12 Signs Of Gaslighting In A Relationship And How To Shut It Down

If you don’t know what gaslighting is, you definitely need to read this entire article. Gaslighting is when someone emotionally manipulates you into thinking that you’re in the wrong or that your way of thinking is crazy or irrational. It’s, unfortunately, a very common tactic used in toxic relationships and one that you need to definitely be on the lookout for in yours. Here are some signs that you’re being gaslit in your relationship and that you need to get out as fast as you can.

  1. You’re made to feel like your feelings are unimportant. If your partner makes you feel as if your feelings in any given situation don’t matter or are unworthy of being acknowledged, that is one of the most common signs of gaslighting. No matter what your partner says to you, your feelings have worth and should be taken seriously. If they tell you that what you feel is irrelevant in the situation, you should consider if this relationship is something you want to continue.
  2. They tell you that you’re overreacting constantly. Another form of gaslighting is if your partner lets you express your feelings then promptly tells you that you’re overreacting or being too sensitive. This is a way for them to manipulate your thoughts and make you feel as if you don’t have a right to feel the way that you feel. That is never okay in any circumstance. This is one of the biggest and most insidious signs of gaslighting.
  3. They talk over you constantly. If during a discussion or argument your partner is constantly talking over you or interrupting you while you’re trying to speak your mind, this is another way for them to make you feel as if what you have to say doesn’t matter and isn’t important.
  4. You withhold your emotions because you’re afraid of being ridiculed. If at any point you avoid voicing how you’re feeling because you’re either afraid of your partner ridiculing or demeaning you or you just don’t say how you’re feeling because you already know that you’re going to get a less than ideal reaction, that is one of the biggest signs of gaslighting. Your partner should never make you feel as if your feelings don’t matter and if they do to the point where you don’t speak them out loud, that is completely unacceptable.
  5. You start doubting your own feelings. Often in gaslighting situations, your partner will make you feel as if you’re in the wrong or that your emotions are abnormal or irrational. If you find yourself doubting how you feel in a given situation, even if you feel quite strongly about it, your partner has definitely been gaslighting you.
  6. You automatically take the blame in arguments. If you start automatically taking the blame in any and all arguments with your partner simply because you know that they will never see your side of an argument, that is a sign that you’ve been gaslit to the point where you just give in and don’t even have the opportunity to speak up for what you want.
  7. You apologize constantly and unnecessarily. Constant apologizing even when you know that you haven’t done anything to be sorry for is a big red flag that you’ve been gaslit for some time and now your automatic default reaction is to apologize for something you haven’t done or something that you shouldn’t have to apologize for. Healthy relationships consist of both people admitting fault when it’s due and apologizing when they need to. If only one person is taking the blame for every negative situation you face together, there isn’t a healthy balance within your relationship and you’ll never find harmony together.
  8. They patronize you or make you feel stupid. There is never an excuse for your partner to treat you as if your opinions or feelings are wrong or stupid. A big form of gaslighting is when someone will make fun of or straight up deny your opinions to the point where you feel as if your responses are unintelligent. Another gaslighting technique that your partner might use is to make you feel as if you don’t know what you’re talking about which could cause you to refrain from voicing your opinions.
  9. They refuse to apologize. If your partner refuses to apologize to you even when they are clearly the one in the wrong, not only is that completely unfair and wrong but it’s another form of gaslighting. It’s almost as if they want you to be the one to say that you’re sorry just to end an argument even if you have nothing to be sorry for. It’s wrong and should never be tolerated.
  10. You feel like you’re the one who also compromises for them. If you feel like you’re the one who is always being flexible and making compromises to make them happy, that’s an example of the effects of gaslighting. Partners who gaslight wear you down so much with their incessant arguing and refusal to be reasonable that your automatic response might be to do whatever will make them happy and avoid a fight. Of all the signs of gaslighting, this is a big one to keep an eye out for.
  11. They dredge up your past and use it against you. Another tactic in gaslighting is when your partner uses your past against you. If you have a checkered past or if you’ve done something before that you’re not proud of, something that you’ve learned from and moved on from, your partner shouldn’t be bringing it up and using it to hurt you or to get what they want from you. If they do things of this nature, not only is it gaslighting but it’s just cruel and unloving. A good partner won’t hold your past mistakes against you just like you won’t hold anything against them.
  12. You feel guilty for standing up for yourselfOne of the biggest forms of gaslighting to be on the lookout for is a feeling that you might be left with where you feel guilty for standing up for yourself and speaking your mind. Intimidation is a form of abuse and if your partner gaslights you to the point where you feel like you’ve done something horribly wrong by just standing up to them and telling them that you’re not going to tolerate their behavior anymore. If your partner makes you feel this way or any of the other above-mentioned ways, they are not a loving partner and you should walk away and find someone who doesn’t gaslight.

The signs of gaslighting aren’t always easy to spot, but if you notice them, it’s important to stop them in their tracks immediately.

Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.