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7 Signs of Gaslighting: Recognize Emotionally Abusive and Manipulative People

7 Signs of Gaslighting: Recognize Emotionally Abusive and Manipulative People
Image by H. B. from Pixabay

Gaslighting is one of the worst tactics of emotional manipulation and emotional abuse, be it in relationships that you have on a personal or professional level. Mostly, in our personal relationships, gaslighting is noticed when one of the partners is a master manipulator and incorporates gaslighting as one of the numerous techniques for controlling and dominating their partner in the relationship. Often, as a result of gaslighting, the other person, who falls in this trap of gaslighting is left in a confused state, in relentless chaos and questioning their own reality.

The victim even doubts their own sanity in extreme cases of gaslighting – this is no doubt a form of emotional abuse and can cause relentless trauma for the victim, it can even last for a lifetime and cause lasting damage.

Gaslighting is one of the most common techniques that is employed by people of dictatorial frame of mind, people with a narcissistic personality disorder, and abusers, in general, who make their victims believe that they are losing their own mind and also believe that they are always right in any situation, no matter what. The sanctimonious attitude of abusers is not right in any way, and all they do is convince you that they are right and that too, in a very wrong way.

If you are in a relationship, you must make sure that it is healthy enough and that no party is abused in the relationship. In case you feel like you are being manipulated, or not treated properly, or misguided or lied to in any way, you must sit back and think things through, because more often than not we miss the warning signs of gaslighting or any other form of abuse. If you doubt whether you are being gaslighted in any way possible, this article is for you. Below mentioned are some commonly observed warning signs of gaslighting that you should know of and stay wary of.

1. They lie to your face:

They will tell blatant lies to your face, and that too keeping a straight face. Why do they do this, despite knowing for a fact that you will find out about their lies or even know about it straight away, yet doing it? This is because they are aware that this action on their part will confuse you, might even distort your reality because once you know of them as liars, it will be difficult for you to budge that image of them in your mind. Following this, you will be left questioning every move and every word of theirs, because you are not even sure which of it and how much of it is true.

2. They will deny saying or doing things:

Suppose any word or action on their part might have hurt you. They will completely deny saying or doing anything that you know for a fact that they have done, despite you countering them with substantial proof. You know the reality very well and are pretty sure of the fact that they have done those things, however, the determined and convincing manner in which they will force you to accept their reality, i.e., their outright denial of ever doing those things will make you question yours. Soon enough, you will start doubting your own reality and sanity, much to the detriment of your own mental health.

3. They will use things/people that you value to attack you:

This can be anything that important to you, be it, people that are close to you – your kids, parents, or a project that you are passionate about and undermine their value in your eyes. They will mercilessly point out the drawbacks in everything that you do, every endeavor that you undertake. They will tell that you would have been a person worthy enough of their love and attention only if you did not have all the negative points about you. They, on the other hand, refuse to accept that they have any flaw altogether, and consider themselves to be a picture-perfect human being. They want you to put them on a pedestal as well.

4. Their words and actions differ:

You see them saying something and doing something completely different altogether. You might wonder why such is the case – why do they say something and do something else? This simply means that they use words and phrases to their advantage and do not mean them at all. This is a trait that should be condemned because what the gaslighting person is simply doing here is manipulating you with their words.

5. They wear you down with time:

As time passes, you will begin to see through their lies. Or not. Usually, the gaslighters are capable of lying so convincingly that you yourself will be left in a state of chaos, rather confused because your reality gets so distorted by all the actions this manipulative persona does. With their gaslighting and tendencies of compulsive lying, they will lie to you occasionally and leave snide comments once in a while – it will be so subtle that you won’t even notice.

6. They will throw you off-balance with positive reinforcement:

This positive reinforcement on their part will be once in a while. While most of the time these people will blame you and tell you how negative and horrid you are, compliments from them, once in a while, will keep you going. You will think they genuinely mean it. Why do gaslighters pour praise occasionally? This is because they know that people are not completely stupid and need their dose of attention and optimism from time to time. They will do so and will give you a certain amount of positivity and validation from time to time so that you remain stuck in the loop.

7. They will project and blame:

These people will focus their own limitations and shortcomings on other people. If they have done something wrong, or are frequent drug or substance abusers, or are an abusive person in general, they will not stop blaming you for the same. They will uproot your complete sense of peace and stability and soon enough, you will start to see yourself through their eyes and blame yourself for lack of peace and harmony in the relationship. You will remain distracted while you desperately try to defend yourself, and this is exactly what the gaslighter aims for.

Written by Alecia Bennett

I hold a master's degree with a clinical psychology specialization. Currently pursuing school counseling courses. I have attended various programs related to mental health issues. A person who takes a keen interest in writing anything about the human mind and behavior.

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