Most couples have a power struggle that silently exists that they may not even know exists. Gaslighting is a technique that’s some people use in a relationship to gain power and control.
The effects of gaslighting can trash your self-worth and lower your confidence. You’ll become fully dependent on your partner to give you a sense of direction. Psychologists would refer to such a partner as a narcissist.
In this blog, you’ll learn different ways of how to stop gaslighting in a relationship. You’ll also explore signs that you are in a gaslighting relationship. Most people in relationships like this don’t realize they are in one.
Signs you are in a gaslighting relationship
A gaslighting partner may be doing it consciously or subconsciously to have the upper hand in the relationship. Signs may range in intensity but how often it occurs can give you an idea if your partner is manipulating you emotionally.
(Perhaps you’re just overthinking in your relationship. You should definitely read this article: How to stop overthinking in a relationship).
1. Your partner doesn’t take responsibility for their actions.
Most gaslighters deflect, blame you or outside forces for their action. It’s an unfair place to be because you emotionally suffer the consequences of someone else’s actions.
For example, if you are confronting your partner about something they did and they bring up something from the past to justify or make you take the blame, that’s a gaslighting partner.
2. You feel that speaking your mind will upset them.
Gaslighters like to feel like the all-powerful mighty Bruce. Speaking your mind can challenge the order of things, and that upsets them. Gaslighters thrive on fear and insecurity because that’s what maintains the power scale.
Women are very subtle with their techniques but they’ve proven to be lethal. A girl gaslighting you in a relationship might not throw tantrums when you confront her but she might punish you.
That might include withholding sex or any form of intimacy, silent treatment, or anything they think will get the work done.
3. Your feelings are ignored.
One foolproof sign that you are in a gaslighting relationship is when your feelings and concerns get easily dismissed. Narcissistic partners can be the most charming and eloquent with their words.
If your partner makes you feel like you are overthinking or you have the wrong perception each time you raise something, then you are dealing with a gaslighter.
(Ultimately it comes down to how strong your mindset is. Read this for some guidance: Mindset Coaching).
Most of the time gaslighters dismiss or ignore the feelings of their partner because they create a reality for their partner that they are okay with. It doesn’t mean that it is right though.
4. You feel like you are not doing more.
Girls can be very sneaky when they want a guy to put more effort into the relationship. Most women have the virtue of patience and that’s why girls are good at figuring guys out.
When you are in a gaslighting relationship, your partner might guilt trip you to make you feel like you are not doing enough for the relationship. However, you might be doing all the work to maintain the relationship’s existence.
(I’d advise you to work on your confidence to be able to stand up to your partner: Confidence Pillars).
Relationships have roles. And when one person is not playing their role, it creates an imbalance. One has to sacrifice to shoulder the load to keep the relationship moving.
5. You are no longer confident in yourself.
It’s emotionally draining to be in a gaslighting relationship. One of the common signs of gaslighting relationship is it strips the other person’s confidence and self-esteem.
Gaslighting partners come guns blazing to get as much power and control in the relationship as possible. That might sometimes include beating your ego as a man.
They also create an unhealthy dependency. You’ll find yourself not being able to make crucial decisions without their input.
How to stop gaslighting in a relationship
The good news is that you don’t have to break up with the girl you desire if gaslighting is the primary issue. There are ways that you can stop gaslighting in a relationship and rebuild a happy fulfilling relationship.
1) Identify and acknowledge its gaslighting.
You’ve seen the signs that will show you if you are in a gaslighting relationship. The first step is understanding that your partner is gaslighting you.
Are you happy in the relationship? It can be a question with a blurry vision because you are emotionally invested in the relationship.
Look at the relationship for what it is and not what you picture it to be or see it going. You’ll be able to notice if your partner has been gaslighting and emotionally manipulating you.
2) Collect evidence to back you.
Gaslighting partners can be very slippery when confronted about their habits. They might even make you feel crazier than before for thinking about them in that light.
