Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which your partner makes you question your own sense of reality. If your husband is engaging in this type of behavior, it's important to recognize the warning signs before the situation gets worse.
As a therapist in Denver Colorado who specializes in trauma therapy for adult women, I often hear about relationship struggles that fall under the category of "gaslighting". Though the term is relatively new, the tactics imposed to gaslight a partner is not.
It is important to understand that both males and females can gaslight each other -- this is not an issue that is only subject to male abuse. However, I find that women with histories of trauma tend to have a hard time recognizing what gaslighting actually looks like in their relationship.
Here I will discuss 10 signs of gaslighting so that you can determine whether or not your husband is engaging in this type of behavior. Knowing these warning signs can help you protect yourself and your relationship from further damage. Ultimately, I suggest speaking with a counselor in Denver or a couples counselor in Denver to understand how gaslighting is affecting your relationship and do shed some light on how to manage this tough subject with a professional.
1) He denies your reality
One of the most common signs of gaslighting is when your husband denies your reality. This means that he will deny something that happened, or he will insist that it happened differently than how you remember it. This can be anything from denying he said something to denying an event took place altogether. He might even try to make you doubt your own memory. This type of behavior is extremely damaging and can lead to feelings of insecurity and confusion.
2) He minimizes your feelings
One of the most common signs of gaslighting is when your husband tries to minimize or downplay your feelings. He might tell you that your emotions are not valid or rational, and that you shouldn’t feel the way you do. He might try to convince you that you are exaggerating, or that you should just “get over it”. He might even suggest that you are being dramatic or childish.
3) He tells you that you're wrong
One of the clearest signs that your husband is gaslighting you is when he tells you that you are wrong. This can be about anything, from small details to major issues. He might tell you that you misunderstood what he said, or that you don't remember a conversation correctly. He might even accuse you of lying or exaggerating a situation.
4) He tells you that you're crazy
Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse and one of the most common tactics used by abusers is to tell you that you're crazy. This makes it difficult for you to trust your own judgment and reality. Gaslighters use this tactic to convince you that your thoughts and feelings are wrong, invalid, or exaggerated. They might make comments such as, “That’s ridiculous,” or “You’re overreacting.” They might also use phrases such as, “You’re just imagining things,” or “You must be going crazy.”
The goal of a gaslighter is to undermine your confidence and make you question your own sanity. By constantly telling you that you're crazy, they can keep you in a state of fear and insecurity, making it easier for them to control you.
5) He tells you that you're overreacting
He might try to minimize your feelings by saying something like “it’s not that big of a deal,” or “you’re making too much out of this.” This type of behavior is meant to invalidate your emotions and make you feel like you’re being unreasonable. Your husband may even tell you that your emotions are irrational and illogical, which can make you feel like you’re losing control. It’s important to remember that your feelings are valid and should be respected, even if they don’t match your husband’s opinion
6) He twists your words
When your husband is gaslighting you, he will often take what you have said and twist it around to make it mean something else. He might even use your words against you in order to manipulate you or to try and make you feel guilty or ashamed. This can be a difficult thing to detect because often times it's done subtly and without you realizing it.
For example, if you express your feelings about an issue and your husband takes what you said and turns it into something else, he is twisting your words. He might say something like "You don't care about me at all" when what you said was actually "I'm just feeling overwhelmed right now." In this situation, your husband is taking what you said and making it mean something totally different than what you intended.
7) He makes you feel like you're the problem
One of the most damaging effects of gaslighting is that it can make you feel like you’re the problem. Your husband might be making subtle or not-so-subtle comments and statements that leave you feeling like you’re the one with the issues. He may start conversations with phrases like, “you always do this” or “you never understand.” He might make snide remarks or sarcastic comments to make you question yourself or your actions. These types of comments leave you questioning your own judgement and wondering what it is that you’re doing wrong
8) He gaslights you in public
One of the clearest signs that your husband is gaslighting you is when he does it in public. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that occurs when someone denies your reality, diminishes your feelings, and questions your sanity, all while publicly humiliating or belittling you. In situations where you're surrounded by other people, this can be especially damaging and emotionally draining.
Your husband might publicly criticize or question your decisions, blame you for things that are not your fault, or even act like nothing ever happened after having said something hurtful.
9) He threatens or intimidates you
When a husband gaslights his wife, he may resort to intimidation tactics in order to maintain control. This could include making veiled threats, such as telling you that something bad will happen if you don't do what he wants. It could also include physically intimidating behavior, such as standing too close or raising his voice. He may also use fear tactics, such as telling you that he will harm himself if you don't comply with his demands.
10) He tries to control you
When a person is gaslighting you, they will try to manipulate and control you. They may make decisions for you without consulting you or dictate what you can and cannot do. They may also expect you to agree with their opinions and choices, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. They may try to restrict your access to friends, family, or other support systems. If you find yourself in a situation where your husband is attempting to control your actions and behaviors, it may be a sign that he is gaslighting you. It is important to remember that no one has the right to control you.
Talk to A Therapist About Gaslighting Today
The best way to understand how someone is gaslighting you is to speak with a neutral third party who can help you understand what behaviors are acceptable and what aren't from a gaslighter. It is difficult in the moment to see where manipulation tactics are affecting your relationship, so speaking with a therapist in Denver can help you find resolve in your relationship.
Connected Brain Counseling specializes in gaslighting and trauma responses for adult women. We offer free 20 minute consultations to see if our team of therapists is right for you. Learn more at our website here.