What is Gaslighting?

hotline-gaslighting“You’re crazy – that never happened.”
“Are you sure? You tend to have a bad memory.”
“It’s all in your head.”

Does your partner repeatedly say things like this to you? Do you often start questioning your own perception of reality, even your own sanity, within your relationship? If so, your partner may be using what mental health professionals call “gaslighting.”

This term comes from the 1938 stage play Gas Light, in which a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights (which were powered by gas) in their home, and then he denies that the light changed when his wife points it out. It is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power (and we know that abuse is about power and control). Once an abusive partner has broken down the victim’s ability to trust their own perceptions, the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship.

There are a variety of gaslighting techniques that an abusive partner might use:

Withholding: the abusive partner pretends not to understand or refuses to listen. Ex. “I don’t want to hear this again,” or “You’re trying to confuse me.”

Countering: the abusive partner questions the victim’s memory of events, even when the victim remembers them accurately. Ex. “You’re wrong, you never remember things correctly.”

Blocking/Diverting: the abusive partner changes the subject and/or questions the victim’s thoughts. Ex. “Is that another crazy idea you got from [friend/family member]?” or “You’re imagining things.”

Trivializing: the abusive partner makes the victim’s needs or feelings seem unimportant. Ex. “You’re going to get angry over a little thing like that?” or “You’re too sensitive.”

Forgetting/Denial: the abusive partner pretends to have forgotten what actually occurred or denies things like promises made to the victim. Ex. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “You’re just making stuff up.”

Gaslighting typically happens very gradually in a relationship; in fact, the abusive partner’s actions may seem harmless at first. Over time, however, these abusive patterns continue and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated, and depressed, and they can lose all sense of what is actually happening. Then they start relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.

In order to overcome this type of abuse, it’s important to start recognizing the signs and eventually learn to trust yourself again. According to author and psychoanalyst Robin Stern, Ph.D., the signs of being a victim of gaslighting include:

  • You constantly second-guess yourself.
  • You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” multiple times a day.
  • You often feel confused and even crazy.
  • You’re always apologizing to your partner.
  • You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
  • You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
  • You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.
  • You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
  • You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
  • You have trouble making simple decisions.
  • You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
  • You feel hopeless and joyless.
  • You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
  • You wonder if you are a “good enough” partner.

If any of these signs ring true for you, give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us online from 7am-2am CT. Our advocates are here to support and listen to you.

217 replies
  1. melissa says:

    I had to start pocket recording things just to play them latter and after a second take on what had been said I still could hardly believe myself because “I was crazy!” Taking screen shots of bank statements to repeatively compare card numbers after being blamed for spending when in fact i hadnt all the way to extream recorded conversations where it was said “things were better off if i were dead” and” go cut myself” were just some of what i had to play over and over all because it never actually happened. ” I was “crazy” and “no one would believe me” were all to familliar and left me without a drop of confidence to leave regardless of how serious a situation may be I only lost that much more and became that much less. ” I was crazy”
    Increasingly becoming worse, with nothing left inside I am thankful at this time but I am descusted with myself. As inbarrising as it is i need to admit that took watching my child screaming as she saw what was happening to me for a spark, or something, anything inside to actually and accuratly realize exactly how dangerouse the situation become. I couldnt make the judgement call on my own. It took a reaction of an innocent child to understand that what was happining now was all to real even if not in my oen world anymore but it was most deffinatly in hers. I was already dead. I left the next chance i could and went to the police for help.
    The worst by far I have to say is when the city prosicution used this tactict on me not to testify on a stand where I had been subpeana to apear on two seprate occasions. My abuser had accsess to power with a high priced legal defender and family with a long working history in law inforcement. now facing this twice as hard within the aftermath of it all, I was severly affected as this was used to keep me out of a court room and off of their stand both times ; telling me I better take the spousal privilege, if I were enter the court room and any emotion leaked out, they were not very confident that justice would be served in my case it will only get worse because I will apear to be yet again “crazy”. City attorneys surly had to be right, I might just be loosing my mind if we live in a world where the only resource that could possibly look out for my rights and the rights of my children as the victim /wittness es in this situation were none other than the enemy themselves. I must be crazy when a conflict of intrest as my abuser was able to be represented by none other than the head of the leagal advisery bord of the victims of crime rep. After handing every thing off to them in seeking theripy for both myself and my child its no wonder it never made it infront of a judge. I still listen to an autio recording and feel like I am crazy when I hear the city attorny tell the judge a continuance was just fine with me and aloud for the defence to let lie to the judge that it was just a dimestic sillyness , never a mentioning of the police reports, photographic evidence, a protective order awarded in another and ofcourse, my impact statement, none of it present or aknowkaged, the fees for restitution on the theripy cost alone were something i cant seem to make any sence in how a member sitting up high on the chair board of the crime victim rep. Legal advisory would just let all this all go under the table like that, kinda sorta hidden if you will. Im crazy to believe that the cost if paid back wouldnt replace at least 29 locks on terrified victims homes, or however many more hours in theripy another child out there in need would have actually been able to recieve if restitution were ordered and paid back as it should, its really no wonder they are financially unable to help any more people than they do.
    Ive recently read in the papers that a lack in funding had prevented awarded funds from reaching victims in the very same month I was fourtunatly ever so irronically unfortunate and awarded the funds inwhich i used to pay for some of the help we recieved. It still makes me feel crazy and to this day I am experiencing symptoms resulting from this “gas lighting.” I never knew that there was an actual name for this form of abuse, however thank you to whoever wrote this up because now I do. If there are ways to get me through the damage done Id love to hear but I am also thankful for an opportunity to also write this in hopes to prevent this same gas lighting in someway somewhere and somehow to even just someone.
    Thank you.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hello Melissa,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with our community. We are so glad that our blog post helped you put a name to the manipulation and abuse that you experienced. It sounds like you survived a horrific experience, having to find reality over and over again, as your partner continued to lie to you and challenge your thoughts and memories. It was incredibly smart of you to think of ways to find the truth for yourself, looking at bank statements and recording conversations, so you didn’t rely on your partner’s lies to define your reality. It sounds like getting free took incredible strength, especially through the court process, and your child is so fortunate to have a mother who is such a fighter.

      I hear that you’re still in the healing process, and that is completely normal when someone has survived the traumatic experience you have. Learning to trust yourself again after what you went through can definitely take time. We would be happy to refer you to local programs, if you’d like to give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us online Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm CST. Please know that we’re here to be a safe place for you to talk and are always anonymous and confidential.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

      • caroline says:

        Hi good evening, how are you doing.. i am avid follower of this website.. this time i need your help.. im.sorry for my elnglish. I am filipina and i just wanna share my experiences for being abuse by my husband. I need your help right now. I am living in new york,, i am feeling so emotionally hurt right now for being emotionally abuse by my husband.. i. Have no relatives and family here in new york, they are living in philippines. My husband always insult me using any kind of words, its happen everyday, i feel so hurt and scared. Cuz nobody here for me to say all my problem and the pain i feel inside… he is dominating me, i dont have right for everything.. im just his follower, following his decision even its unfair to me… we got 1month old and 2weeks baby. Pls i need help… i dont know how to express my feelings of being hurt.. i dont even know how things work in here cuz im only living for 1year here in new york

        • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

          Hi Caroline,

          Thank you so much for sharing your story with our online community. It takes a lot of strength to reach out for support and help, especially in an unfamiliar area. I hear how hard it is for you to be so far from your family and friends. Your husband should not talk to you in these ways; you don’t deserve to be put down and disrespected. It sounds like the situation is incredibly hurtful and scary, especially with such a young baby. You have the right to be safe, physically and emotionally, and no one should take that away from you.

          We can help you find resources in New York, and figure out what you need to feel safe. Please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 anytime you’d like to talk, and are safe to do so. Our calls are anonymous and confidential. You don’t have to do this on your own; there are resources and people who want to help.

          We’re here when you need us.

          Hotline Advocate AS

        • summer says:

          Caroline: Please, please don’t feel alone. In some strange way you have brought me comfort. I am going through the same thing and do not have anyone here to help me either. If you’d like you can email me, because to tell you the truth I am lonely too. But we have to GET OUT..we can’t keep crying about it. I know it may be hard and you may not believe in your English, but I understand abuse and it’s a universal language. Maybe we can swap information ONLY IF YOU FEEL SAFE!! Summer

      • Vanessa says:

        I have thought of suicide at times i have believed every single time he said i was disgusting i was the worst mother woman and even if i was a prostitute i would suck at it too because i was a waste as a human being i was 19 when i met him he was charming at first 4 months later i was pregnant he forced me he intimidated me into having an abortion which i live with it every day he was married but i didnt knoe that until after well i dont know why i thought i was in love he had pomised that if we got married he would come live with me well he never did he divorcesld his wife and married me they agreed on it so he can get legal status here since i am a us cotizen and after putting up with him hitting me i hit him back on one ocassion well that was what he was looking for i never called the police when this happened because i was afraid he once planted crystalmeth in my car and tried to set me up luckily i found it and called police bug they said they couldnt do anything about it no one saw him its bern 6 years of hell i now have a daughter with him i love her so much and im scared he called the cops the time i hit him back and i ended up in jail now he is filing as a victim of domestic violence to get papers i have text messages and voicemails where hes humiliating me and even making fun of me and how he got away with it he left me homeless broke he maxed my cards and im losing my car because he made me put out a loan i had to do it because if i didnt i knew he would be angry i think i lost myself my spirit he destryed me im now on medication for ptsd deppresion and anxiety while he just lives happy like we never existed he was even in jail for intent to distribute and for some reason chsrges were dropped i knew he was guilty and i wanted to tell the judge bit i was afraid i know what hes capable of and i feel like no one hears me no one helps no one cares how coud this be?? im losing hope here i really am

        • HotlineAdmin_AC says:


          Thank you so much for sharing your story with our community here.

          It sounds like you have had a difficult and painful journey to get to where you are today, and it sounds like you are still dealing with the complicated effects of what you went through in that abusive relationship. No one ever deserves abuse of any kind, ever, and I’m so sorry that to hear that you have been through so much.

          Documenting abuse is very smart and resourceful and is a good idea if you are able to do so safely. It may also be helpful for you to talk to us at the Hotline to figure out what next steps might be available and most beneficial to you. Our trained advocates can work with you to identify which issues would be most helpful to address right now, what resources locally might be able to support and assist you, and which next steps to take in order to move forward in your healing and recovery process.

          You can reach us 24/7 by phone at 1-800-799-7233 or through chat everyday from 7am to 2am CST.

          Thank you again for your time, and we hope that you will give us a call.

          Hotline Advocate AC

    • Faith says:

      Hi Melissa.
      Thank you for sharing your story. I had done the same things you did with recordings and screen shots. I also got discouraged when I was told to file a police report so it could be referred to the DA for consideration of filing charges of domestic violence. I had sent them the recording I had of his threat to put a bullet in my head and told them it was only one recording of a couple hundred.
      about 2 months later I got a letter from the DAs office saying they were not going to pursue charges because I had lack of evidence- I called the office asked them what they based their decision on and never got a call or letter requesting a call from me but I did get a reply via mail that said it was His opinion that I was using the police and legal system as pawns against him, the abuser!! He went on to say in the letter that they tried to call but couldn’t get through because of there was a block on my phone. My first thought was ” Gee, you are supposed to be trained, I have an order of protection against a guy who threatened to shoot me, of course I have a block on my phone!”/ They could have also sent a letter asking me to call their office for more information but they didn’t do that. they did however talk to the abuser and the abusers attorney though. I am still trying to find help and an attorney before my time to do anything runs out which is usually what happens a lot of times and part of why nothing gets done it seems.

      Now he is coming at me via a trustee for his bankruptcy wanting money I do not owe him- I have a copy of a canceled check that read it was written under extortion and threats but they cashed it any way and never said a word
      He has ruined my credit by not making the mortgage payments after forcing me to sign a quit claim.and now its in foreclosure- and the homeowners insurance to my home I am living in is settling my claim for a break in that occured while I was in the process of moving from one state to another,
      They were working on the claim with me but when I had informed them of the order of protection and if he continued to call he was not to receive any information regarding the claim because he is not am owner of the home nor does he have a vested interest in it. But instead of following the rule of confidential information they broke it and I still can’t find an attorney who will help!!
      Now the insurance company refuses to talk to me, The abuser and insurance company are even scheduled for a mediation hearing the beginning of October 2014
      The reason I can’t get an attorney is because it would not be worth their time they said. I was also told I have a case, several in fact but no one is familiar with tort law in my area and, my case is “not cost effective” I believe he said. I couldnt believe it I am inches away from bankruptcy but its not cost effective for them, what about for us??

      I had gone back to school for a degree in either business or nursing, but changed my courses after completing the Gerontology Certificate program and will now finish with an associates in social welfare advocacy so I can try to fight him myself and the insurance myself.
      I also want to work with victims of DV, offering online peer support, emergency housing for victims and their children, and also be there for them as peer support while they are in transition.
      Finding ways of turning the negatives into positive isn’t an easy step to take but it has helped me focus on going forward.
      It’s like a saying I saw – “I may not be where I want to be but atleast I’m not where I used to be!”

      Stay Strong and true to YOU !!

      • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

        Hi Faith,

        Thank you so much for also sharing your story with Melissa and our community. It can be incredibly helpful to talk about your experiences, and validating to hear that other people have had similar experiences. It sounds like you’ve faced so many challenges, even after leaving your abuser. We understand how discouraging it can be to reach out for help and not get it. I know that you’ve tried so many resources, and if you’d like us to see if we have any other ideas or programs that might be helpful, please feel free to give us a call anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. Our calls are all confidential and anonymous; we’re here to be a safe place for you to talk.

        It’s amazing to hear about your journey, and your continued hard work towards your goal of being a domestic violence advocate. It takes so much courage, tenacity, and strength to continue moving forward, especially with so many obstacles. Your optimistic attitude, and choosing to turn negatives into positives, demonstrate how strong you are. It can be so hard to maintain that optimism when facing challenges and discouraging voices, but still you persevere. I have no doubt that you will continue to provide inspiration and support to those around you.

        We are here if you need us.

        Hotline Advocate AS

      • Lulu says:

        I’m sorry to hear what you have been through. Unfortunately the legal system isn’t always fair. Ask me how I know this.

        You [may be able] to go see legal aid in your area and ask for their help. They are chronically underfunded and their resources are scarce but they are set up for people like yourself (I would think). Many got extra funding for foreclosure assistance as a result of the national foreclosure settlement and your case includes a foreclosure so perhaps that would also work in your favor. I’ve been impressed with the talent of their attorneys in my albeit limited contact with them.

        [It may also be an option to] educate yourself on the law. Get on the internet, google topics on how to defend yourself, and become familiar with your local courthouse website. It hopefully has all the rules and forms for district and superior court online along with links to state statutes (laws governing your case), and any bankruptcy proceedings have a separate national court system. It’s called representing yourself “pro se” and requires investing quite a bit of time and being a quick learner. In fact, even with an attorney, considerable time investment will likely be required if you are to prevail. I too signed a quitclaim but stayed on the mortgage in my divorce, I think it may be common practice, but is bad practice and should end, as you unfortunately have discovered. It cost me quite a bit of money as well. BTW, I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t meant to be legal advice.

        One of the ways that men can abuse women is through the use of the legal system and the judicial system acts as an unwitting accomplice. I’m sorry for everything you’re going through. Hang in there.

        • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

          Hi Lulu,

          Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and ideas with our community. It can be so helpful to brainstorm options and resources in order to figure out what may work best for each of us. As every situation is unique, we recognize that not every option is going to work for every person. As described in our community guidelines, (here) please feel free to provide information, and refrain from telling someone what to do. As I’m sure you know, restoring the empowerment and control that is taken away in an abusive relationships is one of the most powerful ways we can offer support to one another.

          Thank you again.

          Hotline Advocate AS

        • seekingpeace says:

          I know of what you speak. The legal system rewards abusers right and left. There has been no justice in the justice system for me and my son regarding DV or otherwise even with an RO, and the knowledge that he has a criminal history and other RO’s as long as his life.
          My little boy told me about sexual abuse during visitations and the system didn’t believe him either. It took him half his life to share with me, the organizations we were directed to make a report to were so clinical and cold he was too afraid to tell them, now theyre looking at me like Im a suspect and they still force visitation. He is afraid for his life and mine and was told our pets would be killed and the people we went to for help wont believe him. Theres no way a kid that little coukd make this up. I even had a witness and recordings of what he shared and no one will help us…and the abuser knows it and is using it.

          My son had a mental breakdown after the last visitation and the ER sent us home without reporting what he shared. The therapist told us to file a police report. It went nowhere. They told us to get therapy.

          The systems are broken.

          A career abuser knows exactly what to do and lives to get high from creating and watching our misery.

          Our abuser left voice mail messages saying exactly what his plans were for us. It got us an RO when my son was a baby, but the family court never enforced it or punished the violations and forced visitation or I would lose custody so I went to the criminal courts. They sent me back to family court.

          Abusers know they will get away with their crimes. That’s why they keep doing it.

          The only way you get justice in the legal system is if they decide to prosecute your abuser after you’re dead.

          They will make your life a living hell. They know they will get away with it…because they do. They delight in your pain. It’s their drug of choice.

          The systems don’t care. Abusers know how to play their GAME well and most know the system from the inside out. I capitalize the word game because that is what it is to our abuser…a very sick game. This is play for them.

          The best thing you can do is disappear b.c. the systems will just tether you to them more…which is what they want.

          Our abuser could care less about our son. He’s just another person to get his kicks abusing…and a tool to hurt me more so he’s got a double high from hurting him knowing it’s killing me insideand no one believes us b.c . the sexual abuse happened when he was small so there’s no physical evidence…just his words…and his father now threatens to do horrible things to us if either of us tell anyone else.

          I even took my son to the e.r and Dr when he was returnedfrom visitation with symptoms. The dr wrote to the court. No one cared.

          This is a classic abuser …textbook profile, and no one will help us now or then..An RO is just an expensive piece of paper..

          one of the ironies of our situation is that the local sexual the police refer yiu to fir child sexual abuse is an organization called “Cares”.

          More like “doesn’t care.”

          I’ve fought so hard. I have nothing left to fight with. No money, no energy, and I’ve given up hope that any ‘system’ or therapist or anyone will help..
          No one can stand to listen about this and family and friends have tried to help us with the legal and he just keeps getting what he wants so our world has gotten smaller and smaller b.c. people can’t stand what’s happening.

          even therapists have refused to take us as clients. No joke. They just want to sit in their offices and collect their insurance payments. They’re mandatory reporters and they don’t want to get involved.

          This world is so messed up.

          I used to want to change it and help people but it’s way too messed up and I’m just one person and we are so buried by this jackass we might as well be dead…which was one of the”love notes” he left on my voice mail given to the court that got us our RO.

          The systems reward abusers, especially if they have money and can outspend yiu with bait and swicth games.

          A decade later I do wish I’d just gotten it over and killed myself but I can’t abandon my son…but yes, this is a living nightmare i can’t wake up from that just keeps getting worse and I’ve tried everything I can to stop it and even with a decade of documentary patterns no one cares…exceptme.

          I know why people ‘self medicate’ and I’ve Ben tempted so much…but that would be abandoning my son too…and I’m all he’s got…which isn’t much since I can’t protect him unless I commit a crime punishable by life in prison…which is also abandoning him.

          If any readers out there suspect you might be in this kind of situation, just get as far away as you can because thinking the legal or other systems designed to’serve and protect’ will is like believing in a fairy tale.

          It doesn’t happen in real life.

          • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

            Hi SeekingPeace,

            Thank you for sharing your story with our community and reaching. There is nothing you or your son could do to deserve this abuse and you have a right to take the steps you need to protect both of you. From what you have shared, your exes behavior is very controlling and scary. It is frustrating when their have been opportunities for support and help but it hasn’t happened. I want to let you know about a few resources that may be helpful. has a hotline and information about child abuse. is a great resource for learning the legal information around custody and abuse issues. The Hotline is also here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and available on chat from 7am to 2am CST if you ever wish to reach out. We can not only talk to you about what is going on, we can connect you to resources in your area.

            Take care,

            Hotline Advocate LC

    • Gary says:

      art I:
      Wow, 11 out of 14 is a scary stat – i am a man and i have been tortured the last year by my wife, who after researching it on the internet has determined that for the last 20 years i have been a passive aggressive narcissist high conflict person – i looked at gas lighting which as been used to describe be between her family members – our children where witnessing physical and emotional domestic abuse against me, and then my wife went from her long term Psychiatrist to a new one, and also started seeing a number of new doctors, and created a self-supporting system of people supporting her abuse claims, new psychiatrist talks to ER doc about her PTSD she went to 3 different ER rooms across a 100 mile diameter area. She didn’t often go to our primary care physician, however saw his other doctor on staff about once per year all interactions where pleasant, her doctor called the doctor who saw her once per year who said she was a great patient. (okay, case made)
      HOWEVER – Consistently when any authority became involved they always landed on my side – I was gaming the system according to my partner – then as things got progressively worse, when anything that i disagreed with her on was called abuse and a hotline was called i began getting afraid, the police had been called to our residence about 25 times either directly or through the hotline – and about 75% of the time they said it was not warranted – 100% of the time when they talked to the children. the other 25% then basically gave us both the settle down lecture – the thing is until very recently i have never raised my voice, i am afraid of what will happen. there are NO boundries – I was in fear, my wife was a beautiful and very charismatic woman of 5’4” and I was this 6’2’ man – when would some officer take her favor, so finally I went to the police after 12 years of not reporting any of her hitting, scratching or other assaults and reported something that happened on July 2, 2014. I had been shamed by her and her family in 2002 when she came at me with scissors, and was arrested for the 3rd time in 20 years. I also showed a number of photos of two previous abuses – I just wanted to document it so I when to the police station – when they wanted to go find my wife and charge her I freaked – anyway she wasn’t home and she claimed that since I gave them the home number she never got the message to call them. Well my resistance to pressing charges stuck and the case was not charged by the DA – however the number of incidents continued to escalate – I finally, not knowing even what I was doing sought a TRO for Domestic violence and with a mountain of support was immediately granted everything I asked for – Every single check box. So this was my 20 day security blanket – I wouldn’t serve it just have it incase something bad happened. Well sure enough, I disagreed the I blamed everything on my wife, and she called a mobile shelter hotline, with a story that resembled the truth about as far as I was her husband and we were talking – after that the emotional abuse story was told which worried the hotline agent to the point they called 911 – they arrive and much to my chagrin, though I begged them not to serve it they did – I was horrified, I had never felt so bad, she was told to gather her stuff, move out of the house immediately, and not to have contact with me or the children until the hearing.
      Immediately regretting my decision I texted and called her saying I missed her and I was sorry and that we all missed her – surprisingly the children while probably loving there mother more than anything were at peace with the decision – I couldn’t understand it – how could they not be devastated this wonderful woman / wife / mother was not with us for the first time in their lives – they said, we’re tire of mom always yelling at you and you always getting sad and often crying – yes a 12 year old and a 16 year old had better sense than me. – end of part I.

      Here is the list of signs of gas-lighting which apply to me – and there are many more.
      Check – You constantly second-guess yourself.
      Check -You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” multiple times a day.
      Check -You often feel confused and even crazy.
      Check -You’re always apologizing to your partner.
      Check -You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
      NO – You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
      NO – You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.
      Check – You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
      Yes and No – You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
      Check -You have trouble making simple decisions.
      Check -You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
      Check -You feel hopeless and joyless.
      Check -You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
      Check -You wonder if you are a “good enough” partner.

