I didn’t even know what gaslighting in relationships meant until recently. Gaslighting is something that I’ve experienced many times in romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships and in business.

I’ve touched on aspects of gaslighting before, but was unfamiliar with the terminology until a few weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep and starting watching the classic film, Gaslight on tv (I’m a classic movie junkie).

The film is based off of the play Gas Light, which centers around a husband who attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights (the lights were powered by gas at the time), in their home. When the wife notices and points out the dimmed lights, her husband denies that the lights have changed. In the film adaption, Ingrid Bergman’s character, Paula, meets the charming and handsome Gregory (played by Charles Boyer), while in Italy. They fall in love and when they return to London, the same crazy making ensues. Paula and Gregory’s union is now in total relationsh*t territory – exclusively defined by a fight to retain control/sanity as opposed to lovers in London.

When it comes to defining what gaslighting in relationships is, gaslighting is something that is so.much.more subtle, effective and ultimately destructive than you could ever imagine.

Gaslighting in relationships is ALL about gaining power. It’s a form of manipulation in which the perpetrator – very slowly, methodically and passively – breaks down the victim to the point that the victim starts to question their reality and sanity.

Gaslighting can happen to ANYONE – It doesn’t discriminate against age, wisdom, orientation or gender. It’s obviously more prevalent and easier to detect in cults and dictatorships, but it occurs in relationships everyday… and is nearly undetectable.

HOW so? 

Gaslighting in relationships is very gradual and s l o w.

It can’t survive in any environment other than slow, steady & subtle.

And because it’s so gradual, the person being gaslight not only doesn’t realize what’s going on, but they also can’t fully detect the extent to which they’ve been brainwashed.

It’s finding yourself all alone in an empty room on top of the cold, hard marble floor. You’re so cold and uncomfortable, but no one ever notices. Then one day, someone comes along and seems to understand and empathize with your situation on a potential Happily-Ever-After level; a level that no one has ever before.

And, as if this person could sense with crystal-ball-ability, exactly what you needed at that exact moment… they place the most PERFECT, warm and fluffy rug right underneath you.

You didn’t realize just how cold and uncomfortable you were until you had the warmth, comfort and SECURITY that this rug provides.

You’re so grateful for the warmth however, that you don’t realize everyday, inch by inch, the rug is being pulled out from under you until one day…

You’re all alone, shivering on the cold floor.

You ask your partner, “Where’s the rug that was here? I’m freezing!”

you’re answered with…

“What rug? You’re crazy!… Are you sure?… You don’t have the best memory. There was never a rug! You’re siting on MARBLE and marble is obviously COLD…. YOU don’t know what your talking about. If you’re cold, you should go find a rug instead of being crazy and accusing ME of stealing one that was NEVER there! This is all in your head.”

You start to question whether there even was a rug (but you KNOW that there was; you’re sure of it). You feel awful for upsetting your partner, so you defeatedly return to apologize for something that your gut knows isn’t so.

Why do we do this?

We prefer the “known” of the self-imposed-jail-cell-hellish-nightmare MISERY to the “unknown” of HAPPINESS & UNFILTERED JOY.

Every time we believed in happiness, the other shoe always dropped.

Our hearts just cant handle the unpredictable anymore.

As humans, we will sacrifice our values, morals, sanity, sense of reality, happiness and health just to feel the security that predictability provides – EVEN IF it’s the predictability of our own heartbreak, pain, suffering and affirmation of our perceived lack of value.

Here are the 7 main signs of gaslighting in relationships + how to extinguish the flame for good:

Before I go into the 7 signs of gaslighting in relationships, I want to first touch on how to tell if you’re a victim of gaslighting.

Here are some of the symptoms of being gaslight:

  • You’re always wondering if you’re “good enough” for your partner because you never know.
  • You think (& are told) that you’re too sensitive.
  • It’s hard to pinpoint why you’re so unhappy, but you just know that you are.
  • You always feel like you/your relationsh*t is “in trouble.”
  • You have manifested a codependent relationship with your fears.
  • You’ve lost the ability to trust yourself and need others to affirm what your gut already knows.
  • You feel confused and crazy, which brings up a great deal of shame. The shame puts your in a state of fear based, “must-apologize-for-having-a-human-reaction/obseversation,” PARALYSIS. Before you know it, you’re apologizing to your partner for identifying something that your eyes, ears and gut have consistently seen, heard and identified in REAL TIME.
  • You’re always making excuses for your partner’s decisions, actions, inactions and words to your friends and family.
  • You find yourself apologizing to your partner more than ever being heard and empathized with.
  • Decision making becomes increasingly difficult for you.
  • Avoidance has now become a way of life.
  • You mourn the death of the person you “used to be,” the one who possessed a backbone. The person who was confident, resilient, strong and able to speak up. You feel like a walking corpse; a shell of your former self.
  • You have an inability to implement boundaries because your self esteem is nonexistent.
  • You feel hopeless. Dependency is at an all-time high.

