It’s virtually impossible for anyone to comprehend why abused women stay in their relationships unless they themselves have been the victim in an abusive relationship. However, some of the reasons are definitely related to gaslighting, and in many cases the women are not capable realizing that they are being manipulated or terrorized. What’s more, abusive relationships often involve much more than just physical abuse (or no physical abuse at all); gaslighting is one of the worst forms of emotional abuse.
Surprisingly—and unfortunately—gaslighting is quite common, but it is not often spoken about in part due to its deceptive nature. Additionally, it is very difficult to tell for sure whether you are being gaslighted yourself, so it would be even more unlikely that another human being could believe or be sure that it is occurring to you. Please continue reading so you’ll be more capable of identifying when gaslighting is being employed on someone else—or yourself.
#1: The victim usually doesn’t know they are being gaslighted.
Gaslighting involves psychological abuse and manipulation, and it has the potential to destroy the victim’s self-esteem, sense of emotional reality, and sense of perception in general. More specifically, the victim is led to believe that everything that ever goes wrong in a relationship is their fault. The effects can be so significant that victims will genuinely begin to doubt their own memories, behaviours, and sanities.
#2: One sign is a decrease in self-esteem.
For example, the victim might be told repeatedly that they overthink things and overreact to things, and even that they have emotional problems that may require medication. However, these comments can be made so casually or slyly that the victim will believe them—and could become overwhelmed.
#3: Another sign is manipulation by way of insecurities.
Once these negative thoughts and characteristics are swirling around in the victim’s mind, they will be used as past examples to prove present insanity. And even if the victim questions the assertions, they can still eventually be swayed by accusations of being a delusional failure.
#4: Another sign is evident when reality becomes genuinely uncertain.
After years of being abused in this fashion, the victim will truly doubt the realness of reality, and they will even doubt whether they can be a functioning human being in the reality that remains. As a result of this, the victim usually ends up hating themselves instead of their abuser.
#5: A surprising—and alarming—sign is when the victim loves the abuser despite abuse.
This means that emotional abuse has been normalized, that the victim has become desensitized to it, and that it is likely to continue indefinitely unless someone outside the relationship intervenes.
#6: Another shocking sign is when the victim actually empathizes or sympathizes with the abuser.
This often happens when the victim is an empath, and it’s particularly dangerous because it means that even though the victim is aware of the abuse, they have accepted it entirely—so it is likely to continue for the rest of their life.
#7: Another sign is a cyclical pattern which keeps the victim trapped.
For example, if the victim finally decides to tell the abuser that the relationship is over, the abuser will sometimes change his behaviour in extremely positive manners in order to convince the victim to change their mind. Unfortunately, this technique is often effective over and over again.
#8: Another sign is that the victim reminisces about past positive times and convinces themselves that the present negative times will eventually becomes positive once again.
What’s more, oftentimes it doesn’t even matter if the abuser changes his behaviour from time to time or not—which is a particularly scary situation. However, it’s important to remember this information so you can realize that the best way to help someone who is being gaslighted is to reason with their friends, family members, loved ones, and possibly even the police. As can be seen, trying to reason with victims directly is frequently inefficient and ineffective (due to no fault of their own).
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.