6. Your arguments with him go in circles
If your fights make your head spin because of the outlandish things he says you did or his way of distorting reality — and you honestly believe him when he says it’s all your fault — watch out. It could be a sign that you’re a gaslighting victim in your relationship.
7. You make excuses for him to friends and family
If you find yourself explaining away your man’s crazy, erratic behavior on a regular basis to those closest to you and making all sorts of excuses for him, it might be a sign that there’s a much deeper problem at play.
8. You start lying to avoid the accusations and twisted talks
After a while, you get so tired of your version of events being mixed up and your reality being warped by your man that you begin lying to him to avoid the confrontations.
9. You feel hopeless and depressed in the relationship
How did it happen? You were head over heels for this guy. And now, you’re consumed by sadness and emptiness. Of course, if you’re down but aren’t seeing several other signs on the list, it might have nothing to do with your man or your relationship. But if you’re depressed and notice other red flags, you’re probably being gaslighted.
What to do if you think you’re a victim of gaslighting
If you think you’re in a relationship clouded by gaslighting, get professional help if you aren’t making any progress on your own. Another good strategy: Don’t engage with your gaslighting partner when he starts harping and pointing fingers.
“If he accuses you of something you know is ridiculous — being 20 minutes late when it’s really only three minutes, for example — not saying anything is sometimes the best response,” Stern tells Oprah magazine.
“[People being gaslighted should] opt out of the power struggles, avoid the right-wrong debates, use silence instead of commenting when someone is provoking you, and write down your verbal exchanges,” Stern adds.
How can you tell the difference between gaslighting and normal spats where you and your guy aren’t seeing eye-to-eye?
“Regular tiffs involve each partner defending their own perceptions of themselves, not giving away power or their minds in order to feel loved,” says Raymond. “That’s why they can’t ever feel close.”
You can save your relationship from gaslighting and get to a healthier place — sometimes. But it takes a lot of hard work and intensive therapy.
If the situation doesn’t turn around, be prepared to leave him. The good news is, there is hope. This isn’t a life sentence. But you have to untangle yourself from the cycle, with or without the man you fell in love with.
If you think that you might be the victim of gaslighting or any other form of emotional or physical abuse, seek professional help or call the National Domestic Violence Help Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.