The 7 main signs of gaslighting in relationships:

  1. No matter what – even if you have proof (!) – your partner lies & denies.

    When a gaslighter lies, the lies are OBVIOUS and BLATANT.

  2. Your partner is bankrupt when it comes to character. They can’t match their words with their actions. EVER.

    And because of this, it’s imperative that you judge them SOLEY on what they DO. Always look at the actions. It’s their words that they rely so heavily on to manipulate and wear you down over time.

  3. Gastlighters project everything onto you. Everything that they accuse you (& others) of, they embody. The level of hypocrisy and contradiction is through the roof.

    They do this because they know that you’ll get so defensive and involved in “proving them wrong,” they’ll have a much easier time propelling their agenda. They want you to distracted and preoccupied with “trying to be better.”

  4. Gaslighters live for “us against them,” and that mentality is like candy to people with low self esteem. They’ll convince you that they’re all you need and that you don’t need your friends or loved ones. They’ll also align people against you that can come in at any time and act as “expert/key witnesses,” to your insanity/incorrectness if need be. They LOVE having a “credible yes people,” in their back pocket.

    This is done to isolate you so that no one who isn’t emotionally bias/invested can tell you what their seeing and if for some reason they do, you’ll be defensive, recoil even more and the shame will break you down every further.

  5. You’re told that you are crazy and a liar (& everyone else that you’re close with/agrees with you is a crazy liar as well).

    Everyone else has to be crazy. The gaslighter is the ambassador of sanity along with anyone else she/he “appoints.” Gaslighters will study what and who matter most to you and then use the love that you have for these things/people to attack your integrity, sanity and make you question your value in their environment/lives.

  6. You are constantly accused of lying and “talking out of your ass.” You may have even been told to “go get checked,” or “get on pills.”

    This is nothing more than projection. Replace “you” with “I” and you have the truth.

  7. They’ll selectively connect, praise & “empathize,” just to f*ck with you.

    One day out of the blue, they’ll start (pretend) to connect with you, praise you and empathize with you for the very things that they condemned, broke you down for and accused you of. This is done to give you just enough hope to remain invested.

Gaslighting is a dynamic that seems impossible to ever exit because you get to the point where you’re so unsure of everything, you can’t make a move.

It’s the ultimate form of emotional paralysis by means of cumulative, Chinese water torture emotional manipulation. 

How to extinguish the flame FOR GOOD:

The first thing you need to know is that if someone has the ability to gaslight, there’s a 110% chance that they’re an emotionally unavailable narcissist.

Narcissism and gaslighting in relationships go hand in hand.

Having the kind of relationship that YOU KNOW you deserve is impossible with a narcissist who has the emotional span of a shoe… let alone a GASLIGHTER, who takes the manipulation to a level that attacks the very foundation of your being.

Gaslighting in relationships can seem like an impossible flame to extinguish because as the manipulation deepens, the sole source of your happiness and identity becomes the relationsh*t.

You become so used to the predictability of your misery that you convince yourself you “need” your partner to feel happy and whole. Because of this, you avoid exiting the relationsh*t for fear of having no more happiness and identity.

The key to extinguishing that flame once and for all lies in the realization, that at the root of your fleeting happiness and pseudo identity, lies abusive and painful MANIPULATION that you will be saying goodbye to (not what you’ve convinced yourself is your happiness and identity).

How do you say goodbye?

By doing the ONE THING that a gaslighter will NEVER be able to do – speaking with your actions and riding off into the sunset on your own white horse.

You are so much more than a f*cktard’s agenda. You have YOUR OWN.

If you’re experiencing gaslighting in a relationship, make the decision to get out NOW.

Take back the pen to write your OWN story before someone else waste’s all of your emotional ink.

Love to each and every one of you, always.

– Natasha xx

if you need further or more personalized help, please look into working with me here

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23 comments

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I was in a relationship/engaged to a sociopath for three years and this was his favorite tool to use to manipulate me. I felt insane and lost my whole identity. I’m finally on the right track now and getting back to myself, but gaslighting has long lasting effects! Thank you for writing this, and I hope other women can read this and get out before they get destroyed.

