Please get acquainted with gaslighting, the latest term to be added in the modern relationship lexicon. Gaslighting can be defined as an act of subtle relationship manipulation where one partner makes the other partner doubt their own memories and instincts. A person engages in this kind of manipulation by using persuasion and misinformation to question what the other partner knows to be true. In short, your partner convinces you that you are crazy and whatever you know or you think you know is false by repeatedly telling you that you are wrong and crazy till the point you start believing it.
Why is it trending?
It came in the limelight last year when the news of Hollywood actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard break up and divorce made noise. Heard stated that, she had been physically and verbally abused during the course of their relationship. Initially, Depp replied that she was making things up and had a habit of doing it throughout their relationship. Depp repeatedly questioned her sanity, thereby making it the first high profile case of gaslighting. However, the term skyrocketed, thanks to the ‘gaslighter of the year’, US President Donald Trump, who appears to constantly gaslight the claims of the US media on various issues by questioning its authenticity.
Signs that you are being gaslighted
1)You feel crazy- When your partner makes you sound as if you’re crazy and twists every conversation and argument in such a manner, you feel that you are the one who has become irrational or unreasonable.
2)You doubt yourself- When you start to second guess your own judgment and perception of the reality and blindly trust your partner, then it’s a strong possibility that you are being gaslighted. For instance, when one of the partners starts to doubt their version of events and facts even though they are aware of the truth.
“ Partners who tend to gaslight are usually insecure about their relationships. They try to dominate and control the relationship by gaslighting their partner. The difference between the person who gaslights and who gets gaslighted is that the person who gets gaslighted is one who is more insecure compared to other partner,” says Dr. Anil Sethi, relationship counsellor
3) You are overly sensitive- A classic gaslighting tactic is to make your partner believe as if they are overly sensitive. Your partner can do that by constantly accusing you of being extremely sensitive to a point, that you actually start to believe it.
“Gaslighters are generally of narcissistic and aggressive personality types, which makes them do whatever it takes to secure and maintain a position of advantage over their partner. Hence, they may feel insecure about anything in their relationship or they may want to confine their own wrongdoing from their partner; they use emotional abuse and manipulation to wrangle their partner’s ability of judgement and independence,” says Shivani Misri Sadhoo, psychologist and relationship counsellor
4)You are insecure- Gaslighters make you insecure by constantly questioning your identity and sense of self to the extent where you have no identity of your own and gradually lose confidence in yourself.
5)You are always sorry- If you’re the one who always ends up saying sorry or profusely apologising after every argument despite no fault of your own, then there is a good chance of you being gaslighted by your partner.