Gaslighting in Relationships Definition (All You Need To Know)

  • By: Phil Taylor
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Gaslighting in a relationship definition is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Gaslighting can be hard to spot because it usually doesn’t happen all at once. Instead, it’s a slow process that wears you down over time. It’s also easy for outsiders who don’t know you well to dismiss your feelings as being unreasonable or not normal- especially if they don’t know about the gaslighting.

The term “gaslighting” derives from the 1944 movie “Gaslight” in which the husband attempts to make his wife appear insane so he can get her committed to a mental hospital. The husband does this in a number of ways, the main one being by controlling her environment, correcting the record, and making her question herself. The main goal is to make her think she is totally mad.

Think of gaslighting as not just about turning on the gas lights in order to create an illusion that there’s more natural light than there actually is because the actual gas lights were turned off. It’s also not just about turning on the lights in order to create an illusion it’s about controlling the light metaphorically speaking.

Gaslighting Def

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic often used in relationships in which one partner attempts to gain power over the other by making them question their reality. It usually begins with small, innocuous comments or actions that gradually escalate over time. The goal is to make the victim doubt their own memories, perceptions, and sanity. 

This can be an extremely effective tactic because it preys on our natural human tendency to second-guess ourselves. We all have moments where we question whether we really saw or heard something, and gaslighting exploits this. It’s a form of mental abuse that can be very difficult to detect and even harder to break free from. 

Here are a few red flags to watch out for when it comes to gaslighting.

Gaslighted The Biggest Red Flag.

Questioning Your Own Reality

If there was one sign you are being gaslighted, it would be to question your own reality and the true definition of gaslighting in a relationship is just that. If your partner is changing the narrative or constantly pushing or changing your perception of a situation, or continually telling you how to feel about something, or you are constantly incorrect about what you are experiencing, then this is a massive red flag you are being gaslighted.

Slight of Mouth (Understand The Tools)

Slight of mouth, which came from NLP, is the term coined by Richard Bandler. It was said that Richard Bandler would never lose an argument when using slight of mouth, making others question their own reality.

Slight Of Mouth Patterns (Have You Heard These Being Used On You)

Questioning The Source.

  • “Where did you hear that from?”
  • “Did you get that from the newspapers or make it up?”
  • “Have you ever questioned where that came from?”
  • “Who said that?”
  • “According to you?”
  • “How did you figure that out?”
  • “Did your mom tell you that?”

Questioning Your Choices.

  • “You know there is a better way to think about (insert topic) than that.”
  • “You really think that, right?”

Questioning The OutCome.

  • “If you do x then x will happen”.”
  • “If you go there then you will miss out on x”.

Questioning The Methodology.

  • “How did you figure that out?”

Questioning The Consequences.

  • “Have you ever thought about what thinking like that will lead to?”

Exaggerated Answers

  • Really over the tops answers to your questions and driving home they are right and getting you to agree.

They Lie To Your Face and Don’t Care If You Find Out.

Changing the narrative or controlling your thoughts is about lying to you to make you believe something different. It could be as simple as not giving you all the information to make you look stupid to others.

It could be hiding personal items such as phones, clothes, bags, or keys. This can be a sustained attack to make you feel like you’re going crazy.

Check out our article on how to spot a liar here.

Picking On Your Insecurities Constantly.

Gaslighting in a relationship of the defintions is constantly telling you about your weakness. An example would be “Why are you trying to make yourself look good you know you are fat and ugly”.

If you feel your partner is constantly critical of you, you are being gaslit.

They Control Who You Can See and Who You Can’t.

Another big one, if they slowly pull you away from your family and friends by blocking you or telling you you can’t go, then that’s a big sign you’re being gaslit. Some gaslighters will go as far as to move you across the state to get you isolated.

They will also cause trouble in your relationships with friends and family and make it as difficult as possible at family events. Showing up late or being rude to family members.

What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Are Being Gaslighted?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, where one individual tries to convince another person that they are going crazy or imagining things. This can happen in many different ways, but the most common is by telling the victim that what they see and experience isn’t real.

If you’re reading this, then I would suggest you already know you’re being gaslighted. This is a good thing, you’re becoming aware that what you see is correct, the reality is real and your thoughts, feelings, and overall well-being do matter. You do have a valuable option.

Fortunately, there are some ways to go from victim to survivor. Here are a few steps to put you on the right path.

  • Name the issue aloud, and hear the words that describe what you are going through.
  • Write it down. Make notes of conversations you have with the person trying to gaslight you and prove them wrong with facts and evidence that proves you are correct for your own sanity and peace of mind.
  • Change the relationship dynamic. If you can move away from that person who is trying to control you, or at least have a break from them to regroup and mentally let your hair down.
  • Plan your next move. Plan your next five moves, if I do this, what happens next, and then what. Draw out a mind map of all possibilities and you’ll find.
  • You may be wrong, and that’s okay. You can’t control everyone’s opinions, they’re just trying to dominate or control you and don’t know it.
  • Believe in yourself. Really believe you can get through this and at some point this bad situation will pass because it will.
  • Use your intuition, what does your gut instinct tell you about the person or situation? Go with your gut, if you feel unsafe, it’s there to protect you.

Questions And Answers

1. What is gaslighting in relationships? 

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which the abuser intentionally tries to make the victim question their own sanity or perception of reality. This is done by denying or contradicting the victim’s memories or experiences, making them question their own recollection of events. Sometimes gaslighting can also involve making the victim feel like they are losing their grip on reality, or that they are going insane.

