In case you’re unfamiliar with the term or have never experienced gaslighting (lucky you), what you need to know is that it’s a manipulation tactic. Someone who is gaslighting you is intentionally trying to make you doubt yourself.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who leans on this tactic, it could take you a while to see the signs. You’ll find yourself constantly questioning your own thoughts or perspective whenever you’re in an argument until you realize that he’s the one who’s in the wrong.
He Makes You Feel That Your Emotions Aren’t Valid
“You’re being paranoid.” “Stop overreacting.” “Why are you always so dramatic?” “You have no reason to be upset.”
Any time you’re upset with him or try to bring up an issue, you get told that you’re overreacting or that you shouldn’t be upset about something. He invalidates your feelings and you’re not able to challenge him.
He Loves To Deny, Deny, Deny
Even in a situation where you know the truth or you know that you’re in the right, he’ll still deny it.
He denies ever making that rude comment about you, and when someone is adamant enough about something, it can lead you to confusion.
You’re Not Happy, But You Can’t Quite Figure Out Why
Chances are, if you’re in a relationship with someone who is gaslighting you, you’re going to feel uneasy—especially in the beginning.
Before you fully recognize the manipulation, you might feel unhappy or know that something is off but you can’t pinpoint what it is.
He Uses His Affection In Moments Of Desperation
If your relationship comes to a breaking point where you’re looking to end it or he can sense that he’s losing you, that’s when he’s going to bring out all his love and affection.
He says everything that you’ve been wanting to hear for weeks, telling you how much he needs you and loves you so that you won’t leave.
All His Arguments Are Complicated
Whenever you’re having an argument or even just a discussion about something, it always turns into some complicated version where he twists the truth.
He twists whatever you’re talking about or arguing about to fit into his version of it.
He “Forgets” That Certain Things Happened
This is especially true if the situation or thing he’s “forgotten” about doesn’t paint him in a good light.
He claims to have forgotten about that awful comment he made to you a couple of days ago, and he doesn’t remember ever getting into a big argument at your family Christmas last year.
His Actions Don’t Match His Words
If you’re starting to feel like maybe your boyfriend is manipulating you, focus on his actions.
A person who is gaslighting you is going to say one thing and do another, then you’re just expected to deal with it. Focus on their actions, because that’s where the issues come from.
He Tells Outright Lies
He chooses to lie about things even when you know the real answer. For what reason, who knows?
If he chooses to tell lies about things even when you know the truth, it leads you to question everything.
He Projects Onto You As A Distraction
For example, say you found out he was cheating on you or you suspected that he might be. When you bring it up, it somehow gets reversed and suddenly he’s calling you a cheater.
It’s a distraction technique to take the blame off of himself by flipping the accusation around.
The Blame Game
If turning the argument around on you doesn’t work, he might jump to blaming you for his actions.
Sure, he may have cheated, but you’re the one who drove him to cheat because of the way that you were behaving in the weeks before. He wouldn’t have cheated if you had been more attentive to his needs.
He Talks Trash About You To Others
To his friends, he’s already labeled you as the “crazy girl” and he’s not even subtle about it.
He tells stories about how you overreact in situations and paints you as the one who always acts badly.
He Tells You Other People Are Lying To You
Gaslighting is always going to be about making you doubt your reality.
He’s sitting there telling you that other people in your life are the liars, that they’re the ones who aren’t being honest with you, and you start to think that maybe he’s right, because why would he lie about that?
He Blames His Actions On Love
His go-to reasoning for anything is that he did it because he loves you — which isn’t actually a reason. He uses his supposed love as a way to manipulate you.
He may even genuinely believe that he did something that hurt you out of love, but it’s still not okay.
You’re Always The One Apologizing
You know by now that the only way that an argument is going to come to an end is if you apologize first, because he’s definitely not going to.
Even when you’re confident that you didn’t do something wrong, you end up saying sorry.
You’ve Started Lying To Avoid Conflict
Rather than continuing the argument or telling him something that you know is going to lead to him being upset, you choose to lie or withhold all the information.
When it reaches a point where his lies or manipulation are now causing you to lie to avoid conflict, you have to know that something isn’t right.
You Feel The Need To Consult Him About Every Decision
Maybe you’ve even reached a point in your relationship where he is your sounding board for every decision you make.
It’s probably not even because you value his opinion, so much as you want to avoid him getting upset with you for making the “wrong” decision.
You Don’t Feel You’re Good Enough For Him
In a relationship, you shouldn’t be constantly feeling like you’re not good enough for your partner or like you’re not worthy of their love.
His comments about how you’re difficult to love or how you’re not trying hard enough are all part of the game for him.
But He Also Makes You Feel Like He’s Your Only Choice
He makes comments about how you wouldn’t be able to survive without him or he says that you need him to be the one to take care of you, and you start to believe him.
When those things are all you’re hearing, it’s easy to start to think that they must be telling the truth.
He Gets Upset If You View Things Differently
In his world, all of your views need to be aligned with his, otherwise, you’re wrong.
His views about your friends, his coworkers, political views, whatever! He expects that you’ll be on the same page or he’ll be upset.
You Have To Make Excuses For His Actions And Behaviors
Whether to other people or just yourself, you’re finding that you often have to excuse his behavior or try to rationalize something that isn’t actually rational on his part.
He’s been stressed out at work, he had a bad day, he got into an argument with a friend, blah blah blah. It doesn’t mean he’s allowed to act the way he does.