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“You’re just being too sensitive.” “I didn’t say that. Stop lying.” “It’s not a big deal. Don’t act crazy.”

 

These are phrases that you may hear if you are a victim of gaslighting.

 

According to Britannica.com, gaslighting is “an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation.” It is a form of emotional abuse that has a major effect on a victim’s mental health. This usually occurs in married or dating relationships, but it isn’t uncommon to see signs of gaslighting in friendships as well.

 

Gaslighting is common in toxic relationships and can begin with small situations. For example, a manipulator may say that their partner lied about something when the partner didn’t lie. This is a simple form of manipulation that threatens a relationship.

 

It may be hard to realize you are a victim of gaslighting. Therefore, here are some signs to look out for in your relationship:

 

  1. Not taking responsibility for their actions.

 

Unless you can decipher the truth from a lie very well, you may have a hard time seeing that your partner is lying to you. Blatantly lying to your face breaks the trust that you once had for them. By shifting the blame, the manipulator causes you to feel like you made the mistake and deserve to be blamed instead of them. A manipulative person will tend to make their partner feel crazy for the way they are feeling.

 

  1. Playing the victim.

 

Normally, manipulators like to play the victim. This means that they will act innocent when they are in fact guilty. By playing the victim, a manipulator immediately makes their partner believe they are the one who is doing something wrong instead of themselves. This forces the victim to doubt their feelings and often makes them feel insecure.

 

  1. Provoking a feeling of guilt.

 

If your partner makes you feel guilty for something you didn’t do or something you have no control over, you are being manipulated. Personally, it took me a while to realize this was happening directly to me. In my experience, the feeling of guilt was very common in my previous relationship. For not acting a certain way that pleased my partner, it seemed like it was always my fault. In reality, I was just in a manipulative and unhealthy relationship. 

 

These are just three of the many signs of manipulative behavior. It’s important to take a step back and look for these signs among your own relationship. Left unaddressed, gaslighting will ruin not only your relationship, but your mental, physical, and emotional health as well. For now, understand that your feelings are valid and you are not the cause of your partner's poor behavior.

Madi is a marketing major from Danville, Pennsylvania who intends to pursue a career in social media marketing and photography. In her free time, Madi enjoys dancing, reading, and creating art.
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