Signs you’re a victim of ‘Gaslighting’

Are you a victim of ‘Gaslighting’?

“A lie repeated long enough eventually can be seen as the truth”.

As Private Investigators in Melbourne we regularly deal with cases involving difficult relationship issues.  A common tactic used by the other party when we speak with potential clients during our initial consultations is a term known as ‘Gaslighting’.

Are you a victim of Gaslighting?

So what exactly is Gaslighting?  The term, with origins from the 1938 movie “Gaslight”, is best described as the increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to the victim. This in turn causes the victim to become anxious, confused, paranoid and more importantly less able to trust their own memory and perception.

The most common example we hear from our client’s is when they are told by their loved ones that they said or did something that never really happened.

For example.  You may have seen an email or message on your partners phone/computer confirming infidelity.  If your partner is able to convince you that you never saw it and it was all in your head, you may be a victim of Gaslighting.

It may be your partner comes home late (due to deceptive reasons) and they convince you they told you last week they had a planned meeting after work.  Despite knowing for a fact this conversation never occurred, you start to second guess yourself and slowly start to think it must have happened and it was your fault you forgot.

It’s not only spouses who regularly use this tactic.  You may also find yourself a victim of workplace bully or sexual harassment where a colleague or even your boss uses gaslighting techniques against you.

Gaslighting can be a difficult tactic to spot as it makes the victim constantly second guess themselves.

Ultimately, Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and can have devastating effects on your ability to make judgments.  It typically causes the victim to constantly second guess themselves and leaves them vulnerable and a meek version of their true self.

What Are Some common signs of Gaslighting?

According to Robin Stern, the author of ‘The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life ’ and article, ‘Are you being gaslighted’, she outlines the following common signs which may indicate you’re a victim of gaslighting:

  1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
  2. You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day.
  3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
  4. You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend, boss.
  5. You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
  6. You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
  7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.
  8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
  9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
  10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
  11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
  12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
  13. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
  14. You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
  15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.

What isn’t gaslighting

It’s important to understand we are only human and just because your partner may have incorrectly remembered details of an argument or event it doesn’t necessarily mean they are intentionally trying to gaslight you.

The difficulty with identifying true Gaslighting situations is that couples may innocently have a different perception of the world around them.

However, if you’re being manipulated into agreeing with your partners point of view or you identify with several of the above common signs, this may indicate you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. If you feel like you’re being gaslighted in a relationship, it’s important to seek help.

If you feel a private investigator may add value to confirming Gaslighting, please book a consultation with one of our investigators to discuss your situation further. 

1 thought on “Signs you’re a victim of ‘Gaslighting’

  1. Jade Reply

    My ex did exactly what was said. I found an email on his computer from his mistress and obviously intuitively I forwarded the email to my Sister. For several reasons at the time I decided not to mention what I had seen and chose to ignore it. Anyways sure enough six months later the relationship really took a turn for the worse and in anger I confronted him about the email. he denied it of course and started planting ideas in my head that I had only seen this email in a dream and the day I had apparently dreamed it all up I had told my husband in bed that morning about a crazy nightmare i had. he really worked on me and i admit I ended up believing i must have just dreamed it all up. until of course when i saw my sister next and she asked me about the email i had forwarded to her! i dont even know why i sent it to her – we dont have the best relationship but this confirmed everything for me. i now know this is what gaslighting is and to be honest i really dont think its possible to realise youre being gaslighted until youre out of the relationship.

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