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Yep, all true. I was with someone for a year and a half and every day I woke up feeling like something was wrong. The worst part is feeling like you’re going insane. Because even after I ended things and I finally told a friend the worst of the details and they told me those things weren’t normal in a relationship, it took me a long time to align my views with my emotions. It was impossible before because he told me I was weird for having those feelings. Most of the time it’s fine but every few weeks, emotions will flare up inside me asking how I could be so stupid to let him do that to me for so long. What was wrong with me that I let it? Maybe I’m just going through a depressive phase right now. I was fine up until a week ago. I don’t want him back but I miss having….just someone. Good luck with your journey! You made the right choice 🙂

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I love seeing this love & support <3 xoxo

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Hi Chloe! Thank you so much for sharing <3 I'm happy that the post helped. You are loved. XO

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Thank you for being my angel and helping me get out of my gas lighting hell. I am 4ever grateful. Xo

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Love you XOXO

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Scarily accurate

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<3 xo

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“Characterize People By Their Actions, And You Will Never Be Fooled By Their Words”. A few months ago I put that post up on my FB page and my narcissist/emotionally unavailable Involvement saw it. OH he was Furious!!!! Why? Only because it applied to him and he knew it!! So he sent a barrage of flirtations suddenly with all the FB women we both knew. It was designed to hurt me for calling him out, because hitting the nail on the head Bothered him!! What it did was make me smile– because I knew I’d gotten it right. And I turned and went my own way, leaving him to his hollow victories with anyone else he could find to string along. Buh-by, Felicia, LOL!!! Hello Natasha! And Thank You again for teaching us to trust the instincts that see us as whole, though we may be temporarily diverted, and need your wisdom!♥

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Jeanette! Thank YOU so much for sharing 🙂 you’re truly amazing. I’m happy that the post helped. You are loved. XOXO

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Thank you so much Natasha. Love you. Xoxox
You don’t know how much you helped me since I found your weblog .God bless you.

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I love you too Gem! I’m honored to help, truly. XOXO

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I’m still trying to recover after that, I still have moments when I can’t believe he didn’t love me. Reading this article sounded so much like what I’ve been through that I don’t think I could deny it anymore. The most damaging effects for me were thinking I’m not worthy and I need to prove my worth to him, putting all my efforts, hopes and dreams in the relationship and becoming a shell of who I truly am, not being able to recognize myself or even like who I had become. I’m on my way towards my true self now, but it’s not easy after being shattered. Thank you for bringing me some clarity!

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I’m so glad that the post served you Estelle. You are understood, empathized with, loved, supported and never, ever alone. Sending you so much love. XOXO

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Awesome post but so difficult to get out of this gaslighting hell…. Although I decided almost a year ago to walk away, after a three-year relationship with 1,5 year horrible aftermath, I still have moments where my mind becomes shattered with these awfull thoughts of “you will never be good enough and your life will never be as good as with the narc”… I only realized the fact of having been involved with a narcissist a year ago after a psychiatrist faced me with reality… steps afterwards have been so hard but finally feeling I am slowly getting there… This blog helped me so much with trying to find myself back. Thanks, Natasha and big hugs to all xoxo

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Hi Petite 🙂 I’m honored to have helped <3 Keep coming back here to the blog and just know that you're loved, supported and never alone. Sending you lots of love and a BIG hug. xx

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Content-wise, I love your posts. However, I find the use of so many different font sizes and styles very irritating, I do not know what kind of feedback you have received but I personally find it really uncomfortable too read.

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Hi Sopho! Thanks for your input! 🙂

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I am a passive aggressive male gaslighter etc

Before we were married, I bowed, against my wife’s wishes, to my my mother’s and sister’s directions to have a “formal” wedding. They invited cousins, aunts, and others to the wedding.Nobody on my wife’s side were able to attend.

We were married in a church that was not of my wife’s choosing. I chose a local church that we had no history of attending. My wife wanted to marry in the church that we attended.

On our honeymoon, I squealed “gotta have room, give me room” in the bed may wife paid for. The item that crowded me turned out to be a pillow.

My wife wanted to go to New York our honeymoon, and I said no. Said it was too hot there. We went to south Florida instead, were the heat was even hotter.

During the honeymoon, my wife wanted to go to a famous water show that she attended when she was young. I did not want to wait one day for the rain to stop so we could see it.

My wife asked me to drive her back from an outpatient surgery. I bailed at the last minute and she had to drive herself.

My wife had another outpatient surgery and I went home to eat during the surgery. I was not there if something happened.

She was there for me when I needed her for medical issues.

We bought a lesser house together, while my wife found a much better home in a different neighborhood that was a better buy financially.

I made the decision to fix the house up nice, when my wife’s idea was to just paint it and move in. Her idea would have been the most prudent.

My wife had separate bank accounts, and I made us consolidate, against her wishes, the multiple accounts. I now have separate accounts for various monies.

My wife wants a regular drive way (like everyone else) into our house, and I insist on a pigtail into the home. We have had the pigtail for years.

