When physical abuse takes place in a relationship, the signs are often easy to spot, but how can you prove emotional violence, such as gaslighting, to the authorities? The National Coalition on Domestic Violence notes that even though nearly half of men and women admit experiencing emotional abuse in the past, these incidents are rarely reported to the police.
Gaslighting makes you question the reality of words and events and, in extreme cases, your own sanity. Learning to recognize the signs of this type of abuse may help you end it before it affects your mental health.
Some individuals use gaslighting to control and manipulate their partners to make them unsure of their own perceptions. For example, your partner may tell you that a good friend or close relative is talking negatively about you behind your back to drive a wedge between you and those you care about or make you so paranoid about other people’s motives that you draw away from them. This gives your partner more power, especially when you believe it when he or she says, “You cannot trust anyone but me.”
A loss of independence
A partner who uses gaslighting techniques on you may seek to destroy your sense of individuality and independence by making you question your ability to reason and remember. As the gaslighting takes hold, you become less sure of your decisions and eventually look to your partner to make them for you. This gives him or her the power that gaslighting often provides.
Gaslighting is a type of domestic abuse that may occur in tandem with other types of psychological control. Unless the problem is recognized and addressed, you may experience long-term trauma as a result.