Abuse: Signs of Gaslighting in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Abuse: Signs of Gaslighting in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

By: Julia Taormina

An emotionally abusive relationship can sometimes go undetected, as there is no physical evidence of abuse. Thus, it is important to be aware of signs that can indicate you or someone you know is in an emotionally abusive relationship. One of the most unnoticed signs is gaslighting.

As defined by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “gaslighting is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power.” Gaslighting is typically gradual throughout the course of a relationship, making it easy to go unnoticed in the beginning stages. It can start out with small comments such as: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “you’re too sensitive,” and leave you questioning yourself.
Listed below are multiple gaslighting techniques an abusive partner may use:

  • Withholding: pretends not to understand or refuse to listen
  • Countering: questions the victim’s memory of events
  • Blocking / Diverting: changes the subject or questions the victim’s thoughts
  • Trivializing: makes the victim’s feelings appear unimportant

Throughout the gaslighting techniques, there is a consistent theme of an abusive partner invalidating the victim as a whole. The victim may find they are constantly second-guessing themselves, feel as if they are going crazy, constantly make excuses for their partners’ behaviors, cannot do anything right, and overall feel that something is wrong in the relationship but cannot quite put it into words. If you feel any of these may apply to your relationship, you are not alone.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/


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