      –To Be Continued – -the days following the TRO, the attempt to have it canceled by me- the mistake – the consequences – CPS – my new friend and advocate??? i am learning more every day, and the struggle and the fear. 22 days in.

      i still need a lot of help and i am getting it, however i am not nearly the person i was when we first met as sales executives at the largest computer manufacturer in the 1990’s.

      • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

        Hi Gary,

        Thanks for reaching out and sharing your story. You’ve tried so many different things to make things work, but your wife continues to become even more abusive and manipulative. It sounds like such a complicated and frustrating situation. We know some abusers have no boundaries when it comes to what tactics they will use to gain power and control. Things that you never thought your partner capable of doing become reality and you are left in shock. Dealing with gaslighting and manipulation is so scary and difficult. Like most abuse tactics, it may start off small and slowly escalate with time. This makes it harder for you to realize how bad things have gotten until someone else points it out or the police are called. I’m glad that you’re looking for resources to help you. You and your children deserve to have peace and happiness.

        I encourage you to give us, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, a call at 1-800-799-7233 to talk this through as well as explore strategies to stay safe. Our hotline is available 24/7 and is completely anonymous and confidential.

        Take care,
        Hotline Advocate VG

        • NorthCarolinanc says:

          Hello, I wanted to share my experience with you guys, it could be helpful to someone someday. I had been in a very abusive marriage, he was horrid! I had made attempts to leave and had left, but had also went back many times. I have since left for good, never to return. One thing he done, after I left him for good was, try to block any support, from anyone he thought I might seek help from, that being the victims shelter, in my community. I know this, because he told me…he had called them, telling them all kinds of lies on me, trying to make me sound like a liar, trying to ruin the name of a great man. I had not sought the help of outsiders, just close family membrs of mine, not one of his. His family always enabled his behavior, made excuses for it..or shifted the blame onto someone else…usually whoever he was with at that time. I knew better to reach out to any of them, it would be no different than talking to him. He was determined, to stop all forms of any support he thought I might get, even with my own sister. He done any and everything to try to convince her not to help me. When he finally realized his plan would not work, he resulted to violence. The threats, phone calls…letters in the mail. Anyone he could play the victim role to, he did. His rage, his vengence was unrelenting. He was determined to try to make me go back to him, I wouldn’t. I left him, without a penny in my pocket. I did however have a sister with whom I could live with until i could do for myself…he hated her for that. He had made me depend on him for everything, while i was with him for 12 years. Then, I no longer “needed” him, he couldn’t stand it!!! This was the man, who was so jealous of my attention, he didn’t even want me to read any books. He hated if I gave praise to anyone, or anything..that wasn’t him, he thought he deserved all of that.You really have to go no contact with these people. They will manipulate every situation to get their way. In my case, he had raped me..the night before I had left him. It wasn’t the first time, but would be the very last time. It was the straw that broke. I actually used his behavior against him, to form a plan to leave. I knew something he had done, something he was running from…he had no clue that I was aware of this. I took advantage of it, to get him to think the police had been to our home looking him, forcing him to leave there. That’s when I let him know, I would not be joining him on the run from the police. He wasn’t going to stick around waiting for them to come get him, nor wait on me to change my mind. No policeman had been looking him, but he didn’t know that! Had he not done something so bad, he wouldn’t have ran like a guilty man. Guilty ppl don’t run, they handle their business, defending themselves. I took that time to leave, go live with my sister and her family. It changed my life forever. I knew he would not just give up, he demanded my return to him. he was so afraid of being exposed for the monster he was. Funny thing, everyone already knew what he was about. He continued to have that false self image of himself, proclaiming to be the victim of a horrible wife. Leave, leave as quick as you can. These types cant love anyone, especially themselves. When you don’t love yourself, you will never be able to get that from someone other than yourself. Thats why they make all those demands, because they should be able to supply their selves with these things, not anyone else. Thanks for all these post, this website is a great source for anyone needing info. Please, don’t stay..leave!

          • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

            Hi NorthCarolinanc,

            Thank you for sharing your story with us. You never deserve to be treated with any form of abuse by anyone. It is not ok for him to have tried to limit your access to support by telling lies about you and it is never ok for him not to respect your boundaries. You have a right to take the steps you need to be in a supportive and healthy environment. I am glad to hear that you are away from the abuse. If you ever need to reach out to on of The Hotline’s advocates we are here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and reachable everyday by chat from 7am to 2am CST.

            Take care,

            Hotline Advocate LC

    • Donna says:

      I was with an emotionally abusive & controlling man for 15years.
      We have two children, aged 13yrs & 5yrs.
      15yrs is a very long time to live through abuse, & I look back & regret trying so hard & staying for so long.
      I had him removed from our family home 1 & 1/2 years ago, & I won’t colour coat it, it has not been easy. I have had harassing phone calls at all hours, my bins have been burnt down, my back fence set alight, stalking, intimidation, screw in my tyres, rocks thrown at my car & house, pictures taken of people that come to see me, my house has been ransacked, the list goes on.
      But I have decided that all of the above is ok. Whatever. He will not break me.
      Because the only thing worse then 15years with this man? Is spending my entire life living like that.
      To anyone else experiencing an unhealthy & unhappy & just plain not normal relationship out there, my only advice would be leave now.
      Don’t wait. Or it could be 15years down the track, & the majority of your youth is gone.

      • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

        Hi Donna,

        Thank you for sharing your story. We’re so glad that you’re part of our online community.

        We know that leaving can be a difficult and dangerous process. It’s different for everyone, as is the healing process following the trauma of being abused. No matter how long someone has been in a relationship, it’s never too late to leave and create the life of freedom, safety, respect, and happiness that everyone deserves. As you discovered, it can take time to realize that your relationship isn’t healthy, and to come to terms with the fact that you alone cannot make it be healthy. You did what you needed to, and your choices kept you and your children safe and alive in a dangerous situation. Your children are lucky to have a mom who is so strong, and shows them that they deserve to be safe. Because of your choices, you and your children can now have a safe future.

        Take care!

        Hotline Advocate AS

    • Rhonda says:

      I just had a physical altercation with my ex-boyfriend yesterday. Our relationship has gone back and forth for about 7 months now. The longest he has stayed away from me has been 3 days. He finally left at 3 this morning. Anytime I would talk about how I feel he would leave and then beg to come back. This last time I had it and we began to fight after I asked for the key to my home. He pushed and grabbed my arms and kicked, I was afraid so I waited til he got by the front door and as usual he throws the key across the room while yelling drunken obscenities. I pick up the key and realize, he didn’t give me my key, it was another type of key. I was horrified and unable to sleep. He preceded to call me at least 25 times before he finally came to the house at 2:30am…I knew he would return I had changed the alarm code…but with him having the key nothing stops him from coming in. I look up in he is standing in my bedroom door. My heart is pounding and I played it calm, but he is 6’3-6’4 about 265 to my 5’3 frame..and I had a total of 6 kids at the house one of which was my daughter’s college friend. I talked to him and he tried to play on my emotions of him being drunk and not being able to drive, well he was drunk when he left the first time. I stood my ground even if it could cost me my life…once I got my right key and got him out the door he hit me twice with the door in the face before leaving. fortunately my feet blocked his intent to hurt me. I was in shock but a part of me is fearful of leaving the house. Because he knows our schedules so well. I know I have to move, but I can’t leave until my lease is up in a few months. I never thought he was abusive, a little controlling…I mean nothing I did was right. He got mad at for cleaning the kitchen after Thanksgiving meal at 9:30pm…saying I should have waited. Granted I’m a twice divorced single mom of 5….what man would want to deal with me and two of my kids are problematic (asthma, brain tumor) This man was gorgeous, single, no kids. He was faithful, overly loyal….and 9 years my junior….I thought I hit the lottery…when in reality I gained a liability who would make me feel as if my existence was only valid because he made it so. I’m a little depressed but I’m happier that he is gone…I’m just afraid he will return. I’ve already dreamed of being killed ….and he owns a gun. Am I overreacting?

      • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

        Hi Rhonda,

        It sounds like your ex-boyfriend is very dangerous and taking that threat seriously is a very smart thing to do. Knowing that someone who chooses to be violent towards you has access to your house and knows your schedule can be a terrifying situation. You made some really smart choices in the middle of a very scary situation and you are the reason why you and the kids were able to stay safe. He has no right to be threatening towards you or to hurt you or the kids. You have the right to be safe, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

        If you’d like to talk about your concerns in more detail, and discuss possible safety plans, please feel free to give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. All calls are confidential and anonymous. Regardless of your ex-boyfriend’s choices, you have the right to be safe, and there may be other resources, in addition to our Hotline, out there that can help.

        We’re here when you need us.

        Hotline Advocate AS

        – Also, some details were removed in accordance with our community guidelines, which you can view here.

    • John says:

      Your experience is similar to mine. I too was told that, “everyone would be better off if you were dead.” I too was told that I was crazy and a liar, I was told that I said things I know weren’t said or that I had said things I know I hadn’t. I also resorted to tape-recording so that I could verify what had/hadn’t been said. The one time that I called the police, I was told that I was ‘too upset to stay in the home’, never mind the bruises and cuts. That was kind of the final straw for me; if the police can’t help, who can? I didn’t bother calling them again.

      Flashbacks and nightmares have haunted me for 20 years; I was ashamed because I am a man and I thought that people a) wouldn’t believe me, or b) would ridicule me. About 5 years ago, I had a nervous breakdown and finally told people some of what had happened. I’m still dealing with some of the abuse, but I am much better than I was then. I know what it’s like to feel helpless, hopeless and doubt yourself and your abilities; there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of suicide at some point. But I have my family to lean on and they have been amazingly supportive. Right now, I’m just taking it one day at a time. Thanks

      • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

        Hi John,

        Thank you for sharing your story with us. Abuse is never ok regardless of anyones gender and you deserve to have the support you need to heal. It is good that you have your family to lean on for support as you heal from the abuse. A domestic violence local resource may also be able to provide you with a support group or possibly individual counseling. If you would like to talk to one of our advocates or explore your options with local resources, you can reach us by chat from 7am to 2am CST daily and by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

        Take care,

        Hotline Advocate LC

    • HotlineAdmin_KK says:

      Please give us a call when you are safe to be on the phone. You can reach and advocate 24/7, and we are completely anonymous and confidential. Advocates can brain storm safety options and connect you with local resources that might be able to give you emergency services.

      Call us at 1-800-799-7233 anytime.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Blake,

      We’re glad that you feel safe discussing your opinions with our community, and we welcome conversation about any of our blog posts. People are going to have different opinions and experiences, and we strive to be a welcoming place for everyone. To continue that goal, we ask that everyone be mindful of our community guidelines, and ask that comments be polite and respectful.

      Unfortunately, we know that people have found a multitude of ways to gain control of a partner and take the power in a relationship. Even as technology continues to develop, for example, people who choose to be abusive find new ways of monitoring and tracking their partner’s physical and online activity, controlling their communication with others, even keeping their partner trapped and isolated. One of the most dangerous characteristics of abuse is how easily it can begin in a relationship, and how much power someone can lose before they recognize their partner’s behavior as abusive.

      If you’d like more information about different kinds of abuse, please feel free to check out our website, especially this page, or call us anytime. Our advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 to share information about the dynamics of abuse.

      Take Care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

  2. Kate says:

    Blake, I think the article is saying that if you experience a number of these reactions from your partner it could be time to evaluate your relationship. If the ‘norm’ in your relationship is to be on the receiving end of these comments, frequently, then there’s something wrong.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Jacque,

      Any relationship, including a professional relationship, has the possibility of being abusive. Here at the Hotline, we primarily focus on intimate partner abuse, so you may not find all the resources and information that you’re looking for. If you’re concerned about behaviors like these occurring at your workplace, I’d suggest reaching out to your Human Resources Department for assistance, if that’s an available and safe option.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

  3. Hay says:

    I can’t believe that there’s such a thing that describes everything I feel to a T . Confirms my Instinct. :(

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Hay,

      We are so glad that our blog post validated your experiences and was able to provide information. If you’d like to talk to an advocate about your relationship, we’re here 24/7 for confidential and anonymous conversations. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 anytime.

      Take care!

      Hotline Advocate AS

      • MP says:

        I am feeling the same way that may of the other people have posted here. Not so much physical, but alot of mental. At her request for my point of view on something; then I am rediculed for my opinion. I can’t even exspress my emotions without upsetting her.
        Everything i do or say she turns it around as if I am attacking her. I love her and I’m trying to do all I can for her and my family but nothing is ever good enough. This is my Wife and I Vowed befor God to let him guide me on how I lead this Marriage. I just don’t understand how I became such a failure to her. …I am everyday making adjustments for her to help, help us have a successful marriage. I am just running out of options. I have read the questionaire severl times in disbeleif that i am going through all of them. What am I suppose to do…?

        • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

          Hi MP,

          It can be quite a shock to realize that your relationship is abusive. One of the biggest signs of an abusive relationship is if nothing is ever good enough. Many abusers blame you for the abuse and try to make you feel like you are inferior. This is just one way of minimizing and justifying abusive behavior. Remember, no one ever has the right to be abusive towards you. There is nothing wrong with who you are or what you do that is causing the abuse. An abuser will be abusive towards anyone they are with and no matter how perfectly you do things. It’s very apparent that you care a lot about her and have sacrificed a lot, so it is frustrating to not receive the respect and gratitude that you would normally get from a partner.

          Making a decision is difficult and overwhelming. While we can’t make a decision for you, we can offer support and talk to you about your options. We’re completely confidential and anonymous, as well as available 24/7. To talk to an advocate, please call 1-800-799-7233.

          Take care,
          Hotline Advocate VG

  4. jackie says:

    I.Don’t.know.How.or.What anymore.I’m scared if I leave I’ll loose to sleep where I call home. But.I can’t.keep.getting.abused I’m.handicapped.27 if he isn’’s I stuck.lost.and.scared.if.I’

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for reaching out to our blog community. This sounds like such a scary and overwhelming situation. We know that people who are abusive use many different tactics to gain and maintain power and control in their relationships and it sounds like that’s what is happening here. It is completely understandable to be afraid to explore your options when there are so many uncertainties accompanied with those next steps. Know that this isn’t anything that you deserve and there may be help available for you. Advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline are available 24/7 to offer guidance and support and to help brainstorm ways to stay safe. All our calls are completely anonymous and confidential and I hope that you can call when you are safe to talk.

      Until then,


  5. ayanda says:

    Hi, I’m in an abusive relationship.. The reason I haven’t left is because I love my partner is there something that can be done to change him maybe counselling or should I just build up strength and leave? Need help

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Ayanda,
      Unfortunately most abusers do not change. I know that’s a hard thing to hear. The only counseling that we suggest for your partner is through the Batterers Intervention Program. Please call us for the number to this program and to your local domestic violence agency. By developing a relationship with you local domestic violence agency they can help you look at your options and the reality of what you are living. You can’t change another person but you can certainly change what your life looks like. You deserve to be treated with love and respect. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate_MT

  6. Luna says:

    I spent 5 years of my life with this. I never understood. I thought I was insane. That maybe if I behaved differently he wouldn’t be the way he was. Every time he spoke, I cringed in fear. When he’d beat me into the floor, I had this over whemling thought that it was my fault he beat me. I thought if I apologized, he’d see that I didn’t mean to make him upset. But when I started apologizing for even breathing the wrong way, or looking the wrong way, I started to realize that this was not okay. I made my escape. I left the state. I thought I was free. But I was wrong. Almost every night I dream that he’s on top of me, choking me and beating me. I randomly start crying in the middle of the day, I breakdown, it feels like I can’t breathe. Part of me thinks I’m still losing my mind. I feel like I’ll never be free. I don’t know what to do. He’s states away, but he still has a hold on me. I’m at a loss of what to do.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Luna,
      Many victims of domestic violence blame themselves for the abuse. The bottomline is that it is not your fault. Abusers are good at manipulating their victims and blaming them over and over. This can make you feel like you’re going crazy. It is the way they continue to have power and control over you. The abuse you have suffered is severely traumatizing. It sounds like you could really benefit from some therapy at your local domestic violence agency. This could help with the fear you are having and the emotional outbreaks you are experiencing. Please call us so that we can connect you with those important resources. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-7233). We are here to help you.

      Hotline Advocate_MT

  7. Michelle says:

    I didn’t know there was a term, definition or explanation of this kind of abuse. I was in a relationship like this for a year and a half. Its effects are still painful and traumatizing and I am dealing with it as best as I can. I am a different person and whenever I start to feel my confident, vibrant self returning, in a matter of days it feels like nothing changed and I am back at it again. Second guessing myself and my decisions unsure of how to hand situations. Its like I don’t know how to drive the vehicle that is my life without him.

    When I feel this way I call him, and he use to respond telling me the same things that I am crazy need medicine and all these other horrible things. I’m just not getting the hint and I know I’m killing myself because of it. Everything in me wants to forget him so very badly, but right now it seems impossible. I hurt even worse because it seems like he is not affected or heart broken in anyway. He ignores me now, I HATE it, but I know that it is for the best. Him ignoring me is probably the nicest thing he’s ever done for me, but I still wish it weren’t like that. I feel like I was just another notch on his belt, and if I was so insignificant why did he hurt me so bad? Why can’t I move on? I know these things take time, and I am hoping for the best.

    My skin has turned to stone and my blood to iron. I feel so emotionless, except for when it comes to him. Whenever I try and start a new relationship with someone no matter how great they are what he has done to me takes a toll on the way I now operate in a relationship.

    I can’t love anybody, I can’t trust anybody, and even though they are doing good things I can’t help but think that they are plotting to hurt me in some way. I want it to stop so bad. I get sick knowing that I miss someone who hurt me so bad.

    When we broke up he sent me photos of his naked ex-girlfriend who I’m guessing is his current girlfriend now. He’s abused me emotionally and verbally and I’m all sorts of messed up because of it. I feel like I can’t live without him.

    Yet, I know we can never be together again because even though it is hard for me to remember the trauma he put me through, there is still something in my head reminding me of all the hurtful things he has done.

    I find myself frequenting domestic abuse websites and forums more frequently trying to find answers and cures and hear other women’s stories and how they made it through. I realize I am one of the lucky ones and feel so stupid sometimes not appreciating that.

    I know that time heals all wounds and I am waiting patiently because this one is so deep. I’m 24 and he was the first man I gave myself to completely. Before I met him for years I was very content by myself and doing my own thing. Now I feel like I need someone, and not just anyone someone as passionate as he.

    Then I notice this passion I am yearning for is not passion, its fighting, its jealousy, its tears, its bitterness, its resentment. When I meet someone new now that doesn’t do these things I make excuses why he is not the one.

    I know I don’t deserve this kind of treatment. I’m disgusted and embarrassed that I look for it.

    Even when I look at the girl I was when he was in my life, I hate her so much. How could she lower herself to that point? Why do I continue to want to do it.

    I know things will get better, and to any ladies out there feeling what I’m saying or relating to this article. Run. The longer you wait the more it hurts, because the longer it is happening the more you feel like you NEED him, and once you think you need him you’ll do anything for him. Even if it means sacrifing yourself morally.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like this has been such a difficult situation, and it is completely understandable to continue to feel hurt and confused. We know that healing is a process, and there is no timeline to that process. It’s important to recognize helpful strategies to continue through the process. People who are abusive use so many different strategies to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship, including manipulation, intimidation, and minimizing their own behaviors. It’s not easy to work through these experiences but it sounds like you have been so resourceful in finding out a bit more about the situation. “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft may be another helpful read to learn a little more about what happens in abusive relationships.

      I encourage you to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800-799-7233 to speak with an advocate who can help you brainstorm new strategies to heal. The HOTLINE is available 24/7 and is completely anonymous and confidential but can also help you find support groups in your area.

      Until then,


      I had to remove some content that did not comply with our community guidelines.

  8. Sara says:

    I am so glad that I read this article. I lived with this and other forms of emotional abuse for 4 years. Like many other people who have replied, I have never of this term. It is such a difficult concept to explain; I knew I was abused, but I couldn’t even explain it to myself. I left my abuser a few months after the first physical abuse started because I just knew I would kill myself or he would have killed me. I am so profoundly glad that there are other people who can understand what I went through. After moving across the country, quitting my job, changing career fields and leaving all of my contacts behind I was finally doing better. I’m now suffering from PTSD brought on by an abusive boss and have been waiting 2 months to see a counselor. Just knowing that this is real, makes a difference.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like so much has happened and it is completely understandable to continue to feel hurt. It seems like you have taken so many HUGE steps for your safety and that is definitely worth recognizing because it is not easy to do.

      Gaslighting is among many other tactics that abusers use to gain power and control over their partner and in order to heal from this it is going to take a lot of time and patience with yourself. Healing does not have a timeline but advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline can help brainstorm different strategies. Give us a call at 1800-799-7233, we are available 24/7 and your call is completely anonymous and confidential.

      Until then,


  9. Kelly says:

    I start to read this and I burst into tears and can’t stop crying for a while. Finally, what I have been dealing with has a name. This type of abuse is horrible as no one believes me when I tell them about it. They don’t really see what is happening, especially behind closed doors. “You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family”, forgetting/denial, and trivializing. He not only does this to me, but also to our daughter. This has been going on for years, but I have had enough. I have asked for a divorce and now he really uses passive/aggressive moves. I want a better life for my daughter and me. The hard part right now is to get a job. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 18 years, not much work experience. My daughter is in therapy, and sometimes I join her. I also journal. The divorce looks like it may be come messy and drawn out. Thank you for this article; now I know I’m not crazy and the abuse is real.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Kelly,
      I too have experienced this form of abuse and found a great deal of comfort in this article even many years after my divorce and many years in to my happy new marriage. My challenging first marriage is what led me to my current role as a divorce coach. I’ve recently read a book that may be of use to you -‘ Living and Loving after Betrayal – How to heal from emotional abuse, deceit, infidelity, and chronic resentment ‘. I started reading it for my ‘clients’ but have found many useful techniques/tools for myself; even many years later. I hope you and your daughter find the peace you deserve.
      Warm Regards,

      • Kelly says:

        Hi Chris,
        Thank you for the book suggestion. It will go on my reading my list. One thing that concerns me is, how do I trust again? You’re remarried, how did you learn to trust your husband?

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Kelly,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is hard when people around us do not understand abuse and yes, victims in domestic violence will make excuses for their abuser’s behavior. I am glad that you have asked for a divorce but I am sorry it may be messy and drawn out. Abusers want power and control and when you leave they often use divorce as a battle field. You are not crazy at all, the abuse is real. Please take care of yourself and your daughter and call us for resources. The National Domestic Violence hotline’s phone number is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate_MT

  10. Annette says:

    I was unfamiliar with the term “Gas Lighting” until I read the article. After being granted both a civil protective order and a criminal protective order, my ex still justifies the abuse and actually blames me for him being arrested. Honestly it made me feel like I was a bad person. I justified his anger and listened to his comments that I was going crazy. I believed that I had mental issues. I even took him back and apologized for my behavior that made him so angry and therefore caused him to become violent towards me. To look back at the psychological and emotional abuse is hard. Its hard for me to comprehend the level of control that he was able to have over me.

    When is violent behavior ever acceptable? Never. Gaining independence and getting away from him has given me my strength back. It’s not an easy road, in fact it’s hard to find yourself again. I still struggle, I still cry. Although the physical abuse has ended the scars of the emotional abuse are deep. The psychological abuse still lingers but I am happier and healthier. We must be patient with our healing and appreciative that we survived.

