“You are crazy”, “You are too sensitive”, “They are your imaginations” … These phrases are part of a pattern of psychological abuse known as gaslighting or gas light. This type of abuse is characterized by manipulating a person to the point where the victim questions her own judgment and believes she loses her sanity. This term was coined by the film adaptation of a play, the film is titled “Gaslight” and is the story of a man who tries to convince his beloved that “she is crazy” through endless emotional manipulations.
If you want to know more about the most subtle form of abuse in psychological abuse, we recommend you read this article from Bigmatrimonial in which we will talk about gaslighting or gas light according to psychology. In addition, we will show you the most common signs in which it occurs so that you can detect gaslighting.
What is gaslighting in couples: meaning and examples
We define gaslighting as a very subtle type of emotional abuse based on making the victim believe that she is not in her right mind and everything that she thinks, remembers, and perceives is within her imagination. Manipulation in gaslighting is one of its most heartbreaking features, reaching the point that the victim herself comes to question her own judgment and memories of the events.
About the movie “gas light”
As we said at the beginning of this article, the translation of gaslighting is “gaslight” and this name originates from a film adaptation of the play titled “Gas Light”. The film released in 1940 is based on the story of a man (Gregory) who tries in a subtle but deliberate way to have his wife Paula lose her mind and end up in a psychiatric hospital to steal her jewelry.
In this case, Gregory uses several methods to make his wife question his own judgment: he moves objects from the place and blames Paula for losing them, he also constantly questions everything he says and tells her that “she is crazy” and that “everything is your imagination”. In addition, the husband also exercises this mistreatment in front of his friends, contributing to the idea that they also think that Paula is crazy.
The abuse is such that Paula begins to believe that she has real problems and that her judgment is affected by her mental instability.
40 years later, in 1980, the term gaslighting was coined to refer to two phenomena within the psychological abuse in the couple:
- Those who i nconscientemente confuse your partner and unstable feed their thoughts
- Those individuals who consciously manipulate their partner in order to get something from that person.
Examples of gaslighting in couples
The article published by Kate Abramson  summarizes very well some of the examples and phrases that a person who exercises this type of psychological abuse can say:
- No paranoid seas
- They are your imaginations
- I was just kidding!
- That never happened
- I think you’re exaggerating
- I think you are not well mentally, you are not a stable person
Before commenting on the 5 signs of psychological manipulation, in Bigmatrimonial we want to remind you that it is important to reflect on the situation you are experiencing.
If you feel that your partner does not respect you, you can try talking to her about how her attitude and comments make you feel. In the case of not finding a solution and seeing that the situation remains the same, keep reading about this pattern of abuse to detect it and get out of it as soon as possible.
5 Signs of psychological manipulation
We refer to psychological mistreatment or abuse as those acts in which one person violates the mental integrity of another. On many occasions, psychological abuse is clearly expressed in the form of insults, threats, humiliation … However, there are other ways in which a very serious pattern of abuse can be observed.
How to detect gaslighting ?: 5 alarm signals
If you want to know how to identify the phenomenon of gas light or gaslighting, you should pay special attention to the signs of psychological manipulation that we offer below:
1. Deny something that you know is evident
If your partner denies an event or something he has said it may be a sign of gaslighting.
- For example , you know your partner said he did not like X film, however, this denies lying in a way shameless ” I never said that! ” Thus planting, the seeds of doubt “I will have misheard?” or “Did I make it up?” These are some of the thoughts that may appear in your head.
2. Make comments about your mental health
Especially if you have been through a mental disorder, the psychological abuser can use your past as a throwing weapon ” remember that you are not well, you have had problems and right now you are not thinking clearly “, this message may resemble what the person who exercises gaslighting on you.
- Note: It is important not to confuse someone who really wants to help you overcome a mental disorder with a psychological manipulator.
3. They try to align people against you
Sometimes the person who exercises gaslighting can go one step further and involve your social circle so that you feel isolated and really think that you have a problem.
- Some of the most common comments are ” your friends think the same as me ” or ” that person knows that you are not right “
4. If someone agrees with you “he is a liar”
Normally, a person cannot control everything that other individuals tell you, so if someone around you cares about you and tells you that your partner is manipulating you. With great certainty, said couple will deny it, destroying the credibility of your friend or family member with phrases like “don’t believe him, he’s lying to you to manipulate you.”
5. Directly tells you that you are crazy
The maximum expression of gaslighting has only two words “you are crazy“. However, after multiple manipulations, this comment may end up knocking down your mental strengths until you doubt your own mental capacity.
Gaslighting or gas light at work
This phenomenon not only occurs in the couple, in the work environment there are also cases where a coworker tries to break down the mental stability of a person through the well-known “gas light” method. The goal of this abuse is usually to get your job or to have that person leave the company.
Finally, it is important to comment that the abuse known as gas light can also occur between friends and even in the family, so we must know how to detect the alarm signals that can help us to get out of this situation.
How to get out of a situation of psychological abuse?
If you think you are suffering from gaslighting, try to seek help from people outside this emotional abuse, in this way, you will understand that your judgment is not wrong and thus regain confidence in your thoughts and ideas.
If you consider it necessary, you can also go to a therapist specialized in psychological abuse and emotional violence to help you overcome gaslighting and you can get out of a toxic relationship.
This article gaslighting relationship is merely informative, in Bigmatrimonial we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.
Eric Cameron is a passionate relationship coach and counselor with a focus on helping couples reconnect and build strong and lasting relationships. He has years of experience working with couples and helping them to understand the intricacies of healthy relationships. He also provides guidance on how to maintain a healthy relationship and deal with difficult topics. Eric’s approach is tailored specifically to the couple’s needs and he has a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon.