How to know if you’re being gaslighted…

In 2012 I met a guy.  After 5 years of being single, I fell head over heels in love with him.  He was handsome, intelligent, funny, kind and driven and everything I wanted in a guy.  I thought he was the one.

Fast forward six months and two break ups later, I was depressed.  I hated myself.  I thought I was worthless, ugly, unloveable and I felt like a psychopath of a (now ex) girlfriend.  It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I realised what this guy had done to me.  He had gaslighted until I was a shell of myself.

It took me a really long time to lift myself back up again from this (read: countless self help books, hours and hours of crying to my mum and months of listening to Little Mix’s ‘Wings’ on repeat).  I wouldn’t wish being gaslighted on anybody and I would like to use my online voice and the following I have, to tell my story along with the signs to look out for to help some of you potentially in the same situation.

Before I get into my scenarios you should look out for, I want to highlight the definition of gaslighting “to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity”.


You’ll know if you’re being gaslighted if..

1) You’re being very obviously lied to.  Their lies are so blatantly false yet they convince you that they’re right and what you think is wrong.  Even something simple like you calling them out on something they said a minute ago, for them then to say ‘I didn’t say that, you’re imagining things’.  This is one of the biggest signs of being gaslighted and can lead to many other ways of them dragging you down.  Even if you have proof, they’ll still lie about it.

2) They tell you that you’re crazy / overreacting / hearing things.  This one got me the most – they turn it around so that you’re the one with the issue and eventually leave you doubting yourself.

3) They make you feel like your issues aren’t important.  Another one which personally really upset me in past relationships was they’d turn it around and make me feel like my opinions weren’t important or worth it enough, for example “why are you getting upset over something so little?” or “are you seriously going to argue because of something so stupid?” or “what’s wrong with you?”.  In my head, these issues weren’t little or stupid and that made me question my sensitivity.


4) They wear you down until you believe your always wrong and what they say goes.  So much so that you constantly start questioning yourself, replaying situations in your head and ultimately believing that what they say is always right.

5) They play the victim to turn the situation around so it isn’t about your upset anymore, it’s how it makes them feel.

6) They are masters of manipulation and deceit.

7) Conversations and arguments go no where and never reach a conclusion.  They seem to go round and round until you are emotionally exhausted and your partner keeps repeating the same things without actually listening to what you’re saying.

8) You’re made to feel overly sensitive and find yourself apologising to them (and other’s) when you have no reason to.  You question your sensitivity and reactions multiple times a day and believe you’re just over-reacting.

I was gaslighted again in my most recent relationship and I’m angry at myself for not realising the signs earlier.   So girls, if any of these things sound familiar in your relationship, know that you deserve better.

Lots of love,

Katie. xxxxx


These pictures were taken by the wonderful Ashanti, you can follow her and see more of her work here @Adorngirl


  1. March 6, 2018 / 6:33 pm

    Katie, thank you for this post. This was so eye-opening and a wonderful read. I recently got dumped completely out of the blue after over a year of what you described above. It hurt and it still does but I’m mostly just angry at myself now for letting so many awful things happen. I’ve realised so many things since we broke up. I know now that I deserve better – you’ve reaffirmed it. Thank you for your honesty, you’re incredible. Keep up the hard work. X

  2. Nicola
    March 6, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    I can’t believe how real this is to me, I didn’t even know there was a name for it.

    I had a relationship like this with someone for 2 and a half years and it ended by them literally ghosting me, like one day I just never heard from them again.

    My confidence and sense of self is just a shell of what it was now, yet you can’t help but blame yourself and then feel like you’re the crazy one for being so affected.

    Seeing that it’s a real thing makes me feel a bit reassured. Thank you for sharing

  3. March 6, 2018 / 8:08 pm

    So many people throw the term “gaslight” around nowadays which is fine, but I wish more people would actually watch the classic Hollywood film that introduced the term to the world. It’s called GASLIGHT and it was released in 1944, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. Fantastic, creepy, unsettling film – you should definitely check it out!

  4. March 6, 2018 / 8:09 pm

    This is such an important issue and I commend you for speaking out about it. Young women in particular are told that they must spend a relationship shaping themselves into the person their partner wants them to be. This is cultural bullshit but if you fall into the path of gaslighter it can be SO harmful, because nothing you do is right, every attempt you make to give them what they want is wrong, and in the end you strip away everything about yourself trying to meet that person’s desires.

    I just want to say to anyone reading this post and going “Oh god this is me”, we’ve all been there. SO many people find themselves in these relationships and you are not weak, or wrong, you’re just a person.

    I’d like to recommend a site called which is a fantastic resource for people who are dealing with unhealthy relationship dynamics of all kinds. Also Captain Awkward – is a good place to see other people struggling with difficult relationships getting a loving and no-nonsense peptalk by an awesome lady and a host of commenters. It’s a great space for feeling like you aren’t the only one going through shit.

    (ps Katie I hope you don’t mind me sharing other links here, I just know a lot of people would benefit from knowing there are resources out there 🙂 )

  5. March 6, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Completely know where you are coming from. That was my ex husband and I stayed so long because I had convinced myself, that it must have been me. Brilliant post let’s hope it saves someone some uneccessary heartache

  6. March 6, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    This has happened to me and didn’t even realise it until now, thank you for opening my eyes x

  7. March 6, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this term before but I had no idea it was like this. I’m so sorry you were treated like this Katie. You’ve always seemed so positive it’s amazinf what the internet doesn’t show. I’m so glad you’re in a better place now and recognise the pain behind it. You deserve so much better and one day someone will show you what a real love is. Love comes knocking when you least expect it, cliche but true. I hope no one ever treats you this way again. I hope it helps some others to recognise the signs too!

  8. March 12, 2018 / 8:46 am

    I have never heard of this word so I have to google it a bit. You are so gorgeous, you deserve every good thing.

  9. Sophie
    March 19, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    Great post, thank you Katie.

  10. Liz
    May 23, 2018 / 11:35 am

    Hi Katie ,
    I understand how quickly you can become a shell of yourself ! Gaslighting is a common behavior of narcissists , goodness knows they will NEVER be at fault and not will they change. I have finally walked away from 29 years of head shaking and it must be me. I am glad to see that you are healing as well. Keep your feet on the ground and keep walking …

  11. June 12, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    I had this with my ex quite recently. You know at the time that you’re acting entirely normal in a situation – the way anyone would – but they somehow turn it around on you and make you question yourself. Eventually they become the victim and it’s so hard to climb out of the cycle of believing it’s you and you should be the one to apologize/chase when in reality they were the one that upset you in the first place.

  12. Jen
    June 22, 2018 / 7:24 am

    Katie, thank you so much for putting exactly into words what has happened to myself and so many others. For a long time I was really confused at what had happened and like your list of traits states blamed myself and my own insanity. I feel so much better reading this post and finally be able to relate and see “gaslighting” put into words so I can begin to describe to others how terrible it is. Xxxx

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