    Stay focused, stay strong and most important, stay true to yourself.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hello Annette,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share with our online community. With even the little of your story you’ve shared, I can hear how intense the control was, and how hurt you were by the ways that your abusive partner chose to behave. Blame shifting is something that we see often in abusive relationships, and is a powerful weapon of manipulation. As you know, it can give you a false sense of control over the abuse, making you think that you can stop it. But the truth is, if you could stop the abuse, if you had been in control of it, it would have stopped long ago, because you were doing everything you could to stay safe. It can also cause a deep sense of shame about the situation, and can make you doubt yourself, wondering if your partner is right about you deserving to be treated this way.

      But blame shifting is a lie. It is someone refusing to take responsibility for their decisions and actions, and using manipulation and lies to control their partner. You never deserved to be treated that way, and you were never responsible for what was done to you.

      We are so glad to hear that you’re free of the abuse, and moving forward on your healing journey. Those steps forward can be scary, and sometimes hard, but your strength and your courage are carrying you on. If you ever need to talk anonymously and confidentially, please know that we’re here, 24/7 and you can always call us at 1-800-799-7233.

      Take care of yourself.

      Hotline Advocate AS

  11. kalul says:

    This article made me cry. This is exactly how my husband treats me. Everything is my fault no matter what I do. He tells me if I would just shut up and do everything he tells me to, things would be fine. He’s even staying to push my teenage daughter away. Telling me I’m a horrible parent and that she is disrespectful and had no manners. The thing of it is, she loves him. He’s the first father figure she’s had in her life. I don’t no what to do. I’m scared and alone. He’s taken all my money and I have no where to go. I can’t go on like this much more. It’s too much.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hello Kalul,

      We are so glad that you’re a part of our online community, and that our blog resonated with you, and gave a name to what you’ve been experiencing. I can hear that you feel isolated and trapped with the constant verbal, emotional, and economic abuse that happening. It’s completely understandable that you would feel that way; anyone would in this situation. Your husband has no right to treat you or your daughter this way. You have the right to make the decisions in your life, and to feel safe, and it sounds like he is taking all of that away from you.

      You are not responsible for your husband’s actions. He is abusive because he chooses to be, not because you’ve done something to deserve it. You don’t deserve to be treated this way, and never could deserve it. We understand how incredibly difficult it can be to figure out your options or next step when you feel trapped and alone. Our hotline advocates are here 24 hours a day, every day, if you’d like to talk confidentially and anonymously, at 1-800-799-7233. We respect your right to make your own choices, and that you know your relationship and the situation better than anyone. We are here to be a safe place for you to talk about what’s going on, and figure out what you would like to do.

      We’re here when you want to talk. Take care.

      Hotline Advocate AS

  12. Kim says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have been dealing with emotional and mental abuse for about 4 years now. I think even knowing deep down that things were “wrong” didnt make it easier to look into the mirror and to tell myself I have been abused. I was told I was stupid, a bitch, selfish, arrogant, crazy, only cared about my own agenda, I wasn’t a good relationship person/ I’d always be alone/ no one would want me, I couldn’t ever have the dream job I wanted etc. He would withold love and was cold but expected me to jump when he was wanting attention, even if he had just said something terrible to me. He would pick fights with me then when i got upset tell me i was always angry and ruining his day. He even told me just the other day that he would not come to my birthday dinner if i didnt “tell him what was wong with me.” I think the worst part of the abuse was that when I tried to stand up to it, he lashed out at me and blamed me for the breakup, told lies to his overbearing spouse blaming mother who was happy to badmouth me too, and he was so happy to discard me and immediately within a day he was out getting other women who thought he was just the greatest catch out there; they were begging to be with him. It just makes you question everything and you do believe you’re wrong because how else could such a terrible person be adored and liked by others? Even those who eventually saw his mean side and recognized it or whom i told in confidence what he had done would not stand up for me, they just avoided it and chose to see his charming side. I recognize now that I have to do this on my own but it is just amazing how these people can manipulate others into blaming their victims.

    • Annette says:

      My prayers are with you. Reading your post, he has built a life around manipulating others. The power and control that he must have over you is not good. There is no doubt, he is a very abusive person. He does not care about anyone but himself. His mean words and ugly accusations make you hurt and feel shame, while it gives him power and a sense of control over you. He actually enjoys hurting others, watching you cry and eventually breaking your spirit and taking away whatever self worth you may have left . There is no such thing as a “good man” with an anger issue. His bad behavior is not acceptable. You are worthy of being happy and safe.

    • S says:

      ” I was told I was stupid, a bitch, selfish, arrogant, crazy, only cared about my own agenda, I wasn’t a good relationship person/ I’d always be alone/ no one would want me”

      Wow. Those EXACT same things have happened to me. And any time we argue, it is always my fault, I’m the one who causes his anger, I’m the one who makes him yell and throw things, I’m the one overreacting or being sensitive when I need to “just let it go”. I cannot “just let everything go”. I should be able to talk to my partner about my feelings and my concerns without him getting to the point of yelling so loud that a neighbor comes over to ask if everything is ok. (And when I remind him that he was so loud a neighbor had to ask if things were ok, he says “that was a noise complaint.” The gaslighting never ends)

    • Amanda says:

      I was never name called but I completely relate to having a partner who is good looking, charming, other girls are throwing themselves at him because he has cool cars and is tall, handsome and appears to be the perfect partner – no one understands why you just aren’t happy with him.

      I went through this and even though his parents wouldn’t badmouth me, they just thought this is who he is and either put up with it or leave. He went through depression for sometime before I left. He told me that he wasn’t feeling like himself and so I thought he really needed help, needed to talk to someone to pull him out of the depression. He also had/still does have a substance abuse issue. One night after dinner I asked him how he was feeling and how his day was and he was so grumpy towards me. I tried again to ask what was wrong, if he knew why he wasn’t feeling like himself or if anything changed at work, etc. He told me that he couldn’t be happy and be like himself because I had ruined him – he couldn’t feel emotion or get happy about anything because I ruined him and I forced him to change into this person. He didn’t want do anything – work on his car, play paintball, etc because he had to sacrifice all these things to be with me. It made me feel horrible – like how could I possibly ask him to be this other person? He hadn’t had an outburst at me for a while, but that’s because he was depressed. He told me that I either take him as happy and deal with his anger and outbursts or know that he can’t be happy about things because I ruined him. It was that night where I thought to myself that this isn’t what I want – things shouldn’t be “sacrificed” for being with another person and even if you don’t take part in these activities any more, it isn’t because I told you not to (which I never did) it’s because they just aren’t part of your life any more. But more than that, him telling me I ruined him and I should just take him as he is hurt, it was the first time in a long time he said something that hurt that bad – I think I became numb to everything else. I never told anyone the things he said to me – not even my parents or my best friend. When I told my parents I was leaving, they told me they knew something was wrong – they had known for a long time something was wrong but they thought maybe it was just because we lived together and were adjusting to that part, they didn’t know. I left with holes in walls and dammaged belongings that I hid from my parents by never inviting them over to our apartment. They never knew. It’s hard – I know he’s told so many common friends the “story” of why I left and they will probably never know what really happened, and I’ve come to be ok with that. Many of them don’t talk to me anymore because they think I’m some horrible person who cheated – and I believe one was even told I got pregnant by another man. I’ve come to accept it and I made new friends. It hurts and it sucks that he thinks it’s ok to tell people this stuff but he knows what happened and so do I – and that’s what is true and honest. Hopefully you start to feel better soon – I’m really sorry you’re going through this, but I think this community is an incredible source of support for you!

      Take care!

  13. A says:

    Thank you for putting a name to this behavior. This is exactly what has been happening to me in my marriage these past five years but in extremely subtle ways. In fact up until last year I really thought I was going crazy. Even now it’s really hard for me to believe that my kids and I are not entirely safe and that my husband could do anything to us as opposed to me “exaggerating,” “being paranoid,” “crazy” etc. as he calls me. He is a recovering alcoholic and used to be physically and sexually abusive while he was drinking. He hasn’t had a drink for five years now and the physical abuse has stopped however he is still emotionally, spiritually, mentally and verbally abusive and manipulative towards me and our kids; yet when confronted he blames me for the behavior and then I respond emotionally and he calls me crazy, a bully, the one who is really the abusive one not him etc. I believe he is a “dry drunk” and I am starting to feel really afraid of him. He has admitted to emotionally, verbally hurting the kids as a way to hurt me after which I haven’t left him alone with the kids. I want to leave but I keep second guessing myself thinking maybe I am the crazy one because there have been times I have responded to his abuse and manipulation with anger and yelling and heightened emotions. And because there are times where he seems genuinely loving, sweet, caring. I am so confused by this rollercoaster pattern of behavior where one moment I feel he loves me and cares; and the next minute he is so scary, emotionally abusive and manipulative.

    Also he has everyone around us convinced that he’s a great father and husband, that “God is working in his life and that an abuser is who he “used” to be but he’s changed” but nothing has changed about him in terms of how he treats me and the children. I believe the only reason he doesn’t physically abuse me because there’s no way he could hide that from everyone else since I am very close to several people and very connected to my church and those that consider him a respectable person. I am afraid that no one will believe me if I start talking about the abuse (I did share with my bible study sisters this evening and they told me I needed to be safe and that I wasn’t crazy; that his behavior was abusive and that he needed help before we could be in the same place).

    He was sexually abusive up until last year when I started finding health reasons and PTSD from childhood abuse as an excuse not to engage. Prior to that he was aggressive during sex and would insist on things I wasn’t comfortable with and then a few times when I said no he continued to do what he was doing sexually and after it was all done when I brought it up he would blame me and say it was my fault for not making my no “clear enough.” He’s denied all of the physical and sexual abuse from our past and never taken any responsibility for any of it or any other negative behavior. He says he really wants to change and he supposedly does for a few weeks or this last time it was a couple of months but I feel as soon as I let my guard down, the abuse cycle begins again.

    I think I am second guessing what this is because he isn’t physically abusing me anymore and because he hasn’t tried to force me into having sex after I shared about health and ptsd issues. Wouldn’t an abuser force the issue to exercise control? I am also second guessing myself because there are periods of time where he appears so loving and caring and others think the world of him, so maybe I am the crazy, paranoid, exaggerating person he says I am.

    I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I am really struggling to figure all of this out. The crazy thing is I have worked in dv/sa for several years before I got married and had kids and decided to go back to school. I should know all of this from the numerous survivors I talked to, helped, went to court with, helped develop transitional housing programs for etc. How could I not know in my own situation?

    Thank you for reading. God bless you.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for reaching out to our blog community. This sounds like such a confusing and complicated situation. Abuse isn’t always violent. People who are abusive are very manipulative and find different ways to maintain control in the relationship. The loving and caring times as well as the scary and confusing times are all part of the manipulation.

      Unfortunately, we talk to many people who work/worked with victims of dv/sa. Signs of abuse are always more apparent from an outside perspective and it can be difficult to recognize subtle tactics of abuse like the gaslighting. It sounds like through all of this, you have been so open to reaching out for help and that is something that takes a lot of strength to do after all of the abuse you have encountered. It’s important to recognize all of the great steps you have made in order to think about your options and goals. Know that we, at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, are always available to offer support and guidance in your situation. Your call is completely anonymous and confidential and we can be reached at 1800-799-7233.

      Until then,


    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear A,
      Thank you for sharing your story with us. Many victims’ share that the manipulation and confusion has them feeling like they are, “going crazy” living in domestic violence. I am glad the physical abuse has stopped and sorry the verbal and emotional abuse continues. At the hotline we realize how severe emotional and verbal abuse is. Abusers used this form of abuse to tear at your self esteem and inner strength. They also blame you for the abuse which is the main reason they don’t change. For a person to change their behavior they have to first acknowledge that they have a problem, then they can look for help. Abusers do not think they have a problem; instead they blame the victim/partner of their actions.

      You talked about being confused by this rollercoaster pattern of behavior where one moment you feel he loves me and cares; and the next minute he is scary, emotionally abusive and manipulative. Again this is very common. Abusers are often explained as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They fool a lot of people when then change into “Mr. nice guy”. This is a deep form of manipulation. It allows your husband to have power and control over you by fooling you and having you confused about who he really is. I would ask you to consider not being so hard and judgmental on yourself. Trust your instincts. Even your Bible study group agreed he was being abusive when you opened up to them. You are not wrong or exaggerating what is happening.

      I can see that you are struggling to figure out your next step. You are an intelligent and brave woman. What you are seeing and feeling is the truth. Just because someone stops being physically and sexually abusive with you does not mean the abuse is gone. Again verbal and physical abuse leaves traumatic scares on you and your children.

      Your husband may never change and you cannot force him to understand what he is doing to his family. You can however change your life. You deserve to have a joyous and to be treated with love, respect and consideration. None of this is your fault. Please call us. We would like to help you through this difficult process. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate_MT

  14. Mary says:

    I’ve been going through this type of abuse for 10 years. We have three children together. I guess what has made me stay for this long is his love for his children and also because i ultimately just feel sorry for him. His father is a terrible man and his step father is sexist. He hasn’t had positive father figures in his life. I always seem to find men i feel sorry for and can never seem to want to hurt them even though they are hurting me. Over the years he’s physically abused me, but most of the abuse is gas lighting. I read this and just cry. Not only for myself but for my mother who also endured this abuse from my father. The patterns of love and then abuse are stretched out. Which is why it’s gone on so long. His main type is trying to make me feel stupid. Like I’m the most unintelligent person alive. He uses any of my flaws or weaknesses against me and intensifies them. He keeps me financially trapped. He keeps me trapped at home with no car. He moved me far away from any family or friends. He won’t let me better myself in any way. Almost all of my clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry and other belongings are all gifts or hand me downs. He’s never bought me a gift. He won’t let me cut my hair. Hes never called me beautiful. He tells me I’m a terrible mother and makes me feel worse when i start to feel overwhelmed because I’m a stay at home mom. He’s always pressuring me to get a job at night so he can work less. But i know he’s not capable of taking care of our kids by himself. Everytime i try and do something on my own he calls and makes me come home. I feel numb. It’s even got to the point where my kids use and abuse me as well. They don’t respect me as a parent because he doesn’t respect me as a person. I have no money to my name and no family or friends that could help. I’m trapped in this hell i call home.

    • HotlineAdmin_KK says:


      It sounds like you feel very trapped in the situation you’re in. Emotionally abusive tactics like gas lighting and name calling can be so painful and exhausting. If it is safe for you to be on the phone, and you’d ever like to talk to an advocate on the phone about what’s going on, please feel free to call us anytime. We’re here for you 24/7, and are completely confidential and anonymous.



    • Amanda says:

      I never felt sorry for my ex until I left – that’s when it hit hardest I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. When I decided to leave, he did a ton of financial damage and it cost me a lot of money to cut ties. When I decided to leave, I fully planned on leaving some money to help with some bills until he figured out if he was going to stay in the apartment, move, get a rommate, whatever. Instead he drained me financially and it’s taken time to recover from that. However, I still felt guilty for leaving; I felt bad for just up and leaving, guilt for everything; guilt for leaving out apartment and leaving him the rent; guilt for his high insurance payments {which is his choice to own more than one care} but I still felt guilt. I felt bad and wondered if he was ok. He never trapped me financially – which is one thing I am very glad I demanded equal share in – but I now see he didn’t trap me because he had more to gain by not doing it; I am very well employed and I think now he may have seen me as a way to a very comfy life where bills are paid and there’s extra money for whatever he wants {I don’t know if this is the case, but thinking about it now makes me feel like it is}. He never made me feel unintelligent – he actually made me feel as though I was using my education and intelligence to make him feel stupid, saying things he didn’t understand on purpose and putting him down with big words. He made me feel like he was the victim somehow, and it was anyone’s fault but his own. I’m really sorry you’re going through this! I don’t have children but this seems like a really great support group, with fantastic advice and amazing women! You’re not alone.

      • HotlineAdmin_KK says:

        Thank you for contributing to our blog community, sharing your experiences, and supporting other members.
        We really appreciate it, and please give us a call or contact us if you need any support from us anytime.

        Please contact our hotline any time at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us at

        Hotline Advocate KK

  15. Nancy says:

    Hello, everyone.

    I came here to find out what gaslighting is. Thank you for the explanation. I hope it is okay to post a link here to a web site that educates people about narcissistic abuse and provides tools for recovery. That web site does an excellent job of presenting information, so I will not go into detail but will refer you all there. Many resources are provided for free. Gaslighting is one of the abusive methods that may be used by the narcissist. Many other abusive methods may also be used by the narcissist. I am finding the web site to be very generous with information and resources. Those of you who are or have been in an abusive relationship may want to check this out because I think the information at this link could turn your life around:

  16. CornflakeGirl says:

    I consider myself to be a confident, self-aware, intelligent woman and this not only happened to me but even 3 years after leaving the abuser it still continues. For 15 years I allowed someone to tell me my reality was wrong if it didn’t match whatever they thought was right. I was manipulated, confused and emotionally tortured. I went to therapist after therapist and even psychiatrists in an effort to fix me, because my ex said I was emotionally disturbed. The professionals said that I was in an abusive situation and needed to get out before I ended up dead (which I almost did to escape from the pain.) The problem was I would try and rationalize with my ex based on feedback and evidence. It just made the situation worse. He told me I manipulated the therapists and I was worse then he previously thought and he didn’t know how much longer he could be put up with me and my illnesses. He even convinced me that I was abusive to my children because I asked them to do things like clean their room and get ready for school and took away their toys and privlidges when they refused to comply. I finally found a professional who didn’t try and get me to leave my ex. He got me to focus on building myself back up. On trusting my reality. That along with support from my family got me started down the path to healing. It has been a hard path. I almost lost my children in the process. I was finally believed by the courts and the system but it took time, money and energy. I have moved with the children to a different state to be close to my family. The children are to have supervised visits with their father. He still uses these visits as opportunities to convince me that I am craxy. That I initiated a campaign to take his children away (although, he filed for divorce and he requested full custody.) He publicly posts on Facebook how evil and crazy I am, how I stole the children from their loving father, and how the system is unfair and biased towards woman. Based on these posts, I have had people I don’t even know attack me. Not to mention that friends have turned their backs, saying that they don’t understand why I am so angry and how could a person who has never hurt anyone be put in such an unfair position. Yes there are restraining orders in place. Yes my ex is facing criminal abuse charges but it doesn’t stop. It hurts on so many levels but in order to survive, I have to learn to understand that they too are being manipulated. It also helps me to know that I am not alone.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like this has been such a long journey and I am so glad that you were connected with someone who focused on you and your process. Because that’s what this is, healing and building back up is a process. Know that this isn’t something that you allowed to happen, it is something that happened to you. The only person responsible is the abuser, he is the person who made these choices and manipulated the situation.

      Because it sounds like he is continuing with this abuse and finding new ways to maintain the power and control, I encourage you to call us, the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800-799-7233. Advocates are available 24/7 to discuss strategies to keep you and your children safe during these visits.

      Remember that this is the time for you to get your power back.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi There!

      I don’t have children with my ex, so I can’t understand what that would feel like but I do know what it’s like to be manipulated. I am a highly educated, well employed, intelligent and {now} confident young woman. However, my ex was very attractive and handsome, tall, smooth talker, appeared to be a fantastic partner and everyone just loved us as a couple. I couldn’t understand why he got so angry at me during arguments. I know arguments are part of a relationship, and they can help to resolve genuine conflict but he just got so mad. For example, one time we were in his car driving home from somwhere and he was so mad at me and sped up to crazy speeds, undid my seatbelt and attempted to open my car door while taking a sharp left turn. Another time he was dropping me off at home {when I lived with my parents} and we were arguing about something; I was trying to say we should not argue anymore, take some time to think about this and regroup another time. He go so mad at me he punched holes through the vents in his car and through his sideview mirror, seriously cutting his hand, while yelling at me so loud my parents entire neighbourhood heard.

      My point is I tried to rationalize everything he did by saying his parents were tough love parents, his parents didn’t have the same love growing up, he went to a different high school, he has different friends, his past is different than mine, and so on. He tried to tell me that, on so many occasions, that my parents should have said no to me more often and should have disciplined me properly – that way we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in. It hurts to think that as a woman who is so intelligent and confident that we’ve allowed this to happen – but we can’t blame ourselves, we didn’t “allow” this to happen at all! I tried to say he needs counselling or we need couples therapy or whatever but he didn’t want help, and he didn’t see anything wrong with how he reacted. He actually told me that I needed to change how I react to things, I needed to become more aware of how the world works. Sometimes I believed him – and now I can’t believe I did. I hope you’re feeling better now, and you are definitely not alone even though you may feel like it at times. I know when I left, even though I had parents, family, many friends, I felt like I couldn’t go on, like I was never going to find anyone else, like I couldn’t imagine doing anything without him, I missed him and missed going home to him every night. I am still not totally over it, but I am hoping one day I will be.

  17. Mally says:

    I finally found a blog that discusses something that I could not address it myself. I thought that I was getting crazy. The fact that my boyfriend would dismiss my complains about his verbal abuse… he would say things like: ” what are you talking about?”. I would get furious and start yelling at him and he would play the victim. I stopped that cycle by leaving him talking to himself and go for a drive. I refuse his abuse. When he starts I ignore him or leave the room.
    I am glad that I am not the only one experiencing gaslighting.
    Group support keeps you sane from this madness.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like that was such a frustrating situation. We know that people who are abusive are very manipulative and can turn that blame around very easily. Even then, you were still able to identify what you deserved, and knew that this wasn’t it.

      It sounds like you have taken so many big steps toward your safety, know that you can always contact us at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1800-799-7233, to continue to talk this through and explore more strategies to stay safe.


  18. Amanda says:

    I was with someone for five and a half years. During that time we took some time apart because we were fighting a lot and it just wasn’t working. When we broke up, he decided it was funny to hand out my phone number to guys he knew and tell them if they wanted a good time they should call my number. Another time, when we were together, he called me and told me he needed to talk to me about something. This something was that he couldn’t handle the fact that I had slept with other men (before I met him and there was all of 2 guys before him) and that I was such a whore.

    All of this and I took him back after about 6 months apart because he has worked on his issues, he had gone to anger management and he realized how badly he had treated me. Fast foward to living together about 6 months after we got back together and the first week we lived together he had already kicked a wall-mounted TV and ruined it. We had gotten into an argument in the morning before I left for work and he texted me while I was at work – if I didn’t reply within 2 seconds he was texting me again. I was in several meetings that day and he continuously called my work phone until my co-worker had to pick it up and say I’m not at my desk. Every argument we got into, after a while he would come to me and say “oh I guess I’m just a crappy boyfriend, so tell me what you want me to do and then I’ll do it”, but two days later he was yelling at me again about how I wanted to change him and make him be someone else. He punched holes in doors in our apartment, broke the sliding patio doors and told me – when I said I can’t handle this, this is emotional abuse – that no one ever cares about emotional abuse, they only care when they can see bruises.

