When you’ve lived with someone for a long time, you may begin to take behaviors and habits at face value. You may not even pay heed to the things they say to you, since you don’t assume they could mean something sinister. A slight remark or inquisitive question may not seem like a big deal once in a while, but noticing a pattern in your partner’s behavior can open Pandora’s Box for you.
It’s only when you begin to pick up on these comments and behaviors that you can see the hidden motive behind them.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a common tactic used in relationships. This manipulative behavior is primarily used as a means to gain power and establish your control. An expert gaslighter will be able to plant the seeds of self-doubt and skepticism about your own behaviors, words, thoughts, and feelings in a way you may not even notice.
This is a common tactic used by narcissistic individuals in relationships to regain their hold and ensure they’re always one step ahead of their partner. When you begin to question your own self due to the suggestion of your partner, you become vulnerable to a host of problems.
Gaslighting is commonly thought of as a form of abuse. When your partner makes you second-guess your intentions and convince you that you meant or did something you didn’t, you’re open to any suggestion they put in your head. This is what narcissists and abusers use to establish their power, allowing them to do whatever they please in a relationship as long as their spouse is stuck in their web of manipulation.
How do you know you’re being gaslighted?
A narcissistic spouse’s gaslighting behavior can put a strain on your relationship. If you haven’t yet realized you’re being manipulated, you may be convinced that you’re the cause of your relationship woes and may face an increasing amount of guilt as a result.
Some of the tactics used are:
This is the first step in manipulation. You trust your memory and know what they said or did, but your partner will vehemently deny all allegations. Gaslighters will often deny your knowledge outright to the point that you begin to question it yourself.
Lying is a gateway to denial; when your partner denies their actions or words, they usually follow it up with an elaborate story to replace the facts. No matter how much you deny their claims, you’ll start to question your own memory at some point.
If the gaslighting of your narcissistic partner continues, you may consider getting professional help. Here at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling, you can receive the help of a trained expert to address your problems.
Book an appointment with Azizeh E. Rezaiyan, an English and Farsi speaking psychotherapist in the Bay Area, can provide marriage counseling and can assist in improving the communication between you and your spouse.