What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting, is a form of manipulation that can often occur in abusive relationships. When a person or a group of people experience severe manipulation by another, they may end up questioning themselves and everything that is happening around them. The impact of gaslighting can lead to the loss of a person’s self esteem, with their sense of control being diminished. A person could end up doubting their own sanity as a result of gaslighting, so it's a type of emotional abuse. Gaslighting can happen in different types of relationships – between friends, at work or within a household. The most common form of gaslighting is between a couple; this is domestic abuse.

How to spot gaslighting

The manipulation is often hidden, sometimes unintentional in gaslighting. However, someone exposed to gaslighting may be able to recognise the following signs:

- not feeling or knowing themselves

- increased levels of anxiety

- diminished levels of self-confidence

- thoughts around being too sensitive to situations

- when things go wrong, always believing that they are responsible

- being over apologetic

- difficulties in decision making

There are other signs as well, however those that gaslight usually knows the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of the person to manipulate them and raise doubts. If you believe you are being gaslighted, it’s important to reach out for help outside of this relationship.

Further steps of help

It may be helpful to seek out professional support as a result of gaslighting, where you are able to safely discuss what your concerns might be and deal with this traumatic experience. If you need help from domestic abuse (in the UK), please contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247, available 24/7

Ling Salter of Compassionate Cuppa offers mentoring to individuals to optimise their emotional wellbeing. Feel better and live life well. Find out more or to book your first FREE session on

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Image Description: Gaslighting, image of a person holding their hand up defensively, image of gas flames.

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