What Does Gaslighting Mean In A Relationship? Signs, Signals & What To Do


Experts say, a relationship has multiple sides and angles to it, both positive and negative. Some are visible and some may be hidden which can keep your relationship from growing healthy. This brings us to a question. Have you ever heard the word gaslighting? Do you have any idea what does gaslighting mean

The term might be new to you, but there are chances you could be one of its victims. Allow us to enlighten you about gaslighting in relationships.

What does Gaslighting Mean in a Relationship?

Definition: Manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.

Coming back to what is gaslighting someone

Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse in a relationship, an unhealthy relationship to be precise. It can happen with adults, teenagers & even married couples. In fact, it’s a very common domestic abuse that many victims don’t even realize they are going through, and some action needs to be taken. 

The process starts with building trust that makes the victim ignore gaslighting for a long time till they finally realize the abuser’s intent. It’s blended thoughtfully in minor incidents that don’t appear like a problem, especially when that trust factor is stronger now. 

Some studies even show that gaslighting is a result of gender-based stereotypes & inequality that victims use for manipulating the other person. 

Gaslighting can target your feelings and thoughts. 

Example: When your partner is molding you into believing/thinking that your relationships and accomplishments weigh less when compared with theirs.

What Causes Someone to Gaslight?

Manipulation is never the end goal of an abuser. It’s power & control that powers a gaslighter’s intent combined with the victim’s misguided corporation. 

This behavior finds its root in psychopathy, personality disorder, narcissism, or it has now become a part of their personality from practicing it for so long now and finding success. 

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Signs You’re Being Gaslighted

Gaslighters have some common behavior patterns that you can catch and treat as warning signs of being gaslighted. 

  • Even your proof doesn’t shake their white lies. 
  • Your judgments are somehow always wrong for them.
  • They make you feel hopeless
  • They want to be in the center of your life. 
  • You always find yourself apologizing.
  • You’re always confused about them. 
  • You start doubting yourself, even if you are right. 
  • There’s a sense of unexplained powerlessness. 
  • Sense of disappointment
  • You start to assume things. 

Remember, it’s not your fault but it might mess up your mental health. Know what’s happening, understand & help yourself. 

How Does the Gaslighting Tactic Work?

Gaslighting can totally confuse you leading to you questioning yourself. You are left wondering, thinking, and second-guessing yourself. That’s how it works and there’s more to what does it mean to gaslight someone. Have a look! 

1. Lying

Even when you know you are the one who’s not lying, they seem to be very convincing that it’s not them who’s at fault. The phrase would look like, “you are mistaken,” or “that never happened,” or “are you crazy”? Lying comes naturally to them. 

2. Distraction

When you call out the abuser for gaslighting you, they will distract you by either answering something that’s not relevant to your question or they will throw a question that will put you on the wrong side. 

3. Blame Games

If you want to push a little deeper into the question of what does gaslighting mean in a relationship, the blame game is one of its faces. They know how to twist the dialogue where somehow you are blamed for something that happened. You must watch out. 

4. Denial

Denial is their ultimate weapon to make their doings unseen. They will never take responsibility for their poor choices, even if they had consequences. It leaves the victim feeling hopeless.


Someone who gaslights knows how to twist and tell history in their favor to support their actions in the present. Example: If your partner pushed you against the wall in anger and now you are discussing it because they repeated it in the current timeline, they will have their twisted story ready that will challenge your power of memorizing things. The key here is to trust yourself & not their words.

Read Also: 7 Biggest Reasons Why Friendship Is Better Than Relationship 

How to Stop Being Gaslighted?

If finally, that sense of being gaslighted in a relationship has entered your brain, you can actually stop it & protect yourself. Here’s how to stop someone from gaslighting you: 

1. Draw The Line

Setting boundaries sends clear instructions to the other person on what you are open to accepting in a relationship and what you are not. So make it very clear that you deny their actions or words that make you feel unimportant or not good enough. 

2. Third Person View

Sometimes the third person can see what you can’t because obviously, you are in love. Talk to a friend or a family member about how you are feeling from their perspective. It will help! 

3. Evidence

Gaslighting can lead to you questioning yourself & preserving proof will help. Looking back into emails and texts can remind you to not doubt yourself. 

4. Distance

Sometimes taking a step back is all you need. Take a step back from the emotions gaslighting is evoking within you. You can do it either physically or try deep breathing or meditation. 

5. End It

Very difficult, no doubt, but gaslighting can’t be ignored for long. 

Final Words

Simply understanding what does gaslighting mean is not enough unless you are taking measures to deal with and come out of the situation. For that, a clear understanding of both the abuser’s and victim’s minds is vital. 

We hope the navigation through this blog was an eye-opener if you were experiencing something of this sort and were still unaware.

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