Emotional Abuse — 4 Signs Of Gaslighting In A Relationship

Hey there, Steve here and welcome to this week’s private eye post, where I’ll be covering something most people have never heard of — Gaslighting.

The term originates from a film made in 1944 called “Gaslight.” In the movie, a husband convinces his wife that she’s going insane. She’s made to question reality by the gas lamps being turned up, when she thinks she’s turned them down low. Her husband denies having made the changes, and the result is that she thinks she is going insane.

Gaslighting in relationships is more common than you might think. One person uses a variety of techniques to gain control and manipulate their partner, by planting seeds of uncertainty in the other.

Below you’ll find the 4 biggest signs of Gaslighting in a relationship.

Disclaimer: This information is for general educational purposes only and may not apply to all situations — everyone is unique after all. For help with an individual situation, please contact us or use the live chat feature on this page.

#1 Zero Proof Denial

Gaslighters often employ this technique. You’re certain they said something, but they flat out deny ever having said it. “Prove it!” they say. Your memory seems intact but now you start to question yourself. “Did they say it?” The effect begins and you start to question your reality. Because they sound so convincing, you start to accept their reality and the Gaslighter begins to gain control over you.

#2 YoYo Technique

All love and attention one minute, but in the next their tearing you apart. Build you up and break you down. You get used to being torn apart—whether you realise it or not! But the praise you get makes you feel like your partner is a good person. That you’re the reason he has to break you down. This is pure, unadulterated abuse. And it’s highly effective for the Gaslighter.

#3 Crazy Liars

Now you’re questioning your sanity. As part of the systematic abuse, your Gaslighter knows you will look to them for guidance and clarity, in what is rapidly becoming a confusing reality. They call you crazy, you believe them. Everyone else is a liar. Why are they lying to you? Your world is falling apart. At least you have the one person you can trust, your partner.

#4 Where Did You Go?

Every once in a while, you wake up. You see that you’re a shell of your former self. You’ve morphed into someone entirely different, and you can’t even recognise yourself. This happens slowly and methodically, over a long period of time. The manipulation is almost complete. You’re living your abusers reality and not your own. Slowly but surely, your former self has had a protracted death of identity.


Being self-aware, with strong opinions and life goals is where you start. All relationships are built on compromise but gaslighting is no compromise. We see evidence of gaslighting in about 50% of our cheating partner investigations. It’s one way a cheater can continue to manipulate and lie, so they can carry on with their affairs and remain in full control of their relationship.

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Until next week,