When Linda got married to her longtime boyfriend Joe, she felt blessed to have him as her partner for he was so mature and successful. Everything seemed fine until Linda and Joe started having minor arguments shortly after their first wedding anniversary.
Joe started questioning Linda for her inability to drive or swim, accusing her of suffering from low confidence. Initially, Linda brushed aside these remarks for she was a self-assured woman and except for these two skills, she was pretty much an expert at things like horse riding, tennis, basketball, etc., and a high achiever in her career.
However, over a period, Linda started doubting herself, as Joe would find fault with almost everything she did. But at the same time, he would empathize with her and tell her lovingly that she was forgetting things. Linda had almost accepted that there was something seriously wrong with her when luckily her college friend visited her over a weekend while Joe was traveling. Her friend sensed that Linda was not at ease with herself. After much pestering, Linda came clean and her childhood friend soon realized what was happening. She took Linda to a counselor where she was made to realize that she was being gaslighted by her husband.
Gaslighting is a form of an emotional abuse where one partner manipulates the other in such a way that the one being gaslighted is forced to question his/her actions, reactions, memories and in extreme cases even the sanity. Gaslighting can be found in any of the relationships, however, it is the most devastating among couples.
This kind of abusive behavior is seen in people who are narcissists and demand extreme power and control. A person who is being gaslighted over a period undergoes a gradual shift in his or her personality, such as feeling anxious, loss in self-confidence, always apologizing, realizing that something is wrong but incapable to identify it, feeling isolated from friends and family. If someone gets aware of the fact that his or her partner is gaslighting them, it is important to take important steps before it is too late. Some of the important steps one can take are:
If one is alert and sufficiently self-assured, it is easy to identify the abusive patterns in a spouse or a partner. This is because the same kind of abusive pattern takes place repeatedly. After identifying the problem, one is going to be less affected by the partner’s behavior and can navigate through that time without feeling incapacitated.
A victim must understand that gaslighting is not about them; rather it is about a person who abuses to feel in control of the other person and the circumstances. The abuser generally suffers from loss of self-confidence and by being unrealistic and powerful over the partner, he or she believes to reclaim power and stature.
It is important to accept the fact that the victim cannot change the behavior of the abuser because gaslighting is the only way they are familiar with, for managing their world. One can help these people seek intensive therapy. However; one should be receptive enough to listen to the advice.
No matter how much love and affection a victim has for the abuser, gaslighting is an obnoxious trait that can hamper one’s safety and quality of life. Therefore, it is important for a victim to analyze the relationship from all angles and establish if it is worth enduring a partner’s abuse.
When one is sure that the partner is trying to gaslight him or her, it is important to feel disconnected. In addition, one must strive to nurture a strong support system, comprising people who would encourage in believing in self.
If the victim is keen on re-working on the relationship, it is important for both the partners to go for counseling. If you or someone you know is undergoing the agonies of being gaslighted or is grappling with any mental health disorder, the Arizona Mental Health Helpline can assist in finding the best mental health treatment centers in Arizona. Contact us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-606-7791 or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about the state-of-the-art residential mental health treatment centers in Arizona.