Not all forms of domestic violence are physical. A spouse who gaslights you may never strike you or raise a hand against you. Instead, he or she takes away your sense of self and your autonomy by making you question your own reality.
According to Psychology Today, the goal of a gaslighting spouse is to exert control over you and make you totally dependent upon him or her. Therefore, getting out of a relationship with a gaslighter can be extremely difficult. The first step is recognizing the signs that your spouse is trying to manipulate you.
1. Acting dismissive toward you
You know that something is wrong in your relationship, and you express your concerns to your spouse. He or she does not take you seriously, acting as though it is no big deal or telling you that your worries are all in your head.
If people around you express concern, the gaslighter will also dismiss them, telling the others that you are often in a state of confusion.
2. Arraying other people against you
If your spouse succeeds in convincing people around you that you are unstable, he or she can then use their opinions as ammunition against you. However, a gaslighter does not have to convince other people that you are crazy. He or she may just tell you that the other people said those things about you and isolate you from them so that you cannot confirm.
Another tactic that gaslighters use is to tell you that “everybody” says or thinks such-and-such about you. Not naming names makes it harder for you to confirm or refute the claim.
3. Projecting his or her failings onto you
The things a gaslighter criticizes you for may not be things you have said or done at all. They may be qualities of the gaslighter that he or she feels shame over. Rather than dealing with them himself or herself, he or she uses them to attack you.
These are only a few warning signs that your spouse is gaslighting you. There are at least 11 of these red flags. If you think you are the victim of gaslighting, talk to someone you trust outside your relationship to get an objective opinion and for help getting away from your spouse.