sad spouse

In today’s world, many people find themselves unsatisfied with their marital relationships. If this is the case for you, now is the time to examine why your union has become unsavory. In many cases, people begin to suspect that the culprit for a substandard or abusive marriage is emotional abuse. One of the most common forms of emotional abuse is gaslighting.

First Things First: What Is Gaslighting?

Although defined broadly, gaslighting is basically a psychological tactic in which an individual gains power over another individual by causing them to question their reality. Imagine you are home and you smell natural gas. You tell your partner “ Hey, I think there is a gas leak”. They respond saying it’s all in your head even if it’s harming you. That’s gaslighting, but in emotional terms. They know there is a gas leak and you suffer Gaslighting is a tactic deployed by all types of people, including politicians and cult leaders. An individual’s spouse may also be guilty of gaslighting them. Because gaslighting can lead to emotional issues such as depression, mental instability, and low-self-esteem, it is oftentimes categorized as a form of emotional abuse. Read on to learn about three signs which may indicate that your spouse is gaslighting you:

They Slowly Wear You Down

In many cases, gaslighting is effective because it is a process that takes place over time. Rather than hurling vicious verbal assaults at their spouse every single day, many abusers gradually plant the seeds of self-doubt by submitting one discouraging comment here and a lie there. Over the course of time, the snide, deceptive, or subtly malicious comments begin to erode the victim’s confidence and ability to believe in her or his experience and interpretation of reality. When you bring up issues with your partner they play stupid, they rebuttal with you imagining things, they pretend it’s not a big deal so you deal with it over and over again. This is not healthy.

They Project

Oftentimes, gaslighters constantly accuse their victims of the behaviors they’re engaging in. For example, if the abuser is a cheater, he may constantly accuse you of maintaining a romantic or sexual relationship with another individual. When this type of behavior takes place on a regular basis, the victim is so preoccupied with creating a defense that she is distracted from the important process of accurately observing and analyzing the gaslighter’s unsavory behavior.

They Add Positive Reinforcement to Confuse You

One final strategy that your spouse is gaslighting you pertains to them adding positive reinforcement to confuse you. Oftentimes, individuals who are continually subjected to negative comments and various other forms of verbal abuse pick up on the fact that they are being attacked. Yet if the negative comments are constantly mixed in with periodic praise or words of affirmation, the victim might begin to doubt that she is truly being subjected to gaslighting. Remember that gaslighting is oftentimes more effective when it is tempered by words of praise because the victim thinks that she is still loved and therefore not the victim of abuse.

While healthy marital relations can be the highlight of a person’s life, unhealthy interactions can lead to a wide range of demotivating, degenerative outcomes. In recognizing this reality, it’s important for married couples to think critically about whether their interactions with their spouse are truly positive, productive, and progressive. To ensure that you are not being subjected to gaslighting by your spouse talk to a mental health professional and a divorce lawyer
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Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.