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Updated on May 17, 2019

Table of Contents

You Are Not Crazy
Manipulation Is Often Noticed Late
Frequent Manipulations In The Partnership
What Does Gaslighting Mean?
The Victim
What Is Gaslighting?
Detect Gaslighting
Protection Against Gaslighting

You Are Not Crazy Or Forgetful; Your Partner Manipulates You

Anyone who begins to question their perception or, more generally, the truth in their relationship, has to have a closer look at the partner's behaviour. Perhaps you are a victim of subtle manipulation.

"I never said that it never happened; it's all in your head!" Does that sound familiar? Do you sense the urge to keep track of your relationship, of the who has said what or do you consider recording the conversations with your partner?

If you do, then that's probably a good idea, and a thousand times better than doubting your perception or memory, chances are that all is well with your mental health, but your partner is blurring your mind.

That is, you are a victim of subtle manipulation with which your partner tries, consciously or unconsciously, to control you.

Manipulation Is Often Noticed Late

Although every human being is now and then manipulative, with real manipulators, this pattern of behaviour is a fundamental part of their personality. It is also part of a plan with the sole purpose to gain control over the other.

Manipulation is a creeping process that is often not noticed by the victims or is noticed late. For human judgment is clouded by feelings, which complicates the recognition of reality and the intentions and motives of different behaviours.

Until then, the victims of subtle manipulation doubt their perception and the truth in their relationship. They believe that all is not quite right with them.

Frequent Manipulations In The Partnership

The controlling aspects of manipulation are often very subtle and therefore, easily overlooked. However, the following behaviours related to conversation content or memories may be signals for attempts at manipulation, especially if they are clustered or in combination.


The classic is that the manipulator says something and later claims that he/she did not say it. "I don't know what you're talking about," or "That's just what you're thinking," are standard words in this case.


Manipulators usually also have a remarkably poor memory, although their counterpart can never be entirely sure whether it's acting, or indeed the case. In particular, shared memories but also made promises often fall victim to this manipulation strategy.


If they didn't forget, common memories are also doubted or objected to. "You remember that wrong" is the killer argument on the manipulator's side.

Incomprehension & Refusal

Equally popular is the claim to be unable to follow the other, "I don't understand what you mean." Even more disrespectful is the refusal to listen to the partner, "I do not want to hear this nonsense."

Blocking & Distracting

The denial strategy often goes hand in hand with blocking or an abrupt change of subject, "Is that again, such a crazy idea of ​​you? Please let us talk about something else."


However, the most subtle, and probably the most pejorative, manipulation strategy is to trivialise the partner's needs or feelings, "About that trifle, you are so upset? Why should that be important?"

If you believe your partner is manipulating you, but you are not sure if you can still trust your perception, then you should share your concern with someone you can trust.

That person may then confirm your suspicions with their observations, or even refute them. In any case, it is a great help not to have to deal with everything in that situation alone because that's exactly what else makes you slowly but surely crazy, although you may have a forgetful phase.


"I think I'm going crazy," said the visibly tense woman. Then she corrected herself. "I think I'm being made crazy. Yes, that's the way it is. My husband is driving me crazy. Like in the movie. What was its name? "Gaslight? "Exactly! Gaslight. That's just what it is. "

"Gaslight" is the title of a film in which a man wants to drive his wife mad to get her inheritance.

For example, he misplaces a piece of jewellery and accuses her of losing it. He also lets the name-giving gaslights flicker in the house, which he then dismisses as imagination.

Again and again, he twists words in her mouth, again and again, he convinces her that she's going crazy. The film became famous through the Swedish actress IngridBergman as a victim of her manipulative husband.

The film was a hit, and the story was taken up again and again by crime writers.

What Does Gaslighting Mean?

The term "Gaslighting" is used today to describe a deliberate deception by the partner. Gaslighting is a form of psychological violence, and most of all, gaslighting is abuse.

The victims of gaslighting usually require therapeutic treatment to process traumatic experiences. Because of the feeling that one is no longer sure about ones perception leads to severe mental disorders.

Gaslighting, however, rarely occurs as in the scary film of the 1940s, to make the partner insane to get their assets.

Instead, it is most likely an attempt to gain and maintain control. Such behaviours occur when, for example, one partner has doubts about the relationship while the other wants to preserve it.

Not because of love, but because of loss anxiety. Maybe also because the partner has changed and wants to try new things that make the other partner feel threatened.

The Victim

The film described above became a reality for Samantha. She had a new best friend whom her husband did not like at all.

The girlfriend, according to the man, told his wife that she needed to do more for herself and spend less time with her husband. The result was, the married life changed.

Samantha blossomed. First, she learned Italian; then she went to try her language skills on a trip to Rome. James, her husband, was sitting at home, missing the "old" partner who was always there for him.

His manipulations were initially subtle. He blamed her forgetfulness, telling mutual friends that she had been so distracted lately that she was driving insecure, that he was worried about her because she didn't want to realise that she was not doing well enough to travel long distances.

Since constant drops hollow the stone, these doubts burned in the circle of friends, and they were also concerned.

Samantha didn't know what happened. She felt good, but if everyone talked to her that way, maybe something was wrong with her?

Gradually, Samantha became nervous, and it showed. Her husband escalated little forgetfulness, but in the end, she was confident that it would be better to stay at home and take no risks. She finally broke with her new girlfriend. Her husband was in control again.

What Is Gaslighting?

Strictly speaking, any attempt to change your partner is already manipulative. But some changes are quite positive and if both partners support them, also makes sense. Gaslighting is manipulation in secret, intent and egotism. Although gaslighting is not a gender-specific phenomenon, it is statistically more common for women.

In doing so, one often narcissistic partner tries to keep the other emotionally dependent through manipulation. It's about power and control, often out of fear of being abandoned.

Among other things, such perpetrators are characterised by the fact that they can't be shown any limits. If it comes to conflict, they react angry, hurt and often violent. They are very adept at playing the blame game, usually so skillfully that the victims blame themselves for the conflict.

Against such a manipulative partner, victims who have previously been injured in other relationships have nothing to oppose.

Detect Gaslighting

The tricky first step is recognising the situation. Because often the culprit can even convince the common circle of friends, that it would be the victim that twists the facts and lie.

So while the manipulated person doubts everything that seemed to be real and right before, the social network also turns away. The result is that the victim is now at the mercy of the culprit, alone and without help.

Protection Against Gaslighting

The best protection is strong self-confidence that gives one the strength to resist manipulation and attentive friends and family members who take worries and fears seriously.

Communication concerning changes is essential; even small suspicions should be addressed so that manipulations can be unmasked early.

Rule of thumb for friends, you should pay attention to changing behaviours. People who were previously stable and self-confident and suddenly appeared weak and anxious are reason enough to ask questions.

It does not necessarily have to be power tripping, abuse or manipulation by the partner, but in the circle of friends, one should take changes seriously.

Incidentally, Samantha has been able to uncover her dependence and finally finish it. And she's already on her second trip to Rome.

© 2019 Danyel


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