Are You Being “Gaslighted” By the Narcissist in Your Life?
7 signs that your partner is feeding your self-doubt on purpose.
The term “Gaslight” comes from the Academy Award-winning 1944 film by the same name in which a man systematically sets out to drive his wife crazy by making her doubt the reality of her own perceptions. Today that term has been expanded to describe a wider range of behaviors, in which one member of a couple tries to manipulate the other person to accept things as true that are patently false. Generally, modern-day gaslighting takes place in the context of a relationship in which one partner is manipulative, self-centered, low on empathy, and has a vested interest in always being right. This is an apt description of many people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
If you are in a relationship with someone with this disorder, there is a good chance you have experienced gaslighting yourself. If you have ever wondered why your level of self-doubt and confusion rises when you are with such a partner, here are seven questions to ask yourself that can help you determine if your mate is feeding your self-doubt on purpose.
- Do they try to persuade you to doubt the evidence of your senses and what you are thinking and feeling?
- Do they try to convince you that what you believe is wrong, and what they believe is right?
- Do they react badly if you do not accept their version of the truth?
- Are they extremely persistent and sometimes keep the argument going long after you have asked them to please drop the issue?
- Do they attempt to bully you into admitting that they are 100 percent right, and you are completely wrong?
- Are the facts always twisted so that they are the victim, and you are always at fault?
- Do they twist and turn the truth and make such long and complicated arguments to prove their points that, after a while, you become thoroughly confused?
If you find yourself answering “yes” to many of the above questions, you may be being gaslighted.
Why are you being gaslighted?
The three most common reasons are:
- Hiding. Your mate wants to hide something that he or she is doing from you.
- Change. Your mate wants to change something about you.
- Control. Your mate wants more power over you.
They will attempt to convince you to doubt any evidence that shows them in a bad light, makes them feel ashamed, or might create negative consequences for them. This can be something mild, but embarrassing (such as evidence that they have been looking at internet porn), or something more important (such as gambling debts or an affair).
A common scenario involves you finding something that puzzles you. It could be texts from a strange person on your spouse’s phone, unusual charges on your joint credit card account, or even a change in the way that he or she dresses. At first you think there must be a simple explanation, so you mention this to your spouse. Your spouse vehemently denies anything strange is going on. The response is so disproportionate to your question that it makes you more suspicious. You start to pay attention to things that you previously ignored. As the evidence that your spouse is lying starts piling up, you become more and more worried. One day, you confront him or her with the evidence. Your spouse denies the whole thing and tries to convince you that you are paranoid and imagining this because you are an insecure or jealous person.
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