    He told me he knew I’d never leave, that I wouldn’t ever find anyone like him again and that my expectations of a relationship are too high. Also, during every argument when I would state something he just said really hurt my feelings, or has nothing to do with this conversation, he would say “well if you didn’t say this, I wouldn’t have had to say that”. He also liked to use my education against me – I have 6 years of university behind me – one undergrad and a communications post-graduate degree. I am highly educated and very well employed. He would always state how I’m using words he doesn’t understand on purpose so that I can make him feel dumb. At first, I always thought OMG do I do this to everyone? Do I sound like someone who is so stuck up talks down to everyone? But then I realized he does this all the time to me – stating my expectations of him are too high and I need to be more realistic about him. I thought well ok – maybe it’s just my upbringing or because of my job or because I’ve been through higher education. I could never ever put a term to what he was doing. He was withholding by saying I’m using words he doesn’t understand, on purpose; he was countering by saying he never treated me like this before, and he’s always respected me; he would block me by thinking that I’m confusing him with another one of my men that I was seeing; he trivialized emotional abuse by telling me that no one cares unless they can see a bruise or that I need to get over things, and not be so upset about our arguments; he forgot many times that he said certain things to me or when I would say things like I really don’t like it when you tell me to shut the f*ck up and he would say this is the first time I’m ever said it.

    I know this is a long story, but when I read the signs of emotional abuse from other sites some of them applied but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was missing – and this is it. This is exactly what my ex did. I got out, I left. We didn’t have children and I’m so thankful because his anger issues scared me, and I’m a 25 year old adult – kids wouldn’t have ever understood that. It’s still scary and there are days when I miss him and then I think OMG – look at what he said to you, and how he disprected you and your parents and he dammaged your belongings and almost wiped you out financially – and I think I’m crazy for missing him. The good times were good and the way he loved me then was like I hung the moon and invented time; but when things weren’t so great he was manipulative, emotionall abusive, had serious anger issues and a substance abuse problem. It’s hard for me to accept that as such a well educated woman I was in that relationship for 5 + years. We met when I was 19, and he was with me through university and grad school. Those were some tough years and now looking back I realize I could’ve done something so different. I can’t change it, all I can hope for is that the next partner isn’t like that and I recognize the signs early enough to end it.

    • Rimi says:

      OH MY GOD. It sounds like we dated the same person! He was a prick. An effete, horrible little prick who I loved. When we met and for about the first six weeks it was perfect. No one has ever looked at me with that sort of obsessive infatuation. He idolised me and said I made him a better person. Then he forced sex on me. Stole from me. Money goes missing ‘oh, I’ve not seen it’ yet the money he used to buy drugs was ‘borrowed off his friend’. Frequently told me I was crazy. Frequently told me that people talked about me and said horrible things about me and when I became paranoid and started second guessing myself he’d just stoke that fire. ‘Yes, she looked at you funny’ or ‘So and so hates you’. You feel like his eyes are the only eyes you can truly navigate the world with. You’re a blind ugly duckling led by a sadistic prick. I put up with this for a year. But it feels like it was forever and I am this flinchy untrusting basketcase. I’m astute, observant and fairly confident navigating most other parts of my life. But men, I just cower.

      • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

        Hi Rimi,

        It sounds like your relationship was incredibly hurtful and dangerous. A year is a long time to have someone you care about and love, someone you should be able to trust lying to you and manipulating your sense of reality. Gaslighting is so dangerous because of how it affects our perception and our ability to trust ourselves. No one has the right to be abusive – emotionally, sexually, financially. It sounds like you’re struggling to reconcile your idea of who you are with the lies your ex told you. That would be a scary and difficult situation for anyone, and it’s normal that your ability to trust has been affected.

        It may be helpful to find a local domestic violence counselor or support group as you work towards reclaiming the truth of who you are. If you’d like to find out about programs in your area, please feel free to give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat us here every day 9am – 2am CST. All conversations are confidential and anonymous.

        Take care,

        Hotline Advocate AS

        – Also, some details were removed in accordance with our community guidelines, which you can view here.

  19. lynne says:

    Hi. This is what happened to me when I was a child. I was in a relationship with my father~ who was the abuser~ and gas-lighting fits what was happening in lots of ways. So thankful to have started to heal and to recover… years later. This form of abuse is scary and confusing to the victim. It has taken years to sort through who I am and how I feel about things. I was taught to focus on what my dad wanted and felt. Honestly there was sexual abuse in that relationship also. So screwed up. He~ my dad~ was a leader in the public school system and it seemed so impossible~ to me~ that he was to blame for how unsafe I felt all of the time. I figured that there really was something horribly wrong with me, that I was sooo sensitive, that I had a terrible memory, that I was sick.

    My heart hurts for the women on here who are in relationships with abusive partners. We are all worthy of respect and care. Thanks

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hi Lynne,

      Thank your for sharing. I’m so glad to hear that you’re in a safe place now. Abuse and gaslighting can happen in all types of relationships. Abusers, as well as victims/survivors, come from all types of backgrounds. Being abused as a child by someone that you trust to protect you is such a huge betrayal that victims sometimes blame themselves and believe there is something wrong with them. As a child, I can imagine that it must have been a lot harder to see the manipulation and mind games. I can also imagine that your father’s position in the community made it so much harder to feel safe in reaching out to others. You are right in saying that everyone is worthy of respect and care. I’m so happy that you’re starting to heal and recover.

      If you ever need to talk or get support, I encourage you to give us a call (1-800-799-7233). Our hotline is available 24/7 and is completely anonymous and confidential. You can also reach out to ChildHelp (1-800-422-4453), which is a hotline for people dealing with child abuse. They also talk to adult survivors and are anonymous/confidential.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate VG

  20. Sam says:

    Reading all of this… was completely overwhelming.

    I just got out of a year and a half relationship. And just like many of you had said, he was handsome and charming. Physically, he was my dream man. His eyes could pierce through you- which should’ve been a sign… Someone that looks so intensely at people, isn’t right.

    We got together very soon after he got out a very intense, 3 year relationship. He said I was an amazing girl and that I made him so happy that he didn’t even think of the other girl. He came to me during a very lonely time in my life… I didn’t have very many friends so he occupied all of my free time. And in the beginning, it was great as most of these type relationships start off… He needed a way to get me hooked; and he was successful. He became my world… which is exactly what he wanted- because when I wanted to branch out, he would get mad or say he would miss me too much. It was like I damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. I couldn’t win. He didn’t want me to. He stunted me.
    His friends came to me very early on and told me to be careful… but they would never give me more information. Within weeks of us dating, he began to ignore me and pretended like I didn’t exist. I would see pictures of him on Instagram with other girls. He wouldn’t answer my calls or texts- only when I would leave him a voicemail crying, would he speak to me. He would say there was nothing wrong, he loved me, and I need to stop worrying because we were fine. He said he would never cheat on me and it was my problem if I didn’t trust him. I didn’t see him or hear from him for 3 weeks… after many attempts to get a hold of him to end it, I finally left him a voicemail saying I couldn’t take it anymore and we were done. That night, he hoped the fence to my apartment complex, walked up the back steps to my deck, and was banging on the door at 3AM. He told me he needed someone like me and he couldn’t be without me. He said I was good for him and he was sorry but he couldn’t give me an explanation as to why he did what he did but he said I pushed him to do it because my expectations were too high… I was love struck and I believed him. I started to question myself… my sanity, were my expectations too high? Of course not, but he wanted me to believe they were.

    After that, there was just a series of more horrible events… it’s so hard to keep track because I still don’t know what was real and what wasn’t. I would find countless e-mails to his ex saying I was just filling a void and he was only with me because I was there. He wrote write that I didn’t understand him and he didn’t care about me. When I would confront him, he’d say, “how do you know I even meant what I said?.. you don’t because you don’t know what I really think.” He told me it was all in my head and he was here with me and that should be enough. Looking back, knowing what I know now, I don’t know how I accepted that.

    I felt INSANE and he made me think there was something wrong with me to be so concerned. One day he would feel bad and tell me he was done with her and the next he would be texting her right in front of my face. He said he had our best interest at heart and if I keep doubting him he couldn’t be with me. Because I was feeling so out of control, I sought out help…I found an amazing therapist who I still see to this day.

    Eventually, while he was on, “vacation,” his roommate told me he was unfaithful to me. I found an online dating profile. He told me someone used his pictures and it wasn’t real.. he said he’d never seen it in his life. Yet, 2 hours later… it magically disappered. I once again tried to break up with him but he would make grand gestures and pull me back in. I felt trapped. I knew it was unhealthy and not normal. He would cry and say I was the best part of his life but I needed to stop worrying because it’s driving me crazy and that’s not attractive to him. He would say I needed to trust him because he’s my boyfriend everyone else is just lying to bring us down.

    I always had my suspicions, but they were intensified after that. I started to see through him.. and he didn’t like that. He turned up his game and he came on stronger than ever. I thought things were actually starting to turn around. But, I ended up finding physical proof that he was cheating through some photos that I found. Tried to break up with him, he wouldn’t let me. He showed me texts that he sent to this girl saying he was done with her and he was working it out with me. I contacted her to make sure she was aware of the situation.

    After a few more weeks, she finally contacted me…. I thought it was over but she said she had been living with him for the last 6 months. He was her boyfriend and he told her he loved her. When he was on his, “vacations,” he was really visiting her at college. He had never even mentioned me to her. I don’t know how he pulled it off… but it’s disgusting. We both confronted him… to her, he was saying I was insane and I was a liar. To me, he was saying he loved me and he would do anything to keep me. This went on for days. He was calling me crying saying he was sorry and I needed to forgive him but at the same time he was telling the other girl that I was just bitter because he moved on. I would send her our conversations… but she’s in the midst of it. She doesn’t get how he operates and it makes my heart hurt. She’ll have to learn for herself, and she will unfortunately. I tried to save her because it just feels so unfair that he can get away with this. But he just knows what to say, when to say it, and how to say it to make himself look like the victim when really he’s the one pulling all the strings. And at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what I said to her because he has her wrapped around his finger… just as I was.

    His ex-girlfriend and I talked as well… she told me last time he was home, he broke into her home while she was sleeping which was 2 nights after I left from visiting him and his family. He was arrested and she had to get a restraining order because he wouldn’t leave her alone. He told me he was arrested for a DUI. It’s so scary to be with someone and have no idea who they are.

    He was showing up outside of my apartment building at 6am to watch me leave for work.. which I didn’t know until my neighbors had mentioned that he was sitting outside on the patio. I blocked his number and tried to block his e-mail but he would just make new email accounts to get a hold of me. I’ve since changed my email address. I think he’s a sociopath and the fact that he maneuvered this is terrifying to me. I can’t believe I was able to be so fooled because I’ve never been a weak kinda girl. He got the best of me … but I’m hopeful that I can get back to myself.

    I thought leaving him would be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.. I thought I would crumble and fall apart. But I’ve never felt more free. I’m so thankful I sought out help when I did because it’s been a blessing in my life. My therapist never pressured me to break up with him… she just helped me to remember the strength within me that’s always been there, it was just suppressed because of his manipulations and behaviors. I know this is really long… but this is all still very new for me and it’s been very difficult for me to talk to friends about it because no one understands unless you’re experienced it yourself.

    For those of you still experiencing this horrible abuse, keep your head up. Easier said than done, I know, but you’re all worthy of more, you just have to believe it.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with our online community. It takes a lot of courage to open up about such intense and painful experiences. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of smart things to protect yourself from someone who isn’t respecting your right to be safe or to make decisions about your life. I can hear how sad you are that his new girlfriend isn’t seeing what you saw in his behaviors, but you are right that she has to learn this in her own time and way. We can’t make someone understand or see something that they’re not ready to, even when we simply want them to be safe.

      I’m so happy to hear that you feel free now; you’ve definitely fought long and hard for that freedom. It’s normal to think that we let someone manipulate or fool us, but with an abusive person, it has nothing to do with giving permission or allowing those types of behaviors. Control and power over your own life is taken away from you, by someone who incorrectly thinks that they have the right to it. Constantly fighting it, and choosing to see the painful truth in the situation takes immeasurable courage and strength, every single day.

      It’s great that you’ve found a therapist that is supportive and empowering. It sounds like she may understand the dynamics of abuse, and that has been incredibly helpful in your journey. I hope that you remember, on your path to the best of yourself that you’re looking to reclaim, that a violence-free life is waiting, and you are so very worth it.

      If you need a safe place to talk, please call us anytime 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. We’re completely anonymous and confidential.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

  21. Lynne says:

    Recently, my fiancé [name removed – Admin] ex-wife tried to gaslight the judge in their court case. After an extended trial about financial matters in which she represented herself, she did not get nearly the amount of child support she was seeking, nor did she get the judge to order that he pay her attorney fees or the health care cost reimbursement she was seeking (which he refuses to pay because he’s been told they have already been paid by insurance, and because many of her documents are only invoices, not proof of payment). So, completely ignoring proper procedure, she wrote an ex-parte letter to the judge saying the judgment was unfair because he FORGOT to include his order that the “receipts” she provided were sufficient proof of her expenses. Of course, the judge said NO SUCH THING at all. Trying to gaslight a judge takes some nerve–but then again, she’s a narcissist and a sociopath.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Lynne,

      It is so unfortunate when children are used in an attempted to manipulate situations. I’m glad that the judged was not fooled by your fiancee’s ex-wife and her antics. I hope that over time this toxic behavior will stop. Again, the children are the ones that are hurt most when people are abusive and/or put money before their best interests. If you need us please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate MT

  22. Nora says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m so glad I came across this website. I really am in dire straits at the moment and it is comforting to read about so many people who have overcome these awful experiences.

    I can’t stop crying. I have been married for nearly a year. I moved to South America 2 months ago, to my husband’s native country. I got a job almost immediately but he is still looking, and this is causing him a lot of pain. I have known about his controlling and angry behaviours for a long time but in the past couple of weeks the situation has escalated and he has been taking out his frustration on me. This reached a peak today when he told me to “go f*ck yourself, you moron” because he said I slammed a door deliberately (I didn’t). He says I’ve done many things I haven’t, and I know I haven’t, but I even doubt myself sometimes… The most common thing he claims I do is raise my voice at him. This happens whenever I try to defend myself against his accusations or explain my point of view in a normal voice, he suddenly says in a loud voice “Don’t raise your voice at me!”

    He also criticises my choice of clothes and gets angry if I want to eat ice-cream because it is “fattening”, even though I am a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle.

    He told me I have treated him so badly and he’s not the only one that thinks so – one of his family members said I am horrible to him, he said. I am sure he said this so I feel as if I can’t seek help from his family members here, and it has planted a seed of doubt in my mind… I contacted my sister-in-law earlier to ask for advice but now I am wondering what she really thinks of me and if I can trust her…

    Last night when he came to bed and I was pretending to be asleep, my heart was racing with fear. He has never hit me but I felt so much hatred from him I was afraid for my life.

    All this manipulation is disgusting – I know this rationally, but I keep doubting myself and my actions. What if I have been such a terrible person in this relationship? Perhaps I am actually disrespectful and selfish as he says. My self-esteem is at a real low and I feel really isolated. When we arrived in this country my husband planted intense fear in me about going out alone – the crime rate is high and I look like a foreigner, therefore an easy target. Now, I feel scared to go out and do stuff on my own. I speak to friends and family in the UK on a regular basis but I can’t bring myself to tell them the truth of what’s going on – I have suffered from depression my whole life and I know that they will totally panic if they knew what was going on right now.

    Despite all this, I don’t want to go back to the UK. I love my new job – I really feel valued by everyone there. I’m teaching small kids and I feel their love and energy every day and I don’t want to leave them.

    So now I don’t know how to approach this situation. He has agreed to see a marriage counsellor but in the same breath says there’s no point because I’m impossible to live with and he can’t stand being under the same roof as me. And a big part of me hates him now for the way he has treated me. I don’t trust him anymore. So what’s the point in trying to ‘save’ the relationship??

    Thanks for listening.


    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like this has been such a confusing and uncomfortable situation. It is not ok to insult and disrespect you in any way, and it sounds like that is going on a lot in the relationship. We know that abuse happens because one person believes they deserve the power and control in the relationship and use different tactics to get it. That includes isolating you from your friends and family, as well as making you feel vulnerable or hopeless. I can tell how much effort you have put into the relationship and it is not fair that you are not getting that in return.

      I am concerned that you have started to feel unsafe in your home. Your safety is our priority, both physically and emotionally. Our hotline operates out of the US, if you are able to reach us by phone 1800-799-7233, or online by chat at please feel free to contact us to talk about your safety and options.


      • Nora says:

        I just wanted to thank HotlineAdmin for the offer of support.
        A few days after my last post I asked my husband to move out – I’m paying all the rent and it’s my name in the contract so that made things easier! Even though I cried every day for 2 weeks and haven’t been sleeping or eating properly since then, I feel FREE!! I realise I had forgotten about myself so now I am rediscovering who I am and what I like and want. I am no longer afraid to go out & explore the city on my own. I am taking Spanish lessons. I feel more relaxed with others and ready to make new friends. I have designed a healing program for myself to force myself to sleep, eat and exercise well & I have downloaded some affirmations that I listen to every morning & evening.
        My husband is furious that I ‘kicked him out’ but he has not been causing any trouble. I don’t know what’s going to happen next – I have lost all attraction for him so even if he wants to work on his issues I don’t think I will want to be with him again anyway. Besides, my newfound freedom feels RIGHT.
        Anyway, thanks again – the kind of resources you provide are a lifeline.
        With love,

  23. Tina A says:

    Hi there! I think I have been in an abusive relationship for over 5 years. I have a child with this man and he often uses him as a way to tell me that I am not a good parent and he will take him away from me. He lies about everything and if I tell him that he said it differently then he would say that is not true or it was just an emotional conversation in bed or in general emotional conversation and he didn’t want to be with me at all for the past 4 years! Although he came back every time crying and trying to come back with me. He calls me names, asks me to talk dirty in bed and often slap me and says it is just a game.

    I am always worried that he gets upset and start another cycle of fights! I just found out that he’s been having dirty conversations with numerous other women and he says it is normal and everybody does that and I am stupid and old fashioned! He is 53 and he often finds girls 30 or younger and have dirty conversations and pictures sent to them. I am 35. He also documents the pictures and conversation on file in his laptop. His calendar is full of girls name and their birthdays and he is like a predator sending message to them and then continue the conversation by saying he is always there to help and he is so different from others and they can count on him! He did the same with me. He always hid his phone and laptop from me and I never looked for anything. Just recently I found out about this. He often tells me women are stupid compare to men and we can’t think straight. He also insult me all the time. He makes a lot of money but refuses to pay the right amount of child support and I am afraid to go to court because he is threatening me that he will show them that I am crazy and he will take away my 3 year old. What should I do?

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hi Tina,

      Thank you so much for sharing. Even though your husband blames you and makes you feel like you’re overreacting, you do not deserve to be abused. Blaming you, manipulating your child, refusing to help financially, and justifying abusive behavior are all common tactics for abusers to maintain power and control. A healthy relationship is about equality, understanding and respect. You should feel heard and safe to voice your opinion. It must have been so upsetting to find those conversations and you were justified in asking him about them. I think it would upset anyone to find out their partner was keeping such a huge secret from them. Instead of taking responsibility, he tried making you feel like it was your problem. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to live with this abuse for such a long time.

      It’s scary and overwhelming to think about the next steps, but it might help to start by creating a safety plan. Getting information and resources is always helpful since many abusers will tell you things that may not be true. We’re always here to offer you support and to help you safety plan at 1-800-799-7233. We’re completely anonymous and confidential.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate VG

  24. angie says:

    I have been married for 20 years. I have 3 children. I love them very very much. 21, 18, and 14. I have no family. Zero. They are not good people. I believe that my husband has always treated me this way but I didn’t notice because I was working 45+hours and my bebes needed me, plus I have no family so I didn’t want to “ruin” this family I have created. I am so ashamed. I feel so lost and I am afraid that my kids will stop loving me and just think I am weak or crazy or whatever he tells them. I don’t want to put any of this on them but what if they think it is okay??? What if they in turn become abusive??? What if I lose them???

    My husband and me used to be best friends. I don’t know what happened.

    I am afraid to be alone. Lame I know.

    For the past 2 years my c company has steadily “redined roles”. Surprisingly my husband said it could go back to school. I totally supported all of us a few years back when he went back to school. So I quit my job and now i have no income. Be has increasingly been doing almost all the things described above, but only if no one is around.
    I just want to lay down and sleep forever. I have never felt so alone.
    Sorry ffor all this. I know other people have gone through much worse. I am not suicidal but sometimes it crosses my mind.
    Thank you for listening.(reading!)

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Angie,

      Thank you for sharing such deep feelings with us. Please Angie, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You were trying to do your best and as you explained your goal was to create a unified family. It is your husband who should be ashamed. Ashamed that he hurt such a wonderful woman and his children as well.

      The abuse you have suffered for 20 years has been severely affecting and traumatizing. Please consider reaching out to you local domestic violence hotline and participate in their professional counseling and support groups. This will help you become stronger and figure out how to reach out to your children with honesty and love. Maybe they will attend a counseling session with you so that you can all talk honestly about the abuse.

      You say you’re afraid of leaving and then being alone and yet you wrote, “I have never felt so alone.” This is how domestic violence makes you feel isolated and alone. I know that you are sad right now, it sounds like you may be suffering from depression. Remember life is short and you have a right to be happy. Think about it. You can be free from the attacks and the put downs. Without the abuser you have the possibility of making new friends and truly being happy for the first time in your life.

      Please call us. We are here to get you through the most difficult of times. You are needed on this planet and we will try to give you the resources to help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate MT

  25. Confused says:

    I was in a abusive relationship in theHe past. He was physical abuse. 7 years later i didnt think I would ever let it happen to me. I switched from physical to mental abuse. This time I moved to VA met a Veteran that i love and at first it was me feeling that its me. I am trying to hold to tight, or im going crazy i am lossing my mind. I have been here for two years lost my job, about two years not working and everywhere i go to get a job it never works. He goes out spends every kbit of money that explains why we lost three apartments, my credit is jacked up for putting things in my name. He tells me that no one loves me and that i have bad memory he never said that. I feel sorry for him and that pushes me to stay other than where am i going to go. I am so ashamed to talk to family there all in NY and they have problems taking care of theresaelf so who am i to burden them with my problems. He goes out everytime he gets money and he cheats online showing his stuff. To top it off i feel that he may be even into men also but let me tell him that he makes me feel as though i am the one hurting him. he pushed me outside to the ground once. I been through worst so i didnt think nothing of it. he lies so much i start to believe it. I have no money, cant get a job to save my life and my self esteem is in the garbage, no car to get around because he didnt pay for the car i was driving but bought a caddilac so they came and got it. Right now we live with his uncle in this small room but im not complaining. when he gets money he goes out to the bar i think and comes in yelling cursing or just waking me up and when i dont he starts calling me names. I want so much more in my life i dont think my situation deserves the attention as some of these woman with children and just some that deserve it more than me. But i dont know what to do from here, I want to work and take care of me but i seem to always be back here. with nothing but my faith in God.I dont know whats wrong with me and what to do. I cry every other day and i dont feel I deserve to be happy. Help if can……

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hi Confused,
      Thank you for sharing your story. That’s such a difficult situation. It’s normal to minimize our situation when we look at other people who may have it worse. You can always look for a situation worse than yours, but it doesn’t make your situation any less abusive or any less worthy of help. I think anyone would be upset if they were called names or had someone blaming me them for all the problems. There’s also financial abuse happening in your situation, which makes it so tough to become financially independent. In most relationships, financial problems are going to cause conflict and stress but that does not mean abuse. You can have a conflict with someone and still be handle it in a respectful, constructive way. Abusers will find any reason to be abusive towards you and it sounds like that is what he’s doing right now.

