Is He Gaslighting You? Tips To Spot A Gaslighter And What To Do About It

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Relationships are hard work, even if you love and care about someone and they love you back. It still doesn’t guarantee a smooth ride. While little irritants can bother us, and everyone will get under your skin eventually there is nothing worse than being gaslit by your partner.

It’s such a huge betrayal of trust, it hurts to find out someone has lied to you. And a lot of people find they struggle to trust people again after going through that. But what exactly is gaslighting? Where did the term come from? And what does it mean? 

What is Gaslighting? 

Gaslighting is the term used when one partner is emotionally and psychologically abusing the other partner with the end goal of controlling, manipulating, and making the other partner question their perception of reality. 

Where did the term originate?

The term gaslighting comes from a play written by Patrick Hamilton called “Gaslight”. In the play, the husband slowly convinces his wife and everyone around her she was going crazy by dimming the gas lamps in their home and then denying the lighting had changed, hence the term ‘gaslighting. 

What kind of gaslighting happens in relationships?

Partners who cheat are more likely to employ this underhanded and emotionally irresponsible method, but gaslighting isn’t only reserved for cheaters. Sometimes a partner will gaslight you because they have a gambling problem and they don’t want you to find out, this is financial gaslighting. Or they are emotionally manipulative and are emotionally gaslighting you. 

Gaslighting happens in relationships for all sorts of reasons, but the main goal is to control you and make you feel like you can’t trust your memories. 

It’s a terrible feeling to realize your partner has been gaslighting you and due to the insidious nature of gaslighting it’s difficult to spot. Here are some telltale signs that point to gaslighting. 

They deny things 

You might remember very clearly that you’ve done or said something, but your partner flat out denies you ever did. You may be thinking that your partner is just quite forgetful. But if they deny your memories and not just express that they might have forgotten something, then it’s a red flag. They might be gaslighting you. 

They know and use your insecurities

If you feel like you need to go down a dress size or your nose is too big and your partner brings this up and manipulates you, using this information, that’s a sign they may be gaslighting you. 

They question your mental health

If your partner says things like ‘You’re acting crazy’ or ‘You always overreact to everything that’s a red flag. If they are constantly questioning your mental health or acting like your emotional response is out of control they could be gaslighting you.  

You start to question everything

You begin to wonder ‘is it me?’. If you’re starting to question yourself and second guess yourself it may be a sign your partner is gaslighting you. 

They make it hard to leave 

If they tell you no one will ever want you, if they are acting like you’re the problem not them – your partner might be gaslighting you. 

If you’re beginning to feel like you’re going crazy and it’s because you suspect you’re being gaslighted by your partner, consider if this is emotional or financial gaslighting. 

  • Is money going missing? 
  • Are they acting shady and throwing blame onto you? 

If you suspect your partner is either cheating or mismanaging shared funds you can find out. You can hire a licensed Private Investigator to track and investigate some of these concerns. A Private Investigator holds a state-issued license and they must complete the Certificate III in Investigative Services training.

A PI will be able to report back on the situation and give you some peace of mind if you suspect your partner is cheating, stealing, or just gaslighting you.

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