How gaslighting can seriously impact your mental health

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EXPERTS have revealed gaslighting may lead a person to develop mental health concerns.
The constant self-doubt and confusion can contribute to anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Psychologists and Women’s Aid counsellors say the insidious form of abuse is often carried out by narcissistic individuals, sociopaths and pathological liars.
In other words; if a relationship leaves you constantly second-guessing your own instincts and feelings, you may be a victim of a sophisticated form of emotional abuse which is known as gaslighting.




Ben Michaelis, PhD, a clinical psychologist, has worked with victims of gaslighting.
For one of his patients, the gaslighting began when her husband shouted another woman’s name during sex.
When she tried to discuss the incident with him, he flatly denied what he’d said and told his confused victim she was hearing things.
The woman figured she must have had too much to drink. But then the lying continued: Her husband would change his alibi constantly, and when Marie questioned him, he’d say she was acting delusional.
It wasn’t until almost a year later when the woman realised her husband had been hiding an affair the whole time.
This is just one of the ways a person can gaslight their partner or victim.




We spoke to one woman, from Glasgow, Scotland, who explained how her former partner’s gaslighting drove her to attempt suicide.
She said: “The relationship started out perfect but soon enough I kept noticing little bits of information here or there that were missing in the things he’d told me and lies that were beginning to emerge.
“I found messages of him asking to meet with other girls, one who was underage, asking her to stay at his flat, yet he continued to deny that he’d sent the messages and even tried to delete them after I screenshotted them.
“Next it was denying things I’d seen in front of my very eyes, like kissing a girl in front of my face, lying to me, pretending he was somewhere else when he wasn’t.
“I began to feel like it was all in my head, that I was going mad, that things were always my fault.”







The victim’s self-esteem began to erode and she found it harder to trust the things she knew were correct.
Despite once being a highly ambitious, confident and fun-loving young woman, she found herself spiralling into a depression and suffering severe anxiety as a result of the emotional abuse.
She said: “I honestly felt I was going insane. I was so anxious and would wake up with a sick feeling in my stomach, wondering what lie I’d find out today.
“He’d constantly try to cover his tracks and I’d become obsessed with trying to prove it wasn’t all in my head.
“He’d mock me for being ‘paranoid,’ call me nuts, a psycho, insane, even though it was all true.
“It felt dark, toxic and damaging – because it was. At the end I was vulnerable and my mental health had spiralled.
“My family and friends were left confused as to where the bubbly and happy person they knew had gone, and how this had happened in such a short amount of time.
“I attempted suicide and had to go on anti-depressants because of what he’d put me through.
“Luckily, I now know that he was the one was severe issues and am now happier and healthier than ever before.”

Dr Michaelis says these feelings can go on for months or even years before a victim realises they’re being gaslighted.
He said: “People who experience gaslighting may show obsessive-compulsive symptoms because they want to constantly check themselves and recheck themselves.
“The confidence-depleting nature of gaslighting could contribute to increased anxiety in many or all aspects of a victim’s life, not only in the relationship.
“Many gaslighting victims berate themselves or feel the need to apologise all the time.”
It is commonly known that person’s hopelessness and low self-esteem may lead to depression.



Signs to look out for:

  • Telling lies or exaggerating
  • Denying they said things that you both know they did
  • Their actions not matching their words
  • Putting you down and then praising you
  • Eliciting insecurity and anxiety when you bring up their conflicting actions
  • Convincing you it is your mental health causing confusion after directly causing it with their actions
  • It all culminating in a co-dependent relationship caused by the fear and vulnerability that the abuser created
  • Calling you degrading names such as ‘nuts, psychoo or ‘crazy’
  • Secretly filming you and storing private videos / pictures without your knowledge
  • Mocking you when you are upset
  • Insisting that their deliberate attempts to make you jealous are ‘in your head’

Have you ever experienced gaslighting? Share your stories below.

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