      No one ever deserves to be emotionally or physically abused. A healthy relationship means that you feel safe and respected, which are both missing from your current relationship. You deserve to be happy and to be in a healthy relationship. If you need support and help coming up with options, you can always call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. We’re completely anonymous and confidential.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate VG

  26. jennifer says:

    I have only just now learned about gaslighting and I’m pretty sure it applies to me. I have had an increasing amount of mental distress involving interactions with my bf. I had begun to think that I was so mentally unstable that I had to find out what was wrong with me and what to do about it or i would lose my relationship. I started googling different ways I feel and every time all the results came up “gaslighting”. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions because I know I have not been perfect in this relationship so I want to look at it objectively and honestly. We have been in a long distance relationship for 6 years. The first 2 years were pretty great, we saw each other often and were generally pretty happy. The only thing that marred that was a cheating incident that he claimed was due to a change in his medication. It took a couple months but we pretty much got over it fairly quickly, and for the most part I still trusted him. I did however want to know thins when he would go out, like who he was going out with, where they knew each other from, things like that which i feel could be part of any normal conversation between couples, but he would always gets so defensive. The more defensive he got the more I began to think he had something to hide so the harder i would push him for answers. Eventually he mentioned a girl that he met and I had a gut feeling that there was more to it than he was telling me. It turned out that i was right and he says that it was because I made him feel so badly about himself that it was just good to be around someone that made him laugh and feel like a good person. I never meant to make him feel like a bad person, but I did feel like I had the right to know what he was up to. I also felt that he often made me feel guilty for not trusting him fully after he had cheated and lied. We broke up for a while but he didn’t me to cut contact with him completely so we ended up back together. The problem was bigger because the second girl he cheated with (who knew he had a gf and even went out to dinner with us) was still hanging around. In fact he still refuses to cut ties with her. She has a bf of her own now and I don’t think anything is going on between them, but to me it is wrong to keep you mistress around if you want to stay with the person you cheated on. I have never been one to snoop into people’s things, but I had the suspicion that they were still flirting and talking so i looked in his cell phone and caught him 3 different times (months apart) texting with her. He would never talk with me about what happened. I felt that i needed some kind of closure, and that I had the right to know what exactly happened, and when. He has medical issues so when I would bring it up it was always either he felt too bad to talk about it, or he was too medicated to talk about it, or he was having a good day and didn’t want to ruin it. I tried everything to get him to communicate with me and became so desperately persistant that he described my behavior to one of his friends in such a manner that his friend told him I was abusive. Eventually he agreed to talk but by then everything I asked him he had conveniently forgotten the answer to. Every time we get into an argument I get so frustrated because I feel like he twists everything around and we never actually get anything accomplished. I feel like he blames me for having arguments even though to me it’s the tone he uses or some other aspect that sparks them off. He has become controlling to the point where if i stop by the grocery on the way home from work and get home half an hour later than usual he greets me icily. He always claims that I mishear him, or that the phone dropped out when he said something that I know he didn’t say. I have even tried to engage him in text through fb just so that i can have what he says in writing and so that we can take our time to respond and be thorough and hopefully not be confused, but he refuses and says that it’s too easy to get things confused like that. I feel that he knows he has the advantage in a verbal argument. That he knows how to evade and change the subject, flip words around and I end up so confused. I know that when I say any of this to him he accuses me of the same thing. It was just the other night that i truly began to question my mental stability. I even told him that’s how I felt, that either I had everything all wrong and couldn’t trust my own perceptions of our relationship or that there was some serious stuff going on on his end that has to change. I begged him to help me if i am unbalanced. I let him know the torture of what it feels like when you can’t trust your own thoughts and opinions. I feel like he has an image of me in his head that I am a horrible person and that everything I say is an attack when it’s not, but he feels the same thing about me. If he is gaslighting is is possible that he doesn’t realize it? Is it possible he really does think that he is the vicitm? If that is the case then couldn’t I be guilty while thinking that I am the victim? Is there any way to save a relationship with a person who gaslights? Am I being abusive to him because I feel like trust is earned back, not instantly given? Is it wrong for me to want him to cut contact with the girl he cheated on me with? I would give anything to go back to those first two years and I am trying everything I can to make it work, but I feel like he says that he does too, but it’s only words and he really just thinks I’m the problem. So many gaslighting signs are there though. He does question my memory of things, also questions my hearing (which is admittedly spotty at times, but i think he uses that) He thinks I overreact, he thinks I read his intentions wrong. I often feel like my feelings are marginalized. He has recently accused me of “being” a psycho and a bitch (we then argued over whether saying someone is being something or acting like something is any less insulting than straight out calling them that) I just dont know anymore. I just want things to be better. if the fault is with me I want to know how to work on it. If the fault is with him or both of us I want to be able to make him realize that he has work to do as well. Im sorry if i’ve rambled, but there is just so much to get out and typing about it helps me put it in order a little better.
    Thank you

    • HotlineAdmin_RF says:

      Hello Jennifer,
      Thank you so much for contributing to our blog community. It can be so difficult to feel as though you cannot trust your own judgments, and we know that behaviors like gaslighting can really contribute to that confusion. I can see that you have tried to do everything within your power to help cultivate a healthy relationship, but when the abusive person is refusing to change or even acknowledge their own actions it can be difficult for that healthy relationship to actually happen. What we see is that change can be possible for abusive individuals but the key to that change is the understanding that their behavior is unhealthy and abusive. It sounds as though that is something you have tried to bring to his attention several times, the fault is not in yourself.
      A major factor in abusive behavior is turning the responsibility onto the other party, by telling you that you’re the one with the problem he doesn’t have to look towards his own actions. You in no way deserve to be called names, or told that you’re acting like something you’re not, just because you’re trying to hold a mirror up to his behavior. Gaslighting can be incredibly confusing and can make the victim of abuse question all kinds of things about themselves, like I am seeing from what you are saying. You are in no way responsible for his behavior or actions, I can see how some of the things he says to you can be confusing. It can be hard to remember the truth of yourself when you have someone else telling you something different every day. But asking for a healthy relationship is not a crime, it is not something you should be abused over.
      I know this can be complicated and can take a lot of support so know that we are here 24 hours a day and are completely confidential and anonymous. Our number is 800-799-7233, and we are always here.
      Take care.
      Hotline Advocate RF

    • mary says:

      Jennifer, your bf sounds just like my ex did when we were married, and like you, I turned to the internet for information. I even asked myself the same question – am I being abusive?

      He told you his friend said that to make you feel even worse, so that he can use it against you. You’re correct, trust is earned, especially when it’s been broken by his cheating. But he doesn’t want to admit that he’s the one who’s broken your trust, so he must do his utmost to make you feel bad.

      The more he ‘forgets’ to answer your questions, or twists the answers the more you want answers. He’s revelling in making you feel this way. He’s a narcissist, and unfortunately he isn’t going to change.

      I know you’ll say you love him, but Jennifer you deserve so much better. You deserve to be with someone who has morals and integrity who will treat you with respect. You deserve to have your questions answered, you deserve to have someone who wants to be with you, spend time with you, have conversations with you, answer your questions, not flirt with other women, not lie to you.

      If someone loves you they want you to feel good about yourself, they’ll want you to be full of confidence, they’ll want to hear you laugh and they’ll treat you right. You are worth it and they’ll tell you that. That’s the difference between a man with morals and integrity and a narcissist.

  27. mary says:

    I’m divorced now and am far more relaxed and stress free. Looking back my ex’s gaslighting started early on with the ‘if you don’t put your house in my name too you don’t love me’. I was always too jealous and too sensitive. . I was always asking myself, am I too jealous, am I too sensitive? Now I like to think that I’m a reasonably intelligent woman but it crept up and kept growing and I didn’t realise it was happening until it got so bad. Even then, when I finally voiced it out loud I was told by people ‘don’t be silly, that’s not abuse, he’s not hitting you’. Emotional, psychological and financial abuse are as bad as physical abuse. It’s pure torment, it’s designed to make the other person feel so unworthy of any form of love, it does make you just want to go to sleep and not wake up. Well my ex cheated, begged forgiveness and when I stupidly forgave he really ramped up the abuse until in the end at night I’d lie there trying to work out in my head just what speed I’d need to be doing to run my car through the barrier on the bridge over the bypass to land in his car park at work. But I found out he was cheating again. I was pretty much told I had to put up with it. So I told myself that he wasn’t worth my life, nobody was worth my life. Now she has him and she’s welcome to him. I’m seeing a counsellor to help me through and I’m getting there, but it’s been a long haul. People think you should ‘just get over it’ but the healing can’t be rushed, you will do it – in your own time.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with our community. You’re absolutely right; emotional, mental, and financial abuse ARE abuse, and no one has the right to treat anyone that way. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse. It sounds like your experiences are very much like those shared by other survivors. Abuse often begins very subtly and escalates over time. I don’t think it’s stupid to hope that someone you love will change and choose to be kind and respectful. I think it’s normal. It’s heartbreaking when someone chooses to be abusive and take advantage of that.

      It sounds like you’ve done so much to overcome what’s been done to you, and the lack of support you’ve had. We are so glad to hear that you’ve reached out for the support you need and are on your personal healing journey. If we can do anything to help, or provide support during your journey, please know that you can reach us by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or online chat from 7am – 9pm CST.


      Hotline Advocate AS

  28. Olivia says:

    My husband does this to me. I’m so unhappy and full of fear all the time. Some days I feel it would be easier if I just die.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you for reaching out to our blog community. It sounds like a lot is going on and like this has been such an overwhelming situation. We know that people who are abusive will use many different tactics to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship, including gaslighting and other manipulation tactics. I am concerned for both your physical and emotional safety. We know it takes so much to reach out for help, and I am glad that you have here. Please give us, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a call at 1800-799-7233 to talk to an advocate about what is going on and to explore the possible options. Our hotline is available 24/7 and is completely anonymous and confidential. You may also want to check out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, they can be reached at 1800-273-8255.

      Remember that you do not deserve to feel afraid and support services are available.

  29. Picadilly says:

    OK- so I am just looking for confirmation that what I experienced is exactly what I think it is- abuse. My husband of 28 years started accusing me of infidelity that never occurred. I thought that we had a good marriage, and of course as the years go on and the kids grow older things change, but I always thought we had what it would take to be in it for the long haul. We were soul mates, we were going to be there for each other until the end. what I didn’t know then was that I believe my husband checked out of our marriage years before me. So as I said, he started to accuse me of things that were not happening,he was tape recording me- somehow turning on my iphone, stopping by my work in the middle of the day and then asking all sorts of questions- in the morning when getting ready fro work I would be asked-” what do you have today? Who will be in your meetings? things like this that should be normal conversation between a husband and wife that have been married for for that long- but when I would answer, there were always more questions, and then at the end of the day- it was not just “How was your day?” but who did you talk to?, how long were your meetings?, where were you at 10:15? Some things were easy to answer and I have no idea exactly what I was doing at 10:15… I might be able to answer 10:00, 10:30, !2:00 but 10:15.. Then because I did not know that I must have been doing something I needed to cover up. Anyway he said he had forgotten his phone in my office one day and had alot of questions, I answered each one without any hesitation. He had apparently left a recorder in my office and mistakenly heard a door close which was to a closet, he thought it was the door to the office and I had someone on there.He even told me stopped by my office and my door was closed- here’s the thing, I was at my desk working most of the night, no one came into my office, but I did open the closet door to get some employee files out of a cabinet. This was never brought up again. This was only the beginning of what seemed like the end of my life. This type of behavior went on for months. Please understand, my husband was turning 50, I was passing a lot of his strange behavior off as just being some kind of mid life crisis. He had always been somewhat jealous- always needed to be the center of attention- but e grew up in a military family, moved around a lot, was number 6 out of 11 children. I knew some of these things from the beginning- some of these things were things I loved about him. One day he picked me up from work and made awful accusations, said he had turned on the voice memo on my phone, as I carried t my pocket ( because I had to carry it on me at all times, so he could reach me) eh apparently heard me in the bathroom doing things with someone at 930 in the morning, in a bathroom mind you where there was plenty of staff that would have absolutely seen two people come out of there -it would have been so obvious. But my husband was sure- he knew- and made me quit my job. He decided to also create a will. That was it-my life is now officially crazy. He called me every name in the book. We stayed up some days fighting for 24, 36, 42 hours at a time. I was smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day and just staring out into nothing,barely eating, because I could not make sense of what was going on in my life- how could he think these things, how could he not see the truth? So the answer of course was to go take a polygraph, well ten days into this madness, I went, I took the polygraph, but the man said it was deceptive.I was in shock- I ansered the questions truthfully, how could they come back deceptive? So I am now in an even lower place of not understanding what has happened to the life that I knew. I understand more now about how polygraphs work- they work on emotion, not the truth- and yes, I was emotional. I did not tell the polygraph examiner that I had no less than 7 bruises on my body at the time of examination form a struggle I had with my husband over a gun. I never said a word- but yet , I was deceptive about something that I didn’t do- How do you like that! Well I have gone on and can continue with so much more- but from just the little bit that I have shared- do you all think this was abuse.. The biggest issue that I have is that even understanding now that we can not and should not be together- I still love this man, I know that is my issue, but I still love this man.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hello Picadilly,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with our online community. It sounds like you’re feeling exhausted and confused by everything that has happened. It must be very difficult to have your husband’s behaviors change so much after so many years of marriage. We know that abuse tends to escalate over time, and it sounds like you experienced escalation at an intense and very rapid rate. His interrogations, accusations of cheating, recording you, forcing you to quit your job – none of these behaviors are respectful or okay. You deserve to be treated with respect, and your husband is not making choices that acknowledge that right, or your right to be safe. Several things you’ve mentioned are definitely red flags about your safety; specifically, the lack of sleep for days and struggling over a gun. There is nothing that makes it okay for him to treat you this way, and you deserve to be safe.

      Having someone you trust and love constantly badger you about your whereabouts and accuse you of cheating is incredibly hurtful and confusing. His accusations were not about you doing something wrong; they were about shifting the focus and power of your relationship. It’s a normal reaction to defend ourselves and try to prove our innocence when someone accuses us of doing something we haven’t. By creating a situation where you are constantly defending yourself against his accusations, your husband is taking control over the relationship, instead of maintaining a equal balance of power with respectful conversation, where both partners feel safe.

      I can hear how the stress and trauma of these experiences are affecting you, and your reaction is normal. Anyone going through this would feel exhausted, bewildered, confused, and hurt. Many people who choose to be abusive use tactics like these to manipulate and control their partners. It’s also normal that you still love your husband. You’ve had nearly three decades together, and dreamed of spending your life with him. Having that future change in this way would be confusing and hurtful to anyone.

      If you would like to talk more about your relationship and ways to increase your safety, please feel free to call us anytime. You can reach us by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or by online chat 9am-7pm CST. All of our conversations are anonymous and confidential.

      We’re here when you need us.

      Hotline Advocate AS

  30. Denied Safety says:

    First off, I am a man and want everyone to understand that no one is immune. It happens to men too, and not wimpy men only. As for me, I Surfer, Rock Climber, Licensed Skydiver. I used to be a firefighter and bouncer. I am also a man who has been raising my kids by myself for 11 years. I don’t say this to brag but want people to understand that victims are not weak.
    That said, this past July I married a beautiful woman who had me convinced that we were perfect for each other. I say this because within a month of getting married, She began physical violence against me. Within 3 months from getting married, she was arrested. What I didn’t see was her manipulating me, isolating from my family and friends. She began threatening me that she was going to kill others around me. What I didn’t know until recently was she became abusive to my children and even punched my son in the face. My kids were too afraid of her to tell anyone. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t tell me until I realized that I had been afraid to let anyone know what she was doing.
    By the time I realized there was a problem, I had been assaulted by her mentally, physically and sexually. I had no clue that the latter was even possible but its not about sex, its about violence and control. After she was arrested, I became devastated and felt guilty. I felt that I had let her down. I thought that something had happened to her that caused her to snap and she just needed help. I contacted a local organization that helps domestic violence victims to try getting her help and that was when I realized that I was a victim. She had gotten into my head and made me believe that nothing was her fault and had even convinced me that her actions were because I didn’t show her enough love the way she wanted.
    I chose the name “Denied Safety'” because of the events that followed. When she was released from jail, the judge gave her permission to stay at my house that I had prior to us getting married and me and my 2 children had to leave. The courts dropped the domestic violence case. Primarily because I called the States attorney office and begged them to not send her to jail and get her help instead. That was a huge mistake but that was before I spoke with the D.V. organization in my area. The day after charges were dropped, she was at my office trying to convince me to come back home. She broke into my car also.
    With the help of the organization, I filled for an injunction for protection. Her “gasligtting” had gone so deep that I felt that I was the bad guy and hurting her by doing this. The day of the hearing I sat in front of the judge with 6 pages of dated incidents where she had attacked me along with photos, police reports and photos of damaged property. The normal Injunction Judge was not there and we had a substitute judge who heard me speak for a grand total of 45 seconds before stopping me. He looked at my beautiful wife and asked her if she had ever done anything to hurt my. She replied never, I love him and then told the judge she didn’t even realize this was for a restraining order until then. The judge asked her if I was just to sensitive to which she smiled and said well, yes, he is. The judge then asked me if I ever pushed her or hit her to which I said no. He told me that it didn’t make since that she attacked me and I never kit her back, that I must me making this up because I was too sensitive. Everyone in the courtroom was shocked from the Victims Advocates, lawyers who heard me speak for less than a minute said they wished I had called them. Even the bailiffs couldn’t believe it.
    Now 7 weeks after her arrest, I am still paying for a home that I’m afraid to go to or take my kids to. I have filled for a divorce which thankfully is uncontested, at least for now. Since she drained my bank account into her personal account, I have no money. Yet I receive txt messages from her saying I love you and I wish I could take away your hurt.
    Mind you, this has all taken place in 4 months. I never recognized this phase of abuse or control because I didn’t think this could happen to men. I never thought it would happen to me and I was never made aware of the signs. If I had, perhaps this could have all been avoided before we married when it was just the gaslighting.
    Never blame the victim because this is not a situation where anything the victim does contributes to the actions of the abuser. And for the people who still believe their abuser loves them, No they don’t. Ask yourself this question, Would you do to someone ” YOU LOVE” what they are doing to you? no, you wouldn’t, because you love them. They do not love you!

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hello Denied,

      I’m so glad that you’ve found our online community. You’re absolutely right that domestic violence can happen to anyone – regardless of sex/gender, age, race, income, education level. Anyone can be in a relationship with someone who chooses to be abusive, and it is a confusing, painful, scary situation; a situation that no one ever deserves to experience.

      It sounds like you’ve been through so much, and it’s not right that your ex-wife or the legal system treated you the way it did. We definitely recognize how society’s concepts of masculinity can be challenging for men who are being abused. You should never be penalized or looked down on for refusing to be aggressive or hurt another person. We wish everyone made the choice to be respectful and non-violent, and participate in healthy relationships.

      As you know, your ex-wife had no right to hurt you or your kids in any way. Being treated this way by someone you love, who says that they love you is incredibly hurtful and confusing. It can take time and work to make sense of what has been done to you, and you deserve all the help available on this journey. It sounds like you’ve found support with a local program, and that’s great! If you’d like to talk about other resources, or brainstorm ways to possibly increase your safety, please feel free to give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us online here 9am-7pm CST. All conversations are anonymous and confidential.

      We’re here when you need us.

      Hotline Advocate AS

    • caroline says:

      My husband considers he 33 year marriage we are in himself to be the one ha was abused. It al started in 1985 when he returned from Three and a half years of being either under water, in a school so secret he was not allowed communication.
      When he came back he was going to his auto manufacturing job he was on a military eave from, he left before the layoffs so under the UAW contract his time went on until he was gone seven years when it would have frozen but he came back with an honorable discharge in hand, and his father, his fathers friends, his union, the corporation he worked for not wanting disruptions to happen when he returned, he was the first f many coming back and they did not really know how to integrate him back into the work force, he was also coming back as what the navy called and exhaustive paranoid, after three and a half years no leave or R and R, and his last refit being kept awake 106 hours straight on duty,
      His father said while in the air Force he had dealt with people like his son, he said if he was allowed his own way there would never be any cooperation about what he wanted over the needs of other people, so he could never think he had any right to his own wants and needs or that would be he finish to any cooperation, he told me it was especially important that he be given an opportunity for a nice home life, I was asked to make sure he did not disrupt lives by offering him sex in our marriage.
      His father said f he was meant to have a happy life god would have ensured t but now he was needed to be just what society and his job demanded, so I made this promise to my husband, if for a while he could forgo the rights he had in seniority, not cause any body with less seniority trouble in their life he would eventually be rewarded with the life he wanted, sixteen years latter his father told me that that life could never be allowed, first my husband did not break as everyone expected, he started taking what he wanted in seniority rights, I even promised a nrormaiization of our marriage bed if he did not press a job he bid on over the son of his fathers best friend. I promised we could figure out some way he could have some time off to do it, since he had not had a day off since his return n 1985 this was 2001. the only time he was allowed was three months earlier when he had a hole drilled from the center of his head to over his right eye when his father and six coworkers allowed him six days to recover before forcing their way into our house removing him from bed and pushing him into work saying he did not work on his head. three month later he took a job bid for a new plant and a new job, he was intending to start taking holidays ad weekends off and to hell with who wanted a vacation slot if he had the seniority he was taking it with his, one night the man that wanted the job came over with three friends And demanded my husband remove his name voluntarily or they would drag him back and he would remove it with help, This was the first time I ever saw the damage combat arts training could do. four men went into crtical care that night, my husband was left washing blood off our porch, and his father who was crying asked him why couldn’t he have just backed down and not taken the job, my husband said that was nit the last thing he was taking, he was retired in 2009 after getting a big mouth and telling a governor that he would get a load of aluminum scrap delvered f he would show up and allow my husband to shove a trailor hitch up his rear and he could tow it. He was asked to retire at the end of the year, My husband never made the end of the year, he was thinking ahead o his retirement and had started a part time job two years eariier since we had no home life, working loading freight and unloading freight out of aircraft for three to five hours a day, we even moved to be closer to this job when he was retired one night he had helped unload and aft bulk carrier when he fell out of t 30 feet to t6he ground, He bruised his back, and three months latter he was taken to emergency screaming in pan he had developed MRSA in his spine. three years latter he came home from rehab using a four foot tall cane he carved and polished inlaid with tirtainium, peuter and tanzanite. he discovered an affiar was in, I don’t think he ever was angry about that, he wanted the man he discovered me with to take the guardianship off his hands, but he did get angry when the other man thought it would be funny to sweep his cane putting my husband on the floor and calling him pathetic, he spent four weeks in ICU before going home to his wife who hit the other man with a softball bat to the face and throwing his divorce papers and his firing from his position at him. As well as his cloths. He was the fifth man my husband ruined that I knew of since 2001 I have found out that the number s somewhere over twenty men badly hurt because my husband would not allow them to lay their hands on him or point a weapon at him. I heard of a man that wanted him to take his shift after my husband just got off a shift that grabbed my husband and turned him around telling my husband he was going to cover for him my husband told him he was tired and he needed to go in to work. The guy never got h9is punch off my husband picked him up and tried wrapping him around a light pole breaking his back, my husband left him in the parking lot to have other people call the police and emergency services, My husband retired the next year so nothing was done about the incident except the footage was watched of the parking lot and the police again said nothing they could do because it was again self defense, they were tired of his defending himself to the point people were nearly dead but they said once the other man aid his hands on my husband there was nothing they could do, heard about another man that decided my husband was not turning his back on him who they had to stop my husband closing the box crusher gate in front of him and activating it.
      Since November 6 2001 there has not been one instance of willing cooperation from my husband I can think of. his father has even had his jaw broken when he tried to slap my husband into noticing he was not invited to the after dinner club with me, it even got a doorman bouncer hurt when he pushed my husband away after telling my husband his name was not on the reservation ticket, he was put on the side walk with my husband knee in his back having his face slammed repeatedly into the concrete, again self defense was what it was called since the doorman pushed first.
      My husband has his father in constant tears this time under the freedom of information act when he wanted a passport last year and again it was refused for the potential security problems my husband could create he found a letter signed by his father and his friends in 1985 that said my husband was a security risk and could not be allowed out of CONU, my husband added that to the charges the US attorney is filing for conspiracy to deny civil rights, My husband has given me a choice, I could support his fathers position about the cruise next month and get him put off the ship by saying I don’t want him aboard because he is stalking me. this was asked of me last night by his father, He said that is the only way we could keep my husband from coming, In front of my mother, his mother, my sister, I was told he was going to voluntarily cancel if wanted to push this deal with his father. but when I returned home he would be gone with my now 15 month old son, the product of my husband forcing me into sex two years ago, I would find the house locks here changed and I could get my things from the bus station, there would be a bus ticket, a cashiers check, and he would never allow me to get my son, I decided again with this blackmail not to say anything to the Cruise lines, there are to many legal threats now, like conspiracy to deny civil rights, maintaining an indentured servant by threat and coeartion, as well as marital extortion and marital fraud.
      We have offered compromise that if he did not g this time he could go the next time in three years, just let every body get used to the idea, this compromise was turned down flat, he said when in 33 years have we lived up to any promise, any compromise, any agreement if he just waited a little longer he would have willingly his rights, he got really sarcastic and said by my count never, He said the money he earned is going for his wants now, No loan to his fathers best friend unless it was at 2000 percent interest for one day, and he wanted a signed contract before we left, That’s not going to happen, His father says if his oldest son comes along he will have a massive heart attack. my husband said be fun to see how fast they could airlift of the ship.
      I have tried in the past to see what I could do to allow things to become normal in my husbands life, when I did his father would slap me around, then two years ago this month my husband had grown tired of waiting for the bright shiny future he was promised if he cooperated, he pushed the revolt to the max, He raped me and handed me the phone to call metro, He then Threw his fathers best friend at his arriving fathers wind shield, he missed and the man ended up with 23 sutures in his face since then his father was backhanded across our kitchen, a bouncer door mans face was almost hammered flat on a sidewalk and two armed friends of his father have to go through facial reconstructive surgery over the next year or so, my husband has told everybody if they want to keep their financial life intact there will be no more interference in his life and has restraining orders to that effect as of yesterday. He says it is up to everyone else to avoid trouble with him. He ghas n care for my feelings about other people hurting, nothing says he thinks anything about his father having a possible heart attack, says he can go ahead and have it. We asked at this mornings ta be what abut the consideration he recieved on holidays didn’t that count for some thing. he said what consideration, going to work 256 consecutive and getting two cold sandwiches every one of then while we went to have a little fun.
      He is not going to not go this time, So I told everyone coming they better get used to the idea real fast he was going to be their, one woman said your husband has no heart.
      I think we managed to cut it out of him over 33 years.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you for reaching out to our blog community. Gaslighting is such a subtle strategy abusers will use to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship. There are many other strategies outlined in other blog posts. Know that you can also feel free to give our hotline a call at 1800-799-7233 to talk them through with an advocate. We are available 24/7 and completely anonymous and confidential.


