Is gaslighting a form of abuse?
Spousal abuse can take on many forms, from physical violence to emotional trauma. Gaslighting is one type of abuse that many people are subject to within a relationship without even realizing it. It involves wearing down a person mentally through a combination of manipulation and lies until you’re not sure if you’re in the right or your abuser is. Because it’s so insidious, it can be difficult for many people to even recognize they’re the victim of gaslighting until it’s too late.
Continuous lying is a major component of gaslighting. Not only will lies be frequent, they’ll also be quite blatant, to the point of unbelievability. Despite this, the person will insist he is telling the truth, which creates a troubling dynamic in the relationship. You’ll never be entirely sure whether the person is telling the truth, which absolutely destroys any mutual trust you have built up.
People who gaslight are also prone to personal attacks. Look for criticisms, which are often baseless, aimed at the things you care about most. This could be your profession, your children, or even your belief system. The goal is to cause self-confidence issues, which in turn will have you calling into question many other aspects of your life.
Gaslighters will also bring others into the situation to show you that you’re wrong in your way of thinking. This is simply more manipulation, as in many cases the person mentioned has never said any statements or made any judgments about you. Gaslighting throws you off-balance and makes you question your grasp on reality. In most situations, it’s best to separate yourself from the abuser to regain a sense of self.