Take account of your conversation and how your partner reacts to you when you tell them how you feel. When you are conscious about a situation, you get to pinpoint the little tricks that gaslighters use to gain power and control in the relationship.
Most of the time when you are interacting with a person you love, it’s hard to question their motive because of the emotional factor surrounding them. Most gaslighters embed their tricks in emotional aspects.
3) Take some time for yourself.
It can mess with your confidence and esteem more when you consciously realize that you’ve been in a gaslighting relationship all through. A series of mixed feelings towards yourself and your partner is inevitable.
Being kind to yourself can help you make better decisions moving forward. Beating yourself up for what has already happened can make you bitter or drain your confidence.
Taking time for yourself allows you to detach from the situation and have time to think straight. It also helps you to put into perspective what you desire from the relationship, and if the relationship is worth saving?
4) Talk to your partner about it.
The best approach on how to stop gaslighting in a relationship is by talking to your partner about it. It’s possible that your partner might be gaslighting you in a relationship without knowing it.
Also, most of the gaslighting partners that do it consciously depend on the aspect that you don’t get the courage and confidence to confront them. Talking to them about it can remove them from the high horse and make them reason with you fairly.
Try and remain calm when talking or calling out incidences of gaslighting. It will make the other person feel their tactics are not working anymore.
Talking to your partner is a sleek way to stop gaslighting in the relationship because it gives you a chance to set new boundaries that protect you in the relationship.
5) Trust in yourself and judgment
The power and control of a gaslighting partner lie in the doubts they create. The doubts can trigger an alternate reality about the relationship that your partner intends.
Trusting in yourself and judgment is one of the best ways to stop gaslighting in a relationship. You’ll claim your independence and freedom in the relationship by making your partner accountable for their actions.
(Here’s another incredibly useful blog article I’d recommend you read: Relationship advice for men).
For example, if she flirts with guys and says it’s friendship, show them how it looks from your perspective and theoretically reverse the roles to make her see how it would affect them.
Trusting in yourself and judgment will gradually build your confidence and self-esteem. You can bargain your worth in the relationship.
6) Get help from those you trust.
Toxicity in relationships manifests in various ways and gaslighting is one of them. Toxic relationships can leave you feeling confused and trapped.
Involving your friends or family can give you crucial support depending on how intense the gaslighting in the relationship was. Other people can give you different perspectives of how they see the situation and how to handle it.
You’ll make an informed decision about your situation when you have a wider scope of perspective. Most gaslighters in a relationship want to make you feel like it’s only them that can save or date you.
Engaging other people that are close to you help you break out. You’ll feel that you don’t need your partner as much as they made you believe and that gives you a new sense of power and control in the relationship.
7) Know when to walk away.
Knowing when to walk away from a relationship is sometimes the best choice of how to stop gaslighting in a relationship. Habits define people and sometimes trying to change someone only gets you in a vicious cycle.
You’ll be patient with your girl for her to change and she’ll look like she’s making an effort. Then Boom! She did it again. She apologizes gets your attention and you are back at it.
A relationship that’s only giving you a slice of gratification and robs you of everything else is not worth fighting for.
(If you require some further help you should almost definitely read this: How to stop thinking about your ex).
Realizing that you’ve been in a gaslighting relationship can turn the table around. You might gain the upper hand in the relationship or bargain for a fair role in the relationship.
If you’ve decided to end the relationship, take time off and work on yourself. It takes time to bring down a person’s confidence and self-esteem. It will take time to rebuild them.
It’s never your fault to love someone and use what you feel for them as a means to hold you hostage.
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Iain Myles is an internationally recognised dating coach and co-owner of the UK’s largest dating coaching company, Kamalifestyles. Iain is also an internet sensation thanks to the multiple viral videos posted through the YouTube channel KamaTV, which has grossed over 100 million views.
Iain has appeared in numerous newspaper columns and radio shows across the world. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio in the UK.