  31. k says:

    Holy cow — reading all this is such validation. As I read these, I see bits and pieces of my long-term recently ended relationship. I started a log years ago because I was always told I was exaggerating, too sensitive, crazy, etc. Re-reading my log — and reading here — confirms even more what I already knew. But even though it’s over, it’s not. I hear from his BF that he’s dangerously angry, and armed. Given that it’s holiday time, I’m even more concerned. Sending good thoughts to all here. Listen to your instincts/gut.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:


      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community! I am so glad this post was so validating, we know that abuse can be so subtle sometimes that it is difficult to figure out exactly what is going on. Keeping that log was such a good idea! Know that the National Domestic Violence Hotline is always available to talk this through. Our advocates are here 24/7 to brainstorm ways to keep focusing on you.


  32. Brooke says:

    I have been dating my boyfriend for almost three years. I love him and when he’s in a good mood he’s the best boyfriend a girl could ask for.but if he gets angry he gets anxiety attacks and super physically violent. He’s thrown me, picked me up and put me against the wall, pulled me by the hair and much more. But when we’re happy its like we are so in love and I feel so trapped. I love him. And I’m with him every day cause if I’m not hell accuse me if cheating when I never had. I need help I go so crazy thinking I’m the problem and I should just kill myself I need help

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hi Brooke,
      Wow, that is such an abusive situation. I’m so glad that you are reaching out. Most people that we talk to are conflicted because they love their abuser and they don’t want to live with the abuse. No one stays because they like being abused. Abusers have their good qualities and a lot of abusive relationships have good periods. This dynamic is what makes leaving so difficult. It doesn’t mean that the relationship is any less abusive. Anxiety attacks are tough to deal with and cause a lot suffering, yet they are not the cause of abusive behavior. Abuse is about having power and control in a relationship.

      It sounds like you’re really struggling and need support. Ultimately, it is your decision what actions you decided to take. You’re the expert when it comes to your relationship and we can offer you support and options. We’re also completely confidential and anonymous. Please call us at 1-800-799-7233 whenever you need to talk.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate VG

  33. Laura says:

    Hello there my name is Laura I am 26yrs Old, I live with my partner and I was just wondering if the same thing is happening to me. I have been in my relationship with my partner for 4 years and I think I am experiencing gas-lighting at home, I have been through some very emotional and negative times and was wondering if anyone could give me an explanation and what to do.

    My partner and me when we argue it always has to be his way and my way is the wrong way and I am told that I am being crazy, mad, mental and need help when I feel I can’t express my emotional outcries …I have been to the point of screaming and crying because of the smallest arguments seem to trigger him off even when I ask him nicely to do something like help me clean up and was the pots and household work ….but it seems to cause arguments ” I have been working night shifts ! , I dont have time for this ! , I am relaxing I’ll do it tomorrow ! ” …..” Your being mental …or crazy you need psychiatric help !” …” If you dont stop crying I WILL LEAVE YOU !” ….” I’ll stop the phone bill and Internet !” …. ” Your not upset your being silly ! ” …You DONT CARE OR LOVE ME !” . …also when I am trying to look for things or do something that I would like to I feel that sometimes I am constantly apologising and needing to all the time feel sorry for myself and I feel so belittled and degraded. I feel very very very alone and somewhat emotionally battered the other day I had an argument over my job which I am having trouble keeping due to my health conditions …I tried to explain everything and he knows everything but just yelled at me ” YOU EXPECT ME TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING !!! … I am LEAVING !, SHUT UP STOP CRYING! ” ..

    I also dont feel I get any emotion when I say I love you it sounds robotic …sometimes and the only time I get hugs is when I sleep or when he wants to have sex ….through the day I dont seem to see any emotions ….even during arguments he calls me a spoiled brat and I get what I want all the time which is not the case …sometimes I have to feel like I need to live in denial and do what he wants …or he’ll throw a huuge temper fit. many times I have thought of seeking help or thought of running away but I have no where really to go .. as my mother and step-father have no room for me .I have tried so so so hard to stand up to him but I feel I cant because he just tells me I am stupid and need help and to shut up and stop crying… I have had to even one time reduce myself to get his attention by trying to get him to get off the xbox …by telling him to listen to me or I’ll cut the wires for you to hear me and listen to me but he turned it around on me and said to his friends shes being crazy and trying to stab me ! ….All I ever needed was someone to listen to I am at the moment at the stage of struggling to clean up after him and his friends …and I have to live in a tip ! ….and having to be forever feeling sorry for myself I have tried everything !

    Please can you help me ? ,I would be truly grateful.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Laura,

      Thank you for sharing your situation with us. Emotional and verbal abuse are extremely affecting. We know how serious these attack are and how they make a person feel lost and confused. Abusers do blame their partners for everything. Remember they want power and control over you so they attack your self-esteem and make you feel like everything you do is wrong.

      From what you have written, it sounds like he is being emotionally manipulative by withholding his emotions from you. His lack of affection could be a way of upsetting you and making you wonder if he loves you. Again this is a way to have more power and control. I can imagine this situation frustrates you and that you react to the unhealthy environment.

      Unfortunately, most abusers do not change. They will not take responsibility for their abusive behavior. Please call us to discuss your situation further. You may want to consider calling your local domestic violence hotline to get some guidance around what options you have. The number for the National Domestice Violence Hotline is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline advocate MT

  34. Mia says:

    My husband has been in the automotive retail sales business 47 years. That’s all he knows. And though it’s not right to judge a person in a certain career field in a unfavorable light but my husband is a master manipulator and very, very charming. A sly fox he is no one knows that he is only looking out for himself. He can turn peoples decisions around on five minutes. He knows who to pump up, flatter, suck up to for a more today’s language term. So many people love him and just don’t know what I know. He is a terrible husband. He is a workaholic and he paints himself as being a hard working loyal guy.
    He is never around to help me out with things. He is not handy but he is terribly cheap. When I saw the kind of money my husband made it’s total BS that I felt I had to get a cheap deal or find a friend to do for practically nothing. My husband always down played serious events that happened to me and everything was always about him. Try to correct him on something and he would get angry . After caring for his mother for two long years daily she passed away and my husband treated me with such disrespect in front of people. It’s like he used me n now didn’t need me any more. My own parents married 47 years until moms death to cancer when I was 26 , never fought not once in front of their two daughters. My father was a great man. My mother so awesome. I know they had differences but to the world they were so united and nothing could get between them. My parents never prepared me for how people are in the real world. I’m a super on tune person who at a young age was visiting the elderly in my neighborhood because I knew they lonely and they liked having visitors. No other kids cared about anyone but themselves. I could feel pain others felt. So when my manipulation husband is later working me it took a long time before I caught on. It was had from the start. One tragic event after another. I’m constantly mopping up problems he created. He avoids intimacy by working all the time and by pitching fits when he doesn’t want to answer questions. I started using drugs to numb the pain and my husband would rage and talk such h

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hi Mia,

      Thank you for sharing your story. It’s sounds so frustrating and tiring to have to deal with all the mind games your husband plays. Many abusers are like him, manipulative and lacking remorse for their actions. Abusers also tend to present a different picture to the outside world. We hear this all the time; the abuser is a terrible partner behind closed doors and presents himself as a great person in public. You and your parents sound like wonderful, caring people. It must have been a shock to realize that anyone could be as manipulative or abusive as your husband. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

      Using drugs to numb the pain and trauma is more common than most people assume. In fact, many abusers may even pressure you to keep using drugs in order to justify their abuse and to have more control over you. It’s not easy dealing with abuse or trauma and it sounds like you’re doing your best to stay okay in the situation. If you ever need to talk about your relationship or what options you might have, please feel free to call us at 1-800-799-7233. We’re here 24/7, completely confidential and anonymous.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate VG

  35. Star says:

    My now ex that I dated since April (I broke up with him in November) constantly gas lighted me. The part that stands out the most to me is he would constantly tell me I was stupid for feeling certain ways – our relationship started out rocky as he tried to cheat with many of my friends, but he convinced me I was stupid for believing my friends who I had known much better and longer than I had knew him. I constantly felt worthless, un-needed, like a sex toy. Eventually he wouldn’t even speak unless he wanted sex. If I ever told him how bad it made me feel to be treated in such a way, he’d call me stupid again. It was always something wrong with me – never him.

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hi Star,

      Thank you for sharing. Your feelings are always valid. I believe most people would have felt exactly like you did in your relationship. We also know that abusers can be extremely manipulative to the point that you question your own judgment and experiences. It’s not surprising that he was able to manipulate you into feeling bad for feeling the way you feel or for questioning his bad behavior. You had every right to let him know that the way he was treating you was not okay and that it made you feel awful. You were communicating with him and trying to make the relationship healthy. Unfortunately, he only wanted to have power and control, not a healthy relationship.

      I’m so happy you were able to leave your ex. You deserve to be in a happy, healthy relationship. If you ever want to talk about your experience or need resources, we’re here for you 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. We’re completely confidential and anonymous.

      Take Care,
      Hotline Advocate VG

  36. Lea says:

    I’m sitting here crying reading all these because up until 2 years ago I never knew any of this stuff even existed. Here I am 45 years old trying to pull myself out of this hole. Gaslighting, sociopath to the fullest extreme. I’m lost, confused. No one knows (exept you people) know what im going thru. They tell me I’m angry. The professionals say I should be in treatment. Like Michelle I started taking screen shots because I know I was going to have to cover my ass. This guys is a monster. No where near the guy I met 2 years go. I honestly dont think ill ever get close to a man again. I just dont want to. My heart is shattered. Here’s my delima and I do plan on coming back to talk during your chat sessions. I already know the answer to this but i want to destroy him. No one knows the person he is. He has everyone duped. You can even read his Yelp from work all the woean go goo goo over him. Makes me want to throw up. But, then i look like the bitter ex gf. Idk i was always told “when you dont know what to do,,,,do nothing”. thank you all for listening.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Lea,

      Thank you for sharing your situation with us. I am sorry that you are going through this abuse and hope you can find the way out of it soon. I can imagine that your heart is shattered. I hope that you can find the help you need to believe in relationships again one day. So you speak about wanting revenge. Some women who are in abusive relationship feel that way. You see others thinking the abuser is such a wonderful person when you know that is a lie. Maybe this is something you could speak with a therapist about? Please call us to talk about this. The number for the National Domesic Violence hotline is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline advocate MT

  37. KRH says:

    So many of the listed criteria fit perfectly. What makes me most confused though is he constantly says that he is being abused. He will look at something like this and say other people do these things to him. Then he tells his few friends and coworkers who do not know him very well that I am not only crazy but that I have all sorts of mental disorders and am abusive. A few times (he actually did this last night) he will print out abusive criteria or mental disorders and highlight all of the areas he claims I have. It is always a different list. He has a BA in Psychology and therefore assumes he is qualified to diagnose anyone, and frequently does.

    I have never laid my hands on him, though he has me. He does things though like pull my hair when he is screaming so he can pull my ear closer to him, but then denies ever doing such a thing. He tells me I am crazy and am making it up so that people will feel bad for me. Or he will throw a cup at me if he is mad and its in his hands and later he says he only through the water on me and that Im lying. He will lie to his friends, family and coworkers who then in turn are extremely rude to me making me feel very alone. When I see them I feel very embarrassed as they believe all of these lies about me. The few times Ive stood up for myself they attack me with odd lies that they have been told. The first time I met my husbands good friend from high school about two years into our relationship, his first words after introducing himself to me were, “Dont think I dont know the things you have done to to him. I know what type of person you are.” It was very awkward and uncomfortable and when I asked my husband later about it, he told me he was just messing with me. I have come to learn that he was not at all.

    Of course I have my own friends and family. They all dislike him and after 10 years see his abusive nature. At first they all thought he was so sweet and good to me. Little by little he started to let his behavior slip in front of some of them. He now hates all of them. He says they are all liars, horrible people, criminals (I have no idea where this even comes from, it is totally odd), etc. Yet other times when he is angry he will tell me how my family secretly thinks Im crazy or a horrible partner, etc too.

    We cant even drive down the street without him being irritated about something…the way EVERYONE else drives, what people are doing, what they are wearing, how they look. He makes comments loudly in public places about other peoples clothing or look. Then if I ask him not to do that or say something like, “Well honey everyone has their own style even if we dont like it.” He gets super angry towards me, tells me Im always trying to start fights with him or makes other rude comments about the persons character.

    He will randomly come home and open the dishwasher to put his coffee cup in from work and become irate the dishwasher isnt loaded how he wants. Or the paper towels are not where he wants them or whatever it is that day. Or the dishes in the cupboard are not put away like he wants. He will start slamming cupboards or dishes after that. One time he made me get up and have a lesson on how I should load the dishwasher, literally screaming the whole time in my face. If I ever try to explain there might be more than one right way to do something or why I put something somewhere, he just responds that Im ignorant or stupid and that he is doing it the right way. If I dont remember where I placed something he flips our and tells me I am a liar and starts screaming and yelling for hours on end until I “Admit” I was lying to upset him. When I confront him about yelling he says, “Well I wouldnt act like this if you didnt do the things you do” . Then later he flat out says Im lying or exaggerating.

    I am in the Army Reserves and he is medically retired from the AF after being pushed out for PTSD. I think he also has some resentment about this and has been worse since I joined even though he said he would be supportive. While I was in training he would constantly do things like accuse me of cheating with every person in my class. Or I would get out of class at 7 and call to talk to the kids. I would have a missed call from 5 when he got off work. He would then not answer and text me back that if I had wanted to talk to the kids I would have answered when he called and then tell me Im a liar and I got out of class at 5, when I didnt. Or I would call and he wouldnt answer at all and then he would text me really late and say the kids were already asleep. On other days he would text me what a horrible mother I am for not talking to my kids enough. When we would fight he would text me he was going to take my dog to the pound and have her put down or that he was moving all of my belongings out and I would never see the kids again. I could go on and on here. I would wake up some mornings after a disagreement and have 50 text messages calling me names and telling me how horrible I am and how I dont love my kids, etc.

    One of the other things that has caused conflict is his hypocrisy. He will constantly mumble rude things under his breath, but if I dare once in a while mumble anything, all heck breaks lose…he will start calling me names, cursing, screaming in my face, breaking things and then blame it all on me. Even if what I mumbled was not something about him, he insists I am a liar and that it was. The one time I calmly at a later time brought up it hurt me that he constantly does the same thing yet gets very angry the few times I have, he became enraged and told me not to talk about what he does and to fix myself.

    He punches walls when he gets mad, throws things, slams doors, will follow me around the house until I listen and he is done. If I lock myself in a bathroom he just yells for an hour or two through the door or he picks the lock. Yet I am the one apologizing. Even when I have asked him to apologize out of some hope he feels remorse, he tells me not to ask him and the he will on his own, yet he NEVER has or does. Then if I bring it up he gets irate.

    I find myself not telling my friends anymore what happens because they just want me to leave and they are frustrated. I lie about his behavior often to minimize it too or I make excuses….”Its his PTSD, he was abused as a child, etc.”

    Lately he has been worse as I finally called the police on him. Unfortunately when the police came at first they didnt believe me. They said it was he said-she said. Luckily I had audio recorded part of it and after listening to it they believed me and they took him. They couldnt use the recording in court however and I didnt want to testify so they dropped the charges. He started going to anger management before the court date but now he wont go. He said the DA dropping the charges proves I was lying and making stuff up. Now he is mad because the police took all his guns (We had 6 and I only knew about 2 of them before the police came) and he has not received them back yet. That is my fault too. He is waiting for some letter from DOJ and has not received it but almost everyday this week he has made really rude comments that I stole the letter.

    I am worried about leaving because he constantly lies about what I do or what he does. While I have pictures of some the abuse like holes in the wall, scratches on my arms and back and even a few texts messages where he in the beginning admitted to some minor things, I dont think any of it will be enough. I am very worried if I leave that he will get joint custody of the kids and I worry for their safety. He has never directly physically abused them but constantly abuses me in front of them. He also has done some very oddly cruel things to them but I dont have proof and theyre quite young. Like my three year old daughter take a sippy cup of milk to bed. One evening she came in my room crying and shivering. I picked her up and she was soaked. I told my husband she was wet and his response was, “Yep, she dumper her milk on her so I told her she had to sleep like that.” I went in her room and she in fact had not dumper her milk, he had given her a thermos instead of a sippy cup and it leaked all over her. He was irate I changed her and that started his yelling and screaming too. Or when she was 2 and still potty training, she pooped in her pull up and he told her how disgusting she was and made her go change it herself. I intervened and helped her (She was crying and had poop on her hand from trying to clean herself) and he became irate at that. Or while I was gone and we were facetiming he was trying to change her diaper and she wouldnt hold still (she was a little over 2 at the time maybe 26 months) he started spanking her what seemed like really hard over the facetime. I obviously was upset as we had discussed not spanking them and he told me I wasnt there so I had no say and then he hung up on me and wouldnt let me talk to the kids. Im concerned this behavior will escalate or if Im not there and he is upset he will start taking it out on them. Whenever our daughter does something he doesnt like he tells her and me she is evil.

    I dont want to leave and then have him get the kids or even partial custody without him have supervision or something. He tells me that wont happen though because he has never done anything and that Im crazy. He also tells me his friends know he is a good father. Then threatens that because Im in the military he will get custody of them.I want/need to be there to protect them.

    I also dont leave because somewhere deep down I feel like I owe it to him to help him or to try to get him counseling or something (He actually goes as its mandated by his retirement through the VA. Plus then I see how nice he is to his friends and other people and I keep feeling like their is something wrong with me.

    Im at a loss.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear KRH,
      What a difficult situation you are in. The abuse by your partner is intense and so controlling. It is true that they will use any and all situations to blow up, i.e. dishwasher not stacked properly, poor driving, etc. I can understand why your friends and family do not like him. They see how he is treating you and are deeply concerned. Your letter details so many levels of abuse it is hard to know where to start. It is clear that he is not taking any responsibility for his abusive behavior.

      I know you are afraid to leave him because he may get joint custody of the children. I would just point out that by staying; your children are living in constant fear in an abusive household. Maybe you could fight for supervised visitation of the children if you decided to leave him?

      Ultimately you are the only person that can change your life. You deserve to be happy and you and your children deserve to live without domestic violence. You have tried for a long time to help him and he hasn’t changed. In fact things sound like they’re getting worse. Remember no one can change or save another person, we can only change and save ourselves.

      Please get help for yourself. There are domestic violence agencies that can meet with you to look at your options. They also have therapy and support groups to get you through these difficult times. Call us for this information. The number for the National Domestic Violence hotline is (800) 799-7233.

