort to change.

Because one effect is lack of trust in your perceptions, if you’re being gaslighted, you may be second guess if you’re actually being gaslighted. Here’s a list by Robin Stern, PhD to help.

Signs you may be being gaslighted:                        

  • You are constantly second-guessing yourself.
  • You start to question if you are too sensitive.
  • You often feel confused and have a hard time making simple decisions.
  • You find yourself constantly apologizing.
  • You can’t understand why you’re so unhappy.
  • You often make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
  • You feel like you can’t do anything right.
  • You often feel like you aren’t good enough for others.
  • You have the sense that you used to be a more confident, relaxed and happy person. You withhold information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain things                               

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