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,