2. What are some signs that you may be a victim of gaslighting? 

There are many signs that you may be a victim of gaslighting, but some of the most common ones are listed below: 

  • You question your own memory and perception of events.
  • You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior.
  • You doubt your own sanity.
  • You feel like you’re “walking on eggshells” around your partner.
  • You feel like you’re losing your grip on reality.
  • You feel isolated and alone.

3. How can gaslighting affect your relationship? 

Gaslighting can make you feel like you’re losing your grip on reality, which can lead to relationship problems.

4. What can you do if you suspect you are being gaslit by your partner? 

If you think you’re being gaslit, the first step is to talk to your partner about your concerns. If your partner is gaslighting you, they’ll probably deny your concerns or make you feel like you’re overreacting. It’s important to trust your gut in this situation and not let your partner convince you that your concerns are unfounded. If you’re still not sure, it might be helpful to talk to a therapist, who can help you figure out if you’re being gaslit and how to deal with it.

5. What is an example of gaslighting in a relationship?

One example of gaslighting in a relationship is when one partner repeatedly denies or tells the other partner that they are wrong about something they clearly remember happening, in an attempt to make them question reality and their own memory.

6. Why do men gaslight?

There is no one answer to this question as there can be many motivations behind why someone might gaslight another person. In general, gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the manipulator tries to make the victim question their own reality, memories, or perceptions in order to gain power over them. This can be done for various reasons such as to control or exploit the victim, to make them feel crazy or helpless, or to simply undermine their confidence. While gaslighting can be done by anyone to anyone, it is most commonly perpetrated by men against women in order to maintain power dynamics in relationships.

7. What to do if you’re getting gaslighted?

The first step is to identify the signs of gaslighting. These can include:

  • Your partner repeatedly denies your version of events, even though you are certain that you remember them accurately.
  • Your partner tells you that you are too sensitive, or that you are overreacting to things.
  • Your partner tries to convince you that you are crazy, or that you are imagining things.
  • Your partner gaslights you in front of other people, making you doubt your own version of events.

If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is important to reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support. You may also want to consider seeking professional help, either individually or with your partner.

8. Is Gaslighting the same as sensitivity?

No, gaslighting is not the same as sensitivity. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which the abuser deliberately tries to make the victim doubt their own sanity or perception. This can be done through things like lying, denying, contradictory statements, and gaslighting is often used as a tool of control. Sensitivity, on the other hand, is the ability to be aware of and understand the feelings of others.

9. What turns a person into a gaslighter?

There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some experts suggest that gaslighters are often people who have low self-esteem or who have been previously hurt in relationships. Others believe that gaslighting is a deliberate tactic used by some people to control or manipulate others.

10. How to use gaslighting in a relationship?

The term “gaslighting” is used to describe a form of manipulation and psychological abuse in which a person attempts to make another person question their reality, memories, and perceptions. Gaslighting can occur in personal relationships, at work, or in other contexts. 

There are several ways that a person can gaslight another person. For example, they may deny or contradict things that the other person knows to be true, make them question their own memory and perception, or try to make them feel like they are crazy or overreacting. Gaslighting can be a very effective form of manipulation, as it can cause the other person to doubt themselves and their reality. 

11. How to use gaslighting in a relationship?

There is no one answer to this question as gaslighting can take many different forms and be used for many different purposes in a relationship. However, some common ways to use gaslighting in a relationship include manipulating or lying to your partner in order to make them question their own memory, perception, or judgment; making them feel like they are always wrong or that their opinions are invalid, or constantly changing the rules or expectations in the relationship to keep them off balance. Gaslighting can be used as a way to control, undermine, or intimidate your partner, and it can be a very effective tool in maintaining power and control in a relationship.

12. Is gaslighting the same as narcissism?

Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse in which the abuser deliberately tries to make their victim question their own sanity. Narcissism, on the other hand, is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. While gaslighting can be a symptom of narcissism, the two are not the same.

13. What are the best gaslighting questions?

There is no set answer to this question as it can vary depending on the situation and the person you are gaslighting. However, some possible gaslighting questions include:

  • Why can’t you just be happy with what you have?
  • Do you really need to [insert activity here]?
  • Don’t you think you’re being a bit too [insert emotion here]?
  • Can’t you just let it go? 

14. Is slight of mouth the same as gaslighting?

No, slight of mouth is not the same as gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person sought to sow doubt in another person, making them question their own memories, perceptions, or sanity.

15. What is slight of mouth?

Slight of mouth is a technique often used by NLP practitioners to win arguments or question the narrative. It is a form of misdirection that uses body language and verbal cues to direct the audience’s attention away from what is really happening.

16. What does questioning the source mean in gaslighting?

In gaslighting, questioning the source refers to the act of causing someone to doubt their own memories, perceptions, or reality. This can be done through manipulation, such as lying, denying, or contradicting what the other person remembers. Gaslighting can be a very effective way to control and manipulate someone, as it can make them question their own reality and what they know to be true.

Summary

If you’re in a relationship and you’re feeling like you’re being gaslighted, it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to a friend or family member who can offer support, and consider seeking professional help if the problem is severe. Remember, you are not alone and gaslighting is never your fault. If you found this article interesting, please check out our other articles on persuasion tools and techniques here.