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Gaslighting: What You Need to Know 



“If you knew how to listen…” 

“You’re crazy – that never happened.” 

“Are you sure? You usually have a bad memory.” 

“You’re the only person I have these problems with.” 


Do you ever hear your partner say things like these? If you do, you may be experiencing gaslighting. Mental health professionals describe gaslighting as an extremely manipulative form of emotional abuse that causes a person to question their memories, feelings, instincts, and sanity. This gives the abusive partner a lot of power and control over the other person, which is exactly what they want.  


Some common gaslighting techniques include the abusive partner questioning the memories of the victim with phrases such as, “ you never remember things right.” It is also usual for the abuser to make their partner feel like their feelings are not valid or important, saying things like, “you’re too sensitive” or “ you’re too emotional.” It is through these phrases and the repetitive emotional abuse that the victim’s defenses start to break down and they start to lose sense of what is happening or how they feel.  


To those that have never experienced it, it is very easy to say, “well I would never let someone talk to me that way,” but that’s due to a lack of understanding of how emotional abuse develops. Gaslighting happens very gradually in a relationship and at first, it may not even seem like something harmful. With time however, the victim feels isolated, confused, and anxious all of the time. The important thing to realize here is that once the victim starts to doubt themselves and their perceptions of things, it is easier for the abuse to keep on occurring because the victim begins to rely on the abuser to define reality. In order to avoid or get past this type of abuse, it is crucial to recognize the signs. Trust yourself. Only you know what is really happening.  


For more information on the signs of emotional abuse or being a victim of gaslighting, please visit  


If you or someone you care about is in this situation, please seek help and visit or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for 24 hour assistance and support.  


Written by: Alessandra Merino 


What is Gaslighting? The Hotline. (2014, March 29). Retrieved from