The term “Gaslight” comes from the Academy Award-winning 1944 film by the same name in which a man systematically sets out to drive his wife crazy by making her doubt the reality of her own perceptions. Today that term has been expanded to describe a wider range of behaviors, in which one member of a couple tries to manipulate the other person to accept things as true that are patently false. They can look you in the eye with such conviction that you can be left doubting what is real and what is fantasy. Modern-day gaslighting takes place in the context of a relationship in which one partner is manipulative, self-centered, low on empathy, and has a vested interest in always being right. This is an apt description of many people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If you are in or have been in a relationship with a narcissist, there is a high probability you have been gaslighted. When I came out of my marriage in 2010, I did not realise I had been gaslighted as did not even realise there was a term for what I had been subjected to and the feelings I had experienced. Many times in my marriage, I was left questioning my own sanity as my whole being was telling my brain that what I was being told was a lie, BUT my husband, the man I had married and had children with was looking me straight in the eye saying something else and making me question my sanity and belief systems.

These 7 points as seen in Psychology Today can help you see if you have ever been subjected to gaslighting in your relationship.

  1. Do they try to persuade you to doubt the evidence of your senses and what you are thinking and feeling?
  2. Do they try to convince you that what you believe is wrong, and what they believe is right?
  3. Do they react badly if you do not accept their version of the truth?
  4. Are they extremely persistent and sometimes keep the argument going long after you have asked them to please drop the issue?
  5. Do they attempt to bully you into admitting that they are 100 percent right, and you are completely wrong?
  6. Are the facts always twisted so that they are the victim, and you are always at fault?
  7. Do they twist and turn the truth and make such long and complicated arguments to prove their points that, after a while, you become thoroughly confused?

If you find yourself reading the above and saying “yes” in response, you have been gaslighted in your relationship and this is a clear sign that you are being manipulated and is a form of emotional abuse. A person will gaslight you because they always believe they are right and want to control a situation and your thoughts around it. By them gaslighting you, they are trying to change you and how you behave and this will consistently chip away at your condifence in yourself and your thought process often leaving you feeling weak, unsettled and questioning whether you are going crazy!

Gaslighting can happen very gradually in a realtionship and you can often find yourself making excuses for your partner which makes it a highly effective form of emotional abuse. You are constantly second guessing yuorself and asking yourself “Am I too sensitive”? Which if ou are an empath, you will believe that it is you over reacting which is why those with NPD target empaths a s they will put up with far more thatn the average person becasue they want to “help” and “fix” their partner as can feel pain from them maybe from a dysfunctional childhood.

Overtime you will start to withhold information from friends and family so that you don’t need to keep making excuses which you yourself are questioning too. You start to question simple decisions and your self esteem and confidence starts to diminish and you rae left feeling a shell of who you were at the start of your relationship but you start to believe that it is your fault and that you can’t do anything right.

Narcissists are masters of manipulation and even the most confident person can be gaslighted over a period of time until they almost become unrecognisable. I know at the end ogf my marriage, I was unrecognisable as I was once an ambitious, confident woman and I had become a scared, unconfident woman who did not even want to look int he mirror as I was left questioning myself and was it my fault and just did not feel good enough.

When I had therapy and was diagnosed with PTSD, I had no idea that I had been the victim of gaslighting on a huge scale. I even remember saying to my therapist, “are you sure? Was he not just telling me a few lies liek what happens in a relationship?” Even at that point as I explained lie after lie after lie and all those days and nights that I had been left questioning myself, I had just thought this was “normal” in our relationship and what most couples went through.

This was the manipulation, this was the emotional abuse. This was the slowly chipping away over years of a persons’ sense of being and worth. None of this was normal and I had been gaslighted and left a complete shell of who I was. I am a highly sensitive empath and have always been a very high achiever which made me question myself even more because I believed that as an intelligent woman, surely I would recognise all of this BUT a narcissist is a master manipulator and this does not happen overnight but over years and years. I woeked on myself to build myself back up and now help others do the same to recognise what has happened to them and buld them back up and what red flags to look for in future relationships.

If you believe you have been the victim of gaslighting, please get in touch so I can help you or point you in the right direction of where to get help. On Sunday 30th September at 8pm on my business page on Facebook, my regular weekly divorce recovery live at 8pm will be discussing this subject that is very close to my heart.

If you are not already in my PRIVATE support group on Facebook, please click on link and come and join nearly 3000 others taking back their power in ther divorce or breakup to keep moving forward and not stay stuck.

Your friend and coach

Caroline x