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Everyone in a Relationship Should Know The Telltale Signs of This Horrible Manipulative Behavior

Relationships can be hard work but there’s a limit to the things a person is willing to take on remain stay in one. For many, cheating or physical abuse are some of the most common dealbreakers when it comes to deciding whether to break up with someone or not. However, may find it more difficult to break free from a relationship because of emotional abuse, specifically gaslighting.

Origins & Meaning

The term was reportedly derived from the title of a 1938 play and 1944 movie where a man was purposefully trying to make his wife think she’s crazy by lying to her about things

So, what is gaslighting and how does it work? Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where one person manipulates another into having doubts about their own state of mind. The situation becomes more aggravated as the victim loses confidence in themselves and ends up being more dependent on an abusive partner or spouse. In the end, it could also make it harder for the abused to leave the relationship altogether.

Meanwhile, Solace Women’s Aid’s Anat Toffell emphasizes that there is a key difference between a simple disagreement and actual gaslighting. Toffell says that the latter involves repeated attempts on the abuser’s side to imply that the other person’s perception of certain events is nonsensical or crazy when it’s not.

Recognizing the Signs

Toffell says that victims of gaslighting may feel anxious, depressed or confused but will be unable to exactly pinpoint what is causing these feelings

As damaging as it may be, gaslighting is, unfortunately, a bit difficult to identify. This is because perpetrators typically introduce the manipulative act over a period of time.

There’s also the fact that victims will be made to believe that their emotions don’t matter or that they’re just imagining or misremembering things anyway. Aside from these, people on the other end of gaslighting would find themselves second-guessing more often or constantly having to lie just to avoid getting hurtful comments.

Things can take a turn for the worst and in some cases even escalating to physical abuse. As one victim of gaslighting shares, her boyfriend would say hurtful words to her and hit her whenever she retaliated. Afterward, he would change moods and begin crying, saying how he loves her. In the end, the victim was the one who found herself needing to apologize despite the twisted reality of the situation.

Getting Out, Getting Help

Experts say that getting one’s self-confidence back is an important part of long-term recovery for survivors

People who find the above situation awfully familiar should seriously consider getting out of the abusive relationship. As Toffell recommends, victims could consult with a domestic abuse specialist to get help about how they can get out of the relationship safely. Fortunately, there are also plenty of groups and organizations that specifically cater to housing and helping victims of abuse get back on their feet.

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