My wife wants a cover for our cars, but I say we cannot afford (see below)

I insist we buy a piece of property. My wife tells me how much we should pay. I pay 2 1/2 times as much. In another, I buy a piece of property that she does not want to buy. I insist and purchase anyway.

In the above transactions, she tells me it is time for her turn to make a decision. I say yes it is, but am going to do it anyway because it is a good deal.

Ate with my wife and daughter zero times, but ate with many family members at the table a lot of times.

Daughter baked me my favorite cake, but did not taste it.

Wife baked me a birthday cake, and I did not touch it.

At a local restaurant, I was rude by making out the food was bad. Showing out that I did not want to be there.

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I left a 7 year abusive, unhealthy relationship last year in April and I’m STILL struggling every day with self-doubt. I was gaslit and invalidated so bad that even as I write this I am doubting whether or not this is really what was happening to me.

I doubt my reality, whether or not my feelings, opinions, ideas, or reasons I’m upset are valid, I’m constantly confused and frustrated and reaching out to friends and family to try and ground myself again to reassure myself that I’m actually normal. I hear his voice in my head telling me that I’m a liar, that I’m crazy, that I’m too sensitive, that other girls wouldn’t feel the way that I’m feeling about whatever subject, that I’m weird or needy for wanting or needing x,y, or z.

Natasha, you hit the nail right on the head. The scariest part of gaslighting is that it IS extremely subtle. It is either already disguised or easily disguisable when challenged, hiding behind a cloak of caring, honesty, love, rationality, logic, and worst of all, normalness. Gaslighters are able to make whatever reality or idea they want into “the norm” and if what you experience or think is different, they will make you feel weird, abnormal, and crazy for doing so. This causes you to doubt and question who is right. Wait, is my reality right? or is his reality right?

If you try to stick to your guns, it causes or perpetuates a fight. Plus, this is difficult to do. You don’t like fighting or confrontation, you like compromise and are okay with being wrong and don’t mind apologizing or submitting. So in order to keep the peace, you submit, under the notion that “maybe I do have a bad memory” or “maybe I am being overly sensitive”. (Also, in some circumstances, sticking to your guns might equal not trusting your partner fully, which is a slippery slope you don’t want to fall down.) However, when you don’t stick to your guns, yes there’s no fight, but you are left still confused, invalidated, and questioning and these feelings are like a disease, eating away at your self-confidence and spirit. By allowing his reality to be right or normal or acceptable, your reality becomes not right, not normal, and not acceptable, just by default. This is where the confusion stems: constantly surrendering your own reality and opinion, for his.

My advice is this: if you know, think, or even just feel that something is wrong with your partner’s logic or reality, don’t ever stop challenging it. Don’t ever ditch or invalidate your opinion or reality because that will make it so much easier for him to. (And I don’t mean comprimisable tiffs, I mean uncomprimisable times when he hurts you and your feelings). And if he isn’t capable of proper communication, compromise, or non-mindfuckery, then please, please, listen to that little voice within yourself and leave. No one is worth your peace of mind.

Thank you Natasha, I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and I’ve been blown away since. Either you dated my ex lol or you can read my mind, but either way, what you write really speaks to me. Thank you for putting in so much work and heart in your writing to help others around the world!

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Christy, thank you SO MUCH for sharing. I’m honored to have played a part in your healing and realizations. You are understood, loved, supported, backed, believed in and never, ever alone. Thank you for being a part of this tribe and for just being the light that you are. All my love to you soul sister. XO

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I spent 7 years with a man who treated me poorly, I thought it was my fault. His behaviour started to fully show after 5 years, sadly it took me another 2 to finally find the strength to leave him. I didn’t have any words at the time to describe what he was, a narcissistic gaslighter. You are so right that the lies are blatant. They were clearly obvious but he had worn me down so much that I had just had nothing left to fight with. No strength, no courage, no bravery. I was a mere shell of my former self, completely lost and depressed. I was lucky in that he made a mistake one day, he let a new friend of his come to the house a few times. His new friend could see what was going on behind closed doors, and very very carefully over the next few months helped me finally get away behind his back. I will be forever grateful to that person, and for being so supportive over the next year while my ex continued to attempt manipulation and blackmail! (I ended up going to the Police for help). It took me a long time to rebuild my life after that, I even moved to the other side of the world for a while. I will never EVER let anyone treat me like that again. I hope that anyone reading this who is in the same position remembers that they are worthy, are they important, they are valid and they ARE loved by friends and family. You CAN ask for help. You CAN leave. It is abuse, go to the authorities if you have to. Get away, as far as you have to go so that they can’t hurt you. xx

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Thank you so much for sharing Lisa <3 and for the reminder. You are loved, supported, backed, believed in, and looked up to beyond measure. Sending you love. XOXO

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