Gaslighting: The Enemy of a Healthy Relationship

“Here you go making things up again.”

“Are you sure that’s what happened?”

“It isn’t that serious.”

Abuse comes in many forms, and this is one of them. All of those lines are examples of gaslighting.

Gaslighting, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, is “emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts and sanity.

A 1938 play called “Gas Light” birthed the name for this kind of abuse. In this play, a man constantly dims the lights in his home and, when his wife points it out, he denies her claims making her believe that she is crazy.

Why would anyone do that? Convincing someone that their perception of reality is skewed makes them lose their footing. The abuser gains more power, and the victim is actually more likely to stay in the relationship.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has identified five gaslighting techniques.

  1. Withholding: the abuser pretends not to understand or completely refuses to listen.
  2. Countering: the abuser challenges or questions the memory of the victim even when their memory is correct, forcing them to reconsider.

  3. Blocking or Diverting: the abuser shifts the subject of conversation or questions them.

  4. Trivializing: the abuser makes the victim’s feelings seem meaningless or small.

  5. Forgetting/Denial: the abuser denies that something occurred and, therefore, confuses the victim or claims to “forget” commitments made to the victim.

These techniques are used in romantic relationships, friendships, with coworkers, and with family. It often leaves the victim constantly second guessing themselves or constantly confused.


Warning signs of gaslighting are available here:

Need more information? Wondering if what you’re experiencing is abuse? Want help?


You are valuable. Take care of your emotional health.