Stop Doubting Yourself — Is There Gaslighting In Your Romantic Relationship?

Gaslighting is a term you may have heard recently on social media regarding political arguments between users. Gaslighting is a term used to describe behavior that causes the person you are speaking with to doubt themselves. For example, a gaslighter will say something to instigate a defensive reaction from someone then act like the person was off their rocker for being so defensive, thus attempting to make the person doubt themselves. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. Here's what you need to know. 

What Is Gaslighting in a Romantic Relationship? 

While it's fairly easy to spot gaslighting between strangers on social media, it's not as easy to spot gaslighting in romantic relationships in the real world where gaslighting is often slow and drawn-out and not as noticeable to victims and their friends and family. The ultimate goal of gaslighting is to try to get a person's partner to feel that they are dependent on the gaslighter by making the victim second guess themselves on everything in their lives. Eventually, the victim feels as if they have no choice but to stay with the abuser because, in their minds, they believe things like they will never accomplish anything, they always make poor decisions, or they cannot do anything right. 

What Causes Someone to Gaslight in a Relationship? 

Sometimes, people aren't aware that they are gaslighting until they take a close, long look at themselves and their behavior. However, more often, gaslighting is a sign of a personality disorder or other mental health condition. A few mental health issues that can result in gaslighting behaviors include narcissism, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and relationship obsessive compulsive disorder. If you know your partner has been diagnosed with any of those mental health disorders, it's a good idea to assume that they gaslight you when disagreements or arguments erupt, of course, but also when you start to doubt yourself, especially to the point that you are suffering from depression, anxiety, self-harm, or suicidal ideation. 

What Is the Treatment for Gaslighting in Relationships? 

Gaslighting can be treated effectively, but only with a proper diagnosis of any and all mental health conditions and a willingness for the behavior to be corrected. This also holds true for victims of gaslighting who have suffered emotionally and mentally from the abuse. As far as the relationship itself goes, staying together with someone who has the propensity to abuse you is a difficult decision that should not be taken lightly; however, marital or couple counseling may be helpful in mending the ties that bound you together. 

Look into resources like those from Supportiv to learn more.