      Most sincerely,
      Hotline Advocate MT

    • caroline says:

      The only two times my husband hurt me was once when he caught me in an affair, I asked to go inside let him clear the driveway so we could talk off the street, My AP thought since my husband was now a cripple that needed to use a cane to stand up he was going to humiliate him, As my husband walked past leaning heavily on his cane and my AP decided to use his foot to sweep it. My husband turned over and all I saw was rage, MY AP was standing there laughing and saying how pathetic as I tried shoving him for the door. To try and calm my husband and get him to understand why things came to this, and figure out what to do from this point since a divorce was not possible due to a guardianship , I looked and saw my husband take the tip off that heavy red oak cane of his, I saw him sit up and draw back with the canes pointing at us, I saw it whiz past my face, and impact My AP in the side of his head tip first and I heard his scull fracture, dropping him straight to the floor. My husband then dragged himself over and every time the other man showed he was awake my husband would hit him with his fists, I was afraid my husband was going to kill him so I tried holding his arm and was swatted across the room, while he continued hitting the other man screaming who’s pathetic now It ended with my husband in a stress center for rage control and anger management, Two weeks latter he came home before his father said he would to find me just finishing getting ready to go to a political fund raiser with his fathers best friend. New dress shoes the whole package When I found my very angry husband in the living room,
      I told him it was a favor for his father, and his best friend, that I would be back in four or five hours after the event, then we could talk, my husbands answer was a NO, he expected something else he said I could grab my purse and coat and get out the door that second, from there he did not care where I went but if I was still standing there the next second he was not going to be responsible for what happened, I was not coming back in the door, I paniced, I said I will tell you what, I will go to the event, you just tell me where to meet you after the event and I will call your mother and father to meet us there, We will sit like reasonable human beings and get everything hashed through to every ones satisfaction, I said there has to be a compromise to get him something he wanted in life, he said he wanted all of us dead, he was not going to compromise or allow one more promise to be made, just to have me, his father or his friends break it again like we had done every other time over the last 31 years, he said he had put a roof over my head, food on my table, heat In my home and luxuries like furniture he never sees except in passing he said I owed 31 years of marriage and would accept no more waiting for what was due him as a husband.
      I tried running for the door at that point and he said to late, he ripped my new dress off, and took my arm and was heading to the bedroom he said either I cooperated now or not it would not change the outcome, I begged please not like this but he did not listen, he used no protection and left me sore because I resisted, I went and put on a dressing gown. and sat on the bed crying My husband put his shorts on and went to answer the door to a very surprised friend, His fathers friend was not used to people except my husband mouthing off to him because of his political status as a county commissioner, my husband if he did not agree with the president would not hesitate to say he was a fool to his face, as it was his fathers best friend had earned only his hate,
      Since the family is now in therapy I have found out that every thing stems from brutality on his fathers a his friends part that was commited on my husband seven years before we even met when he was a senior in high school, it was a situation that my husband was not going to allow political consideration consign him to a second sring positon on the football team he got so rough with four school board members sons the quit the team and he took over the position with several other s that I guess were consigned t second string by poltical need. at that time the commissioner was a school board member and his sophomore son was one that was quiting, he also is one who with his father decided my husband needed to learn his place, and when my husband stepped out of his car knocked my husband out with a golf driver, when he woke up his father demanded an apology and they would not do what they were going to do to teach him a lesson. as we found out in ne of the sessions the scars my husband had on his back was not from getting dragged through trees like I thought in air assault training in the army, It turns out my husband woke up tied to a tree his father, his best friend and several other men were going to teach my husband a lesson. When he would not say he was sorry they took sections of extention cord and whipped him with it until he passed out.
      His father blames him for this going on so long, said if he would have cried out they would have stopped, as it was I found out it required 153 sutures to close the gasjhs in his back. In essence I helped men who were in reality the worst monsters I could imagine hurt some more a man who had been hurt many times over by these same men.
      I am worried right now about next months cruise, my husbands defiance is riding very high, and I really don’t know what to do. if I go without my husband I lose any right I have to our son, if I go with him on my arm I lose many friends.
      My mother and mother in law say my husband is going to have his way this time, I have offered a compromise that was refused of allowing him to pick a vacation in three years of his choosing if he cancels this one and allow things go as originally planned, that is a no, I asked him if I promised we would go someplace after my return he wanted, if that would be accepted, another no. He said he is not waiting for what is due him ever again, he really could careless who swoons, has a heart attack, or ran screaming to jump in the ocean because he was there, he said he was not a stuck up horses rear end. he had nobody he needs to impress.
      So you can see my dilemma if I don’t want my husband angry and unhappy any more I go as his escort, if he comes everyone but my husband, his mother, sister and brother will be unhappy he is there. I told his father everybody better get used to the idea my husband is calling the shots now. I am not going to get him angry with me.
      the situation should have been so simple from the day he arrived home in 1985, I should have met him at his fathers front door and gone someplace and had our way with each other,
      Instead I let people tell me that my husband needed controlled for every ones good, I became scared of the man I should have supported at every turn, He has spent since 2001 just retaking his rights and yes because all concerns wanted him in a place of their choosing. he had to resort to violence when he was blocked getting help else where to get out of the situation he was in. So now we have to accept his way. Both legally and morally, I was told a way to get him off this cruise, but it would mean me coming home to a locked home, my husband and son disappeared into the mountains where no one would find them if my husband chose to hide. he knows every canyon and place in the black hills he lived there to long. and he has two horses to take him.. So now I have to much I can lose.

      • HotlineAdmin_MT says:

        Hi Caroline,

        Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your story. It sounds like a really complex and difficult situation that might be best served by connecting with you directly. If you’d like, we’d be happy to talk with you about your situation and come up with some strategies to help you through this. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, or by online chat 7am-2am CST at We hope to talk with you soon!

  38. Kate says:

    This happened for 19 years in my marriage and then I divorced the man. He started doing it to the kids and that was the last straw! I thought it was me throughout our marriage. Everyone acknowledged what a great husband he was and then this was happening at home and at church–because he’s a man, his opinion was worth more in our church circle of “friends”. Even years after, if someone questions what I say, I revert back to wondering if it actually happened the way I remember it, even when they correct themselves later. It is a despicable way of trying to control someone.

  39. Nicole says:

    I’ve been dating a guy for 2 years. 6 years age difference. We lived in the same city for the first 7 months then I moved away. I have a very successful job 6 hours away, a graduate from one of the top schools in the country, great and supportive family and friends. I’m very loving, cheerful and friendly. He started and didn’t finish school. He works for a family member. Terrible relationships with his parents and siblings due to his irresponsibility and broken promises. After 3 months of dating I caught him cheating face to face in which he continued to do so in front of me. After asking for forgiveness, I took him back with the condition he doesn’t speak to her again. Few weeks later, he got caught still texting her. I moved away for work. I started catching on many of the lies such as: his drinking problems, not able to hang with friends and socially drinking but getting absolutely hammered, texting other girls, started verbally abusing me, he’d tell he’s at one place when he’s really at another, etc. In between all of these lies, there were promises and swears made by him to change only for things to calm down then 3-4 days later and it’s time to party and disappear again, he’d say that he’s suffocating and break every promise he made…. OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. He started embarrassing me in front his friends, belittling me in front of them when I visit or on the phone, etc. He would deny certain things he said or tell me something absolutely hurtful then tell me “well I didn’t mean it that way.” Any time I’m sick, undergoing surgery, have death in the family, stressed out from work or personal matters, he just wasn’t there at all while I hear he’s helping out any other friend or girl that is in need. When things would calm down, he would create problems such as calling me drunk at 3am and telling me he’s about to call his ex-gf or lie to me and tell me that she’s calling him. I threatened to call her myself (although I don’t have her number) with the hopes of him stopping, he put me on three-way with her without me knowing and started calling me “stupid”, “an idiot””he doesn’t want to be with me” “that if I called her she would just laugh at me”… and then he said her name and she said “hello” and I find out she was on the phone the entire time. Alongside all of this, he gets drunk and doesn’t show up to work. Constantly getting fired from his job and rehired after making promises until he breaks them again.

    We got to the point where I am fed up, cannot trust his words or promises anymore, don’t believe he will change, question a lot of things he says… And now instead of him realizing that I got to this point with him ONLY because of the cheating, the lying, the broken promises to change and do better, the promises to not verbally abuse me anymore… The apologies, the flowers, the once angry and once sweet text messages from (depending on his mood), the promises… nothing works anymore. I’m fed up. If he messes up and I do no contact rule, he would accuse me of cheating as the reason I don’t want to talk to him. If I do respond, he waits until I’m comfortable again with him then he’ll attack and picks at every word I said and FORCES me to apologize even though I never said anything. We got better for a week then he exploded on me for ABSOLUTELY no reason and said it was because he never gets to tell me how I feel. I ALWAYS ask him to communicate with me and give me feedback but he’s always too busy with friends, partying or sleeping to tell me anything then he waited until we were perfect again to wipe the floor with my dignity and blamed EVERYTHING on me because of my lack of trust although HE ADMITS that it’s HIS fault that I can’t trust his word. Our last conversation ended 8 days ago with me telling him, “I can’t do this anymore because when I’m strong you accuse me of cheating, when I cry you call me a child and a baby, when I’m silent you tell me I’m cold, when I try to communicate you don’t have time. I can’t do this. You met me fresh out of college, excited about life and ready to take on a new chapter in my life…” and he interrupted me and said, “and I ruined it all of you?” I said, “this relationship’s negativity did!” and he replies with, “have a nice life.” Hung up on me. Since then, neither one of us reached out to the other and he hasn’t tried to call me back or text me. Part of me is glad to not talk because I’m healthier and feeling better and healing, and part of me feels defeated and depressed because after EVERYTHING he did, this is how I get treated in the end because I chose to stand with him and be patient. I have no clue what to do anymore because gaslighting is exactly how I feel has happened to me because I don’t even trust myself and my judgement anymore on what was said and done and what was wrong or right. He denies everything or apologies for everything depending on his mood and what he has on the agenda in the evening to use me as entertainment or ignore me because he’s too busy to deal with it.

  40. Lucy says:

    Thank you for the article. I ended an abusive relationship 4 years ago but it still continues….When I ended the relationship my then partner, cut off my phone hurt himself and called the police and had me arrested. He is not the biological father of my child but he kept my child and through me out in the street. He has powerful friends and did a lot of those tactics and won sole custody of my child. I have visitation I see my child once a month . Each time I see my child he crys and says he does not want to leave me. I have written to many organizations including the President but no one will help me. The only thing I do is pray. My ex sends me abuse texts and email and calls and I have presented that is court but since the judge is my exs friend all of my evidence gets thrown out, the case dismissed and I end up having to pay his legal fee, I pay child support and he makes 6 figures and I am on disability barely surviving. I just dont know what to do. The reason why I look here is to try to find someway of coping he sends me email and texts with nothing but lies…I cant even respond to them because they are full of lies. I just dont know what to do.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Lucy,

      Thank you for sharing your tragic story with us. I am sorry you have had to endure so much abuse from your ex-partner an I am sorry that you are separated from your child. Please call the hotline so that we can help you find resources that may help. The National Domestic Violence hotline phone number is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate MT

  41. jayne says:

    My ex use to gaslight me. Saying I was nuts. I went to counselling and she informed me I wasn’t nuts and my partner was abusing me. I was so angry.. it brought about a useful divorce.. my ex actually got angry that I had the cheek to leave him.. after l the years of panic attacks and being depressed. On anti depressants etc.. anyway. The same is starting to happen again.. being belittled. Told how wonderful.his ex was and what a great relationship they had

    • HotlineAdmin_RF says:

      Thank you for reaching out to our blog community. It sounds as though you have been in a very frightening situation, gaslighting can be confusing and I am glad to see you found a counselor that was helpful for you. I can see that you are trusting your instincts and feeling that this relationship is heading down an abusive path. Putting you down and talking up an ex can be red flags for abuse and future abuse. Remember that you are not bringing this behavior on yourself and you deserve to feel happy and safe in your relationship.
      We are here 24 hours a day and completely anonymous and confidential. Anything that we can do to be a helpful support system please feel free to give us a call at 800-799-7233.
      Take Care,
      Hotline Advocate RF

  42. A says:

    Thank you for this article. I have been struggling to get out of a relationship that has included a variety of manipulations including “gaslighting”, a term I had never hear until today. I have experienced its effects and most of the 14 signs listed at the end of the article. Why have I put up with this?! Well, we all know how difficult it is when you are living inside a twisted, controlling environment. I will be kind and understanding of myself, and I hope others fighting against this kind of abuse know they are understood and upheld as well. Thank you for making this kind of advice and information available to all of us who need it!

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear A,

      We are glad that you found the article on “gaslighting” useful and informative. “Gaslighting” is a form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power. You’re right that this can break you down and keep you in an abusive realtionship. I hope you will call us so that we discuss your situation and help you change your life. You deserve to be happy, loved, and treated with respect. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate MT

  43. Eric says:

    O my god. I just realized yesterday after 14 years that I am actually the one who is a victim of abuse, I saw the word “torture” somewhere and that is exactly how it feels, but I am a man so I move on and take care of things…. right? My ex wife constantly did this to me and my head would spin, some days I would get so angry and then she would play the victim of verbal abuse. I couldn’t be quiet, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t respond to anything but as it turns out I’m not a crazy mess of a human being and there is a name to this. If I didn’t happen to read some silly “If your man does any of these 5 things run away” article on the yahoo homepage I have been looking for it for years… Gaslighting. Ok? O my god I am the one who remembered things correctly and it’s actually too much to comprehend right now how much this changes my thinking about myself.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear Eric,

      Thank you for sharing this epiphany you had with us. We are getting more and more calls from men who are or have been victims of abuse. Many victims talk about how they feel like they’re going crazy. This is part of the manipulation that the abuser puts forth. It is like a spiders web that keeps us stuck and in turmoil. Nothing you do, whether it is being quiet or talking back to the abuser, changes the situation. I am so glad this article helped you understand what you were experiencing. Please call us if you would like to discuss this further. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-7233).

      Hotline Advocate MT

  44. Bill says:

    I am a father of a son and daughter. My wife, with Pre-menstrual syndrome, has threatened with divorce every month for 12 years. It has made me unhappy to hear things like: If you don’t like it, we can divorce… Apart from childish, it is a threat of family disintegration. Looking at her past, she has been brought up by a single mother who has used bad language against her son and daughter (my wife) all her life. The father died when my wife was 9 years old. Additionally, everyone in her family is divorced. It’s a family culture. With the previously mentioned, my wife thinks she has the right to use bad language on me. After 3 years of verbal abuse, in 2006 I finally confronted her and stated that: she could seek help or I would start defending myself over time due to her insults and monthly divorce threats. It took me 3 years to come to terms with this decision and it is not a good one, but I love my children and won’t let her insult me. When I told her that I would start defending myself, I had first sold my marital ring as a sign of protest; this didn’t make her react and that caught my attention (no feelings or body movements of shock). Then, I told her that if she kept on insulting me, divorce threatening me on a monthly basis, and didn’t seek help, that I would certainly defend myself throughout the years. First, I would push her back on any offense, then I would start punching shoulders, then I would go face up. Since 2006, her problems have broiled up. Today, she threatens with knives to kill and thinks that I cannot ask my daughter to turn off the computer because she has been using it a lot. My son says a bad word to me copying his mother, and earns a slap on the face, then a domestic fight begins. Reasoning with this woman will only get the following gasligthing techniques: Withholding, blocking/deviating, trivializing, forgetting/denial, and even new ones: banging the table, raising her voice, not caring to have a violent confrontation with children present or in the middle of a fight zone (worst part), etc. I have trained my daughter to take her brother away when a fight start, even if the voice of my wife starts raising. I consider myself fortunate since I don’t get affected by the technique of withholding and don’t care about it either. Caring for and raising children are more important issues than a momentary self-satisfaction.
    As for what negative values and feelings I’ve learnt with my wife, here are two:
    a) I had never understood the concept of infidelity; with my wife, the idea sounds tempting, but I still fight it, although I have dated adult women about my age during my marriage and found that the women I dated were either friendly oriented and not bound for relationships (good), not interested in dating adult men even for a meal, or down right silly. I have felt the joy of speaking to women just for sharing a conversation that I cannot have with my wife.
    b) Hoping her to die of natural causes: really, it is such a negative feeling that even I feel absolutely disgusted with myself and also ashamed about the thought.
    I now believe that my wife is not only a gaslighter, but also a narcissist. She did not feel any emotion when I protested, she likes to be the way she is and thinks she’s right about it, uses all of the techniques mentioned above and more, uses family unity as the catch to retain a victim, has degenerated into a person that divides the family, has a golden son who is going to become a problem to himself in the future with her bad lessons, is immature beyond belief, does not recognize how she has affected me emotionally, also uses physical violence, never considered my request to stop insulting, comes from a really negative family background based on divorce and insulting, etc. I am no saint either, but I would have definitely never acted like this with a more normal person. My mistake: thinking her ill will would go away during our first 3 years of marriage.

    • HotlineAdmin_RF says:

      Thank you so much for reaching out to our blog community. I can see that you have faced a lot of challenges and abuse in your relationship. We do know that abuse is a choice, even when someone grows up in an unhealthy situation they are still capable of choosing to have healthy relationships. Unfortunately, if the abuser doesn’t believe that they are doing something wrong then that behavior may continue, and not only continue but worsen over time. You mentioned that there have been several protests to try and discontinue the abuse, that can be a difficult thing to hold on to yourself, because you cannont affect her behavior if she is deciding to continue to abuse. I am glad to see that you have included your children in your safety plan. You have been through quite a lot in this relationship and I see a strength in your words, you should be proud of the steps you have made so far. I encourage you to reach out to your support system or to our program, you deserve to have support as you go through this.
      Of course if you need any support or resources we are available here at 800-799-7233 24 hours a day and are completely anonymous and confidential.
      Take Care,
      Hotline Advocate RF

  45. Nikki says:

    I have been married for 23 years in May – I have recently just “woken up” to the fact that it is NOT ME! I stopped taking my prozac 3 weeks ago after taking it for over 4 years. I went on it when I started counseling after being severely depressed and having suicidal thoughts. I could never pinpoint the source of my depression, except that in counseling I discussed how my husband is habitual pot smoker and I have been living with a child – him being my 5th child, since we have 4. After I came upon this site yesterday, I got chills…this is me…what has been happening to me all these years. I have not been able to communicate with my husband – I am made to feel like it is “all in my head” and was almost resolved the fact that maybe it was! My feelings were never validated – he could never admit any wrong, so it was all put back on me, like talking to a wall. This started off gradually, then finally I have gotten where I am now – I don’t even want to bother talking to him. I don’t like who I am when I am with him – I know now that I am an amazing person – I am productive, smart, talented, awesome mother to my amazing children. I have, indeed, finally woken up! I realize that if I had been able to deal with the cause of my depression and had recognized it then, I would not have needed the meds…I am now not sure if I want to stay in this relationship – I feel there is no resolving the issues when it cannot be met with maturity and mutual respect. My husband wants to be intimate, but we have been basically not talking for a month now, as I have a protective wall around myself and do not see it coming down. Is there a way to fix this situation? I feel I have wasted half my life with a man I now detest…

    • HotlineAdmin_RF says:

      Thank you so much for your contribution to our blog community. I am so glad that you found us! Abusers can be very skilled in gaslighting and making you believe that the way you feel and the way that behave is all your fault. I can see the strength in what you write to us and it sounds as though you have been facing some huge transitions lately. You have been through a lot with this person, it is natural to feel the need to continue to protect yourself. You mentioned that you did not like the person that you were with him and I am so happy to see that you have been feeling that transformation. You are indeed all of those things! And your partner has no right to make you doubt that you are deserving of anything but happiness and love. Support systems and education can be a huge help as you see yourself changing and shifting. If you have people in your life that you can lean on, take advantage of it, or use programs like ours, or local programs to help you along the way. We are available her 24 hours and are completely anonymous through our hotline at 800-799-7233.
      Take Care,
      Hotline Advocate RF

  46. Joan says:

    My partner of several years displayed signs of this early on and I attributed his behavior to stress. Deep inside I knew it was not right to be dismissed, criticized, humiliated, ignored, etc., but I rationalized that he was overworked. Sadly, even after he left his position and was supported by me, his behavior continued. I am on the verge of leaving. He will act like he doesn’t care. More manipulation.

    The hardest parts are 1) that he has manipulated my children into thinking he’s just a grumpy guy (not an abuser) and they kind of feel sorry for his “inabilities” to be normal and 2) both my family and his family think I’m exaggerating because his behaviors are so very subtle. It’s important to think about the cycle of violence and even though what I have experienced is not physical violence, it is still an act of violence (imo) to emotionally abuse someone. So, with regard to the cycle of violence, things are not always bad. He does occasionally admit to certain things and will act like he wants to change, but the cycle plays out again and again, quite predictably in my case.

    I will be okay. I’m older and financially secure and my children are well-adjusted and older, but I do regret that I lost some years on this guy and that my children had to form a relationship with someone like him. What a waste. Life does go on, however, and everyone is entitled to (and deserves) happiness. Each of these situations I’m reading about seem to have a unique twist. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you didn’t check all the boxes, that your situation is okay. If you don’t feel okay, it’s not okay.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hello Joan,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with our online community. It can be difficult to speak out about the abuse you’ve survived, especially when you haven’t gotten the support you needed from friends and family in the past. Many people who choose to be abusive carefully manipulate a very different public image, and that can impact the support available to their partner. Emotional abuse is very dangerous and hurtful, and it must have been so hard to see your partner also manipulating your children.

      You absolutely have the right to be safe and respected. I’m so glad to hear that you’re in the process of getting free and healing from the trauma of the abuse. It can be heartbreaking to accept that the abuse is your partner’s choice and not a result of circumstances; no one wants to be intentionally hurt by someone they love and trust. It’s normal for that recognition process to take time. If you’d like to talk more about your experiences, know that we’re always here. You can reach our advocates by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and all conversations are confidential and anonymous.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

  47. Melissa2 says:

    I’m wondering what people do when they feel trapped in a living situation and what the steps are for becoming free. I’ve unfortunately gotten myself into a very difficult situation; living with my fiancé of 5 years who has (especially over the past 7 months) become aggressive and emotionally abusive. I’ve read articles on “gaslighting” and they describe my situation perfectly. I feel so afraid because I don’t know how to leave. My fiancé owns the house (although we share the mortgage and other expenses 50/50), but the house is full of my belongings, furniture, etc. Also, we share a cat together whom I love with all my heart and I simply could not leave my cat. I don’t have any children, and the cat is extremely important and beloved to me. I know if I leave, my fiancé will become aggressive and vindictive. I am terrified he will change the locks on the house and keep my things, not let me take the cat when I leave, destroy my property, etc. I have tried to think about packing my things secretly and moving them, but I have no idea how to do this without him noticing. Plus I have a physical injury which has made me basically disabled – it would be impossible for me to move furniture, heavy boxes, etc., on my own without hiring movers to help me. My family is scattered and parents have both been unwell recently so I’d basically be on my own in this. What do people do in this situation? I feel almost literally petrified and can’t see a way out.

    • HotlineAdmin_VG says:

      Hello Melissa2,

      Thank you for writing this. You’ve highlighted a major challenge that domestic violence presents. For many people in domestic violence relationships feelings of being trapped are quite common. This is because the abusers are not strangers, they are people who have often enmeshed themselves into the survivor’s life in such a way as the survivor cannot easily walk away. It sounds like you have a number of challenges to finding safety, between your cat, your belongings, and the way that gaslighting can make a person feel. However, you also mentioned the escalation in abusive behavior over the past seven months. What we know about abuse is that it often continues to escalate as survivors gain challenges to leaving such as marriage, children, living together, or moving to areas away from their support network. Your safety is important. Many survivors have to make very difficult decisions to exit the abusive relationships, including leaving behind personal belongings and pets, or risking the abuser finding out about the move and attacking them. Others have the resources and find solutions to leave with their pets and their belongings. It often helps to plan your escape to maximize safety. I encourage you to give our Hotline a call at 1-800-799-7233 to brainstorm for those solutions and find out about your local resources. Our advocates are available 24/7 and we keep all conversations anonymous and confidential.


      Hotline Advocate

  48. Paul says:

    Please take note that I’m being psychologically abused. The person responsible for this gas lighting can not be brought to justice. I’ve told them again and again that this is abusive behavior but they insist on acting this way. What should a person do if they’re being constantly stalked and gaslighted?

    • HotlineAdmin_MT says:


      Thank you so much for reaching out. That certainly sounds like a difficult situation that would be best served by communicating with you directly. If you would please call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, we would be happy to discuss your concerns and offer some strategies.

  49. Sarah says:

    Stupid question but do these apply to every relationship, like families? It sounds an awful lot like things my brother does.

    • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for asking that question. For your brother to treat you with any form of abuse including gaslighting is never ok. Although our website is written with intimate partner violence in mind, that doesn’t make these behaviors healthy when they occur in other types of relationships. You always deserve to be treated with respect even during a conflict. If you have any questions, you can reach out to one of our advocates who can also connect you to other resources. We are reachable by chat from 7am to 2am CST and reachable by phone at 1-800-799-7233.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate LC

  50. cin says:

    I just came across the term ‘gas lighting’. I’ve been in a relationship for the last few years and it describes the relationship spot on. Everything I’ve gone through, been through. The only problem is that i don’t know how to get out of it.

    • HotlineAdmin_RG says:


      Thank you for sharing your experience with our online community. Emotional abuse can be really disorienting and it can be difficult to figure out what to do next. I encourage you to contact us directly and speak with one of The Hotline’s advocates. Our advocates can help you explore different options and connect you with local resources. Please know that you can contact us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us from 7am-2am CST.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate RG

  51. Me says:

    I’ve never heard of the term, gas lighting before, but I lived it for 6 years as a young adult, as well as other forms of abuse. I’m glad to see a name for it. I married really young and had two girls. I finally found a way out of that hell. I have been married to my current husband for 27 years. He helped me raise my daughters and we also have two boys together. I just started experiencing depression/anxiety due to stress and was referred to a therapist. She suggested that I may be suffering from PTSD. I found that interesting. It was my first session so we haven’t yet had time to explore that…but is it really possible to suffer PTSD that many years later (28 years)??

    For all the hurting people here: hang in there, document, save whatever money you can and get out ASAP.

    • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

      Hi Me,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. Abuse can have long lasting effects and sometimes the effects of it develop years later. There is nothing that you could have done to deserve to abuse and I am glad to hear that you found a safe and healthy place for yourself. As you move forward in your healing journey I encourage you to care for yourself and reach out to the support that you need. We are always here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 if you ever need our advocates. We are also reachable on chat from 7am to 2am CST.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate LC

  52. Jessica says:

    Hi, I’m so confused about everything in my relationship. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over four years now. I feel overwhelmed like I can’t breathe. I feel numb inside. And even when I want to break down I make myself pretend like I’m okay. And I keep it inside until I break down when I’m alone. My boyfriend and I have good and bad times. But I don’t know where to draw the line. I feel like when we fight I have to back track so far and I start forgetting everything and suddenly I can’t even explain why I did the things I did. When we fight I can’t even talk because I don’t know what to say because I forgot everything. I’ve left him multiple time, the last time was a year ago but some how I always go back. I feel like sometimes I’m the crazy one. He makes me feel awful and tells me I’m selfish and a bad person when we fight. I always end up giving in and apologizing or I know it will never end. I love him, but I’m not the same person I used to be. I constantly second guess myself because I don’t want him to get mad at me for things, or make me feel bad for buying the Starbucks coffee that I wanted to get or the red shirt I liked at Ross. IM afraid to leave because I don’t know how. I love home but I know I’m not happy, but then I start to question all the reasons why I want to leave and suddenly I start forgetting all the things I’m unhappy about. Half the time I feel like I’m drowning and the other half he makes me feel special. But mostly when it’s just the two of us is when things are going good. I never heard of gas lighting until tonight and I feel like that’s what he does to me. He is a very smart man, and he will openly admit how smart he is. I feel like he manipulates me and I can’t get out. Am I going crazy or is this mental/emotional abuse?

    • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

      Hi Jessica,

      What you are describing is abuse and it is never ok for anyone to treat you this way. Having someone you care about manipulate you and make you question yourself is very traumatic to experience. Regardless of what he may try to make you think, his behavior is abuse and it is not something you deserve. Abusive partners are rarely entirely abusive and they often have good qualities that make you love them. This makes it really confusing to know what is right for you. If you would like to reach out to an advocate, we are here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and reachable by chat from 7am to 2am CST.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate LC

  53. Jenn says:

    So, there’s a name for it. My mother has been this way my whole life. I even started keeping all the emails she sent to me because she would deny everything. My ex is the same way. At first, it was emotional abuse. I was crazy, I was too smart (his way of making me feel guilty, if you can believe it), I was fat, sick, I was a terrible housekeeper. He never put the kids and I first, but he was always more than happy to help out a friend or neighbor (one time he bought a truck for a guy that had actually stolen money from my husband’s business, and I didn’t find out about it until it was repo’d.)

    I lost all hope. I slept all day, and when I wasn’t sleeping, I was crying. He moved me 4 hours away from family. 7 years into our marriage, he raped me. He told me that no one would believe me. Two weeks later, I slit both my wrists. I don’t know much of what happened, but someone (I think it was a friend) called 911. They were able to resuscitate me, but I lost a lot of blood. I never left the hospital, I just went straight to the psyche ward.

    I told my family what had happened, but within a few houts, my ex had them totally convinced that I had gone crazy, and that all he did was male love to his wife. When my mom came back and told me this, that he was just a man, a sad, heartbroken husband and father, I was devastated.

    The psychiatrist I saw helped me realize how much I wanted to live, and how I couldn’t thrive in the conditions I was living in, and that my children could on rely on me if I was strong.

    I called my dad, who lived 2900 miles away from me, and asked him if the kids and I could move out there. Without hesitation (my mom had offered several times, and then would say she never did), he said yes. My stepmom flew out to help me pack, and to be the road block between my husband and I. It took us two weeks to get everything in order, but every single night, I’d wake up and my ex would be touching me (we slept in separate rooms, and he would pick the lock), telling me I needed a foot rub, and several times I woke up and he was grinding himself against me. Needless to say, I was left exhausted and constantly on edge. The night before the kids, my stepmom, and I flew out, he begged me to stay, that he would change, he would get help and stop drinking. I looked him straight in the eye and told him “No”. It is such a simple word, but it held so much power for me that evening. The very next day, we flew 2900 miles west, and I don’t regret a damn thing. My children have blossomed, I have grown and healed, and cut ties. This May will make 4 years gone. I knew as soon as I stepped out the airport that I was home, I was safe, and I was loved. I slept in a teeny tiny camper with my 3 kiddos until I saved up enough to find a place with my step brother.

    Long story, I know, but my point is this: don’t stay. Don’t wait. And, most of all, don’t give up. You are still in there, and you can heal. I’m still working on issues. I still have moments where I go, “Umm…am I ever really gonna be ok?”

    And some advice: don’t get into another relationship until you are healed. Build a support system, even if it’s a couple of friends or family, or professionals. Learn to be your own best friend. If you have children, make sure they have support, too, even if you’re the only person they feel safe enough to turn to.


    • HotlineAdmin_CC says:

      Hello Jenn,

      Wow, that sounds like such a difficult thing you went through. It’s so wonderful to hear you were able to be strong and to leave such a horrible situation and have worked hard to find peace and closure from it.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your story. We are happy to know you are now safe and free from abuse. Please remember that you can always call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat online at 7am-2am CST if you ever need additional resources or support.


      Hotline Advocate CC

  54. HH says:

    Finding this site was such a relief. I didn’t know there was a name for this. I was abused by parents who would then make up a story to explain away the injuries. *I* was also expected to believe this. If I tried to discuss the incident, or said something about them injuring me, I was accused of lying (and usually punished for it), got the tears and guilt – How can you tell stories like that about us when you know we love you so much, denial that this had ever happened at all, the “you just don’t remember things the way the rest of us do” remark, or the worst “you have a warped mind.” I hate the “you have a warped mind” most of all.

    It was so bad that I started keeping journals so I could look back at them and reassure myself that yes, this was really how it happened and I hadn’t imagined it.

    To this day friends and other family members think I’m the one who was crazy, and point to the fact that I went to therapy as an adult as “proof.” The few who do admit the abuse urge me to “forgive” (because to them forgiveness means you “put it behind you and never bring it up again” leaving them free of any discomfort) or think “this is a private family matter.” I finally cut off contact with all of them. I’ve been a lot happier since.

    • HotlineAdmin_LC says:

      Hello HH,

      Experiencing gaslighting is a very traumatic thing to go through and you deserve to protect yourself. Your parents had no right to try to make you question your own experience. Surviving abuse is a very draining thing and it isn’t ok that your other family and friends should support you. As painful as it is to cut contact with people, it sounds like you are in a healthier place. Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community.

      Take Care,

      Hotline Advocate LC

  55. Mr. Nope says:

    my girlfriend lies to me a lot. she likes about money, my self worth, bad situations and about what people say about me and at about this time my family inevitably aided her in completely isolating me if only because my family disowned me on their own. honestly i stopped trying to argue with her about the all the lies because she makes me feel like an idiot or that she’s the victim and i really need to quit bringing up the past… even though the lies starting to get stupid and sloppy… repetitious and i frankly think she’s started up what she did to me back when she lived in [redacted by Hotline staff]. i mean, i can’t prove it but that’s half why i’m not sure if it’s me being paranoid or if it’s her doing this crap all over again. she makes it seem like i’m such a monster and that i make her so upset all the time when i bring up the crap she pulls so after about 4 years of this hot mess and it progressively getting worse and worse until, between family situations and her, i don’t have anyone else. i don’t say much anymore cuz i’m too busy kissing a whiskey bottle. it makes things a lil better but probably not really. it makes me not care though… for other reasons besides this “gaslighting” i can’t seem to take care of myself so i feel pretty stuck. sorry this isn’t a past-tense happy ending story and junk… i don’t ever get to tell anyone about this because there’s no one there.

    • HotlineAdmin_RG says:

      Hello Mr.Nope,

      Thank you for reaching out. I can hear that you are hurting a lot right now. It sounds like you are in a really difficult and confusing situation that would be best addressed by contacting us at The Hotline directly. Our advocates can go over your situation with you, discuss possible options and connect you with local resources that may be able to provide support. Please feel free to reach out by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us online between 7am-2am CST.

      If you would like support around substance abuse, resource that may be useful is SAMHSA which you can use to find support programs in your area.

      Take care,
      Hotline Advocate RG

  56. Emily says:

    Thank you so much for this post.

    I’ve suffered from the effects of gaslighting from my father… His favorite tactic is just to deny my reality — for instance, once I had the lights off in my room because I had a migraine, and when I told him, he said to me, “No, you don’t have a migraine,” and turned all the lights back on. (That went back and forth for a while, with him insisting I didn’t really have a migraine.) Sometimes something will happen and he won’t get the full story of some problem, and he’ll tell me I’m wrong when I try to explain what really happened. He’ll accuse me of “hallucinating” and making stuff up, unless I give him concrete proof and have my mother back me up. Then he’ll call me too sensitive, and try to guilt trip me by reminding me that he loves me — his argument there is essentially, “I love you, so you can’t be upset with me!”
    Sometimes I really will start to doubt my own memory & feelings, but I realize that’s really just proof of the abuse… This post really helped me to clearly articulate some of the things he does (trivializing, denial, etc) and it’s helped me to be sure of myself.

    A lot of what he does is because he just doesn’t know how to deal with certain problems, so he denies them or lashes out. He has that mentality of “I’m always right, so other people have to be wrong,” and has trouble admitting his mistakes. I’ve moved out for college now, so much of his behavior has stopped, but I’ve returned now for the summer and not even a week has passed and we’ve had another argument, during which he accused me of hallucinating (and then I gave him proof I wasn’t; he got angry when I told him I was upset when he said I was making stuff up).

    My mother says he’s set in his ways and won’t really change much now, so I’ve found identifying and cataloguing his behaviors really help me cope. I make my own mistakes too, but I always have to remind myself it’s not normal to feel fear and self-loathing when I mess up and need to ask my dad or someone for help. The healing process will take a lifetime, but this website and this post really do help. Thank you again.

    • HotlineAdmin_CC says:

      Hi Emily,

      Thank you for your comment and your personal story. It sounds like such a frustrating and emotionally unsafe situation to be in with your father. You are absolutely right that is gas-lighting behavior that he is doing, and no one deserves to be manipulated and controlled like that. It is good that you have found coping mechanisms like you mentioned, identifying and cataloguing his behaviors. If you need additional support or want to find other local resources that may be able to help you, please feel free to reach out 7am-2am on our online chat or by calling 1-800-799-7233 24/7.


      Hotline Advocate CC

  57. Kim says:


    It is so true what you said about them appearing caring and interested in what you have to say. Time and again i have had him turn around and throw those same things back in my face that I told him in confidence. It is a ruse to find your weakness and exploit it.

  58. HoneyBee says:

    I am at wits end. My husband has had major depression for 5 years. He works on projects that interest him, but never brings home any money. He won’t go to work at a factory or office job. Says he’s too sick. He has always been paranoid. Recently he found innocent emails of mine. He says they are evidence of infidelity. He went crazy this past summer. It was so craz,y that I said we should divorce. He refused to talk about it. I always loved him. A few weeks ago, he told a neighbor he would file for divorce. He never discussed the divorce with me. I got served with papers on the day we were planning a family trip. Now he’s trying to make me out to be crazy. I work, go to school, and am active in the community. I’ve made excuses for his behaviors and his unwillingness to support me for many years of our marriage. I have always been respectful of his mental health issues. He has a personality disorder, according to his old therapist. He found a new therapist who says he is only depressed. Now he’s trying to make me out into the person who’s crazy. He hid my iPad the other night. I found it in his car. He threw away some of my school notes that I needed for an exam. I found them in the bottom of the trash with orange juice all over them. He said I probably tossed them by accident. If I’m missing something, he tells me it’s because of my attention deficit disorder. He is trying to find an expert witness to diagnose me with a personality disorder, sight unseen. He seems to have the sympathetic ear of an attorney who doesn’t know him or me, or doesn’t care. How do I protect myself? I think he’s killed all of our retirement savings, or close to it. I know nothing about our finances. He’s blocked me out of all websites with our financial information. He will go through periods where he’s very sweet, and I still feel love for him. Then he does something to show his revenge.

  59. HotlineAdmin_AS says:

    Hello HoneyBee,

    Trying to make sense of your husband’s behavior must be overwhelming, especially when he switches back and forth between loving and hurtful. That would be a difficult situation for anyone. It must have been so shocking to be served with divorce papers. It sounds like he creates a very stressful situation with all the accusations he makes, and the financial abuse. It can be so hard to live in that kind of environment, always defending yourself, not having trust or stability, or access to the finances.

    You deserve to feel safe and be treated with respect. Nothing gives your husband the right to treat you this way. Please know that our advocates are here to be a safe place for you to talk about what’s going on, brainstorm ways to stay safe, and get information about local resources. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or via online chat on our website every day from 7am – 2am CST. We keep all conversations confidential and anonymous.

    We’re here when you need us.

    Hotline Advocate AS

  60. James says:

    I’ve been gaining my confidence back and came across this to absolutely confirm how my relationship is. I looked up” I went from having a good relationship to having a bad one” and found this. I thought it was mentally abusive but just kept thinking I was stupid for staying. Seeing all of this has just made me trust myself even more. Still struggling in the relationship but closer everyday to leaving. Problem is I have kids with her and she won’t let me just break up clean. I have to move from my own place just to get out of this. I am saving though. :)

  61. James says:

    James again and to be honest I have been in this relationship for five yrs now and have thought about leaving before and didn’t. I am getting to trust myself again though. I do feel closer to leaving but still end up afraid of the unknown I guess. Feel like half the man I use to be. I use to be happy go lucky all the time and confident. I never feel confident these days and I feel anxiety everyday. It’s been the worst relationship I’ve ever been in. I’m 30yrs old and feel like I’m to old for this. I had a better relationship in the past. Its like I’ve gone backwards.

  62. Nikki says:

    I am feeling the same way…over 20 years invested here…it is good you realize what is happening! I just found this site yesterday and got chills…a relief it is to have your feelings validated!

  63. HotlineAdmin_RF says:

    Thank you so much for contributing to our blog community. I can see that you have been doing a lot of planning and considering your options to see what would work for you to be safe, that is a huge step! We do see that abusive partners tend to use anything they can to make their partners feel as though they cannot leave, but the things you are mentioning and looking towards to take control back in your life shows me that it is certainly possible. It is natural to feel anxious when considering leaving an abusive relationship, it’s why safety planning and having options can be so important. It is a difficult decision, but reaching out to support systems and programs can be helpful.
    Know that we are here 24 hours a day and completely anonymous through our hotline at 800-799-7233. We would be happy to talk to you about options, programs and support you in your next steps.
    Take Care,
    Hotline Advocate RF

  64. HotlineAdmin_ND says:

    Hello there,

    Thanks so much for you sharing that you found the blog post on gaslighting to be educational for you. Because gaslighting is such a complex form of emotional abuse, it can be difficult to figure out if one is being gaslit. I am pleased that this blog post helped you. If you want to talk more about gaslighting, you can chat with us online or by phone by calling 1-800-799-7233. We are here to help you.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate ND

  65. HotlineAdmin_RG says:

    Dear Mom,

    I removed your comment as you requested. If you would like to discuss what is going on in your life confidentially our advocates are always available. You can contact The Hotline advocates privately on chat from 7am to 2am CST and 24/7 by phone at 1-800-799-7233.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate RG

  66. Finally... says:

    I can’t believe that there are so many other people going through the exact same issues as me. My husband and I have been married for 4 years now. I felt that something wasn’t quite right from the very beginning of our relationship but contributed it to the fact that he is an officer in the military. He’s always been very jealous but in the beginning I thought that eventually he’d see what a good loyal woman I am and stop questioning everything I do. He GPS tracks my car, reads all of my texts, emails, and social media. I think that is unusual to do to someone you love but if it makes him happy it’s fine since I don’t have anything to hide. He criticizes everything I say or do and has called me terrible names in front of my family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. I feel that I have to report everything I do every day and although I do that he still calls me names. It’s like he convinces himself that I must have cheated even though it has never happened. I have two teenage sons from a previous marriage and he has called them out of their bedrooms in the middle of the night and made me confess to them what a terrible mother/wife/friend/woman I am for going to a friends house or going out with my coworkers for drinks even though he knows exactly what I’m doing at any given time because I tell him. I am ashamed to admit that I have become violent with him on occasions that he’s called me filthy names in front of my boys. I have never been a violent person in my entire life but I can’t get over him humiliating me in front of my own children over and again and last year I finally felt that my boys need to see me stand up for myself. I’ve told him that I refuse to be in an abusive relationship especially one where I’ve become the aggressor but he hasn’t even tried to change. I’ve introduced him to every friend, family member or anyone important to me but I’ve never met any friends or family of his. He has an older brother who I have talked to on the phone one time in 5 years while my husband stood nearby. Several relatives of his have tried to add me on social media and he forbids it. I have changed so much about myself to please him- no friends, no drinking, no watching too much TV or reading when he wants attention. I am not attracted to him at all anymore which leads to a lot of issues. I have been researching how to change myself since at this point he is never going to change. I am very concerned because a few days ago he had another episode and my son was asleep in the next room so I tried to practice some of what I’ve learned- I asked him to sit down and hold my hand and explained that we could resolve any issue together. He never talks about this. EVER. Not one time in 5 years has he apologized without me crying and begging him for an apology. He always walks away, slams doors, always the last word but never a resolution then in the morning it’s like he forgets anything happened. I’ve been trying to convince myself that he’s a good man just kinda crazy but it has really progressed to the point that I want out. My younger son leaves for college this fall and for the past several years I’ve tolerated the abuse by telling myself I could leave as soon as my son graduates. That time is here and I explained this to my husband after this weekends episode and he actually said that he’s done trying. I’ve also recorded these episodes since it leaves me so frustrated that he doesn’t think theres anything wrong with his behavior. I’m scared to seek counsel for fear that it will affect his career. I’m so glad I’ve found out that there is a term for what he’s been doing. I feel so bad for him that he doesn’t know how to love but after reading all these posts I know that I need to follow my instinct which told me to leave him the first time it happened 4 years ago! I have the phone number listed here and will be calling tomorrow for advice.

  67. HotlineAdmin_RG says:

    Dear Finally,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, that was brave of you. He sounds very abusive and there is nothing you could possibly have done to deserve being treated like this. As you know, no matter how ‘perfectly’ you behave, he continues to behave abusively. This is because you are not causing him to act this way, he is the only one responsible for his behavior. If there was anything you could have done to stop the abuse, it would have stopped by now because you have obviously done everything in your power to try and make the relationship work. You deserve to be treated with respect and to have your wellbeing valued.

    I’m happy to hear that you will be reaching out to us on The Hotline. Our advocates are always available to support you in developing a safety plan and exploring options for whatever you decide to do. In case you need the number again, you can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or on chat from 7am-2am CST.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate RG

  68. CloudySkies says:

    I can relate to your situation. I too am a mom of a teenage son and have been in a four year relationship with a man who “was” in the military. I had concerns in the beginning, but didn’t listen to my instincts. He has installed spyware on to my cell phone, hacked all of my accounts, and took total control and domination over my life, so that I MUST depend on him in order for me and my son to get by. Over the years I’ve made mistakes, I’ve argued back, I’ve had embarrassing drunken “episodes” during the phases when I felt like a complete failure in life. He told me I was damaged, I had PTSD from the abuse that I had experienced in my childhood, and made me feel ashamed for missing my previous husband, my son’s father…on the anniversary of the day he died. He called me a crazy bitch on a daily basis, and would gaslight me constantly. I took the same steps as you in trying to fix what was wrong with me, and figure out where my Joy had gone. I researched medical journals, and studied Psychology in college to uncover my deepest issues, I was prescribed medication for depression and anxiety. Then finally, I began meeting with a new Psychologist. I explained to her that I was tired of living my life in “compunction = “. We discussed how I felt about the painful incidents in my past, and we concluded that I did not have a victim’s mentality and PTSD was not the issue. I was directed to read a book titled, The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us, by Martha Stout. This is where I discovered that I had been living with a high functioning sociopath, who uses gas-lighting, and insatiability towards me and my contributions to our relationship, as his tactic for dominating me. With this new insight in to what the REAL problem was, I was able to disconnect my emotions, because they were being wasted on someone who is void of a conscience. I stopped disagreeing with him (especially on the things “I never said”), and instead of arguing, I simply would say “You Win” and walk away. The biggest thing I did, was to stop opening up with him as if he were someone who felt empathy. Every time I shared something with him, I became vulnerable, and he would turn my every word around, and use it against me at another time. He thought it was his way of proving that I was flawed, crazy, unstable, or simply not good enough, and the hurt from this was too heavy to ignore, so I just stopped sharing anything. I felt betrayed. I mean how could someone who is supposed to love, admire, respect and support me, and that I’m supposed to trust with the most intimate details, intentionally say and do things to me that were intended to hurt me? ESPECIALLY after being the “hero” who discovered my PTSD, and told me that I was too sensitive (It was the first I had ever been told that before, not that I’m cold or anything, but I’m very strong and open minded often the one friends and family turn to for emotional support). I learned that what I feel only matters to me. It is what I do to the people I say I love is the only thing that truly matters in life.
    You, FINALLY, are not alone. Do not compromise your integrity. Do not settle for less than you deserve, because you’ll only get less than what you settle for. Reclaim your identity and protect your spirit, and your joy because that’s exactly what he will aim to destroy first. It won’t be easy, in fact it will be very hard, and you should figure out who you can trust for support when it’s the hardest. But FINALLY, your value will be restored, your tarnish will be polished away, and the only marks left behind, will be considered as the character that increases your value.

  69. Jake says:


    I read this article and identified with what it said. Although I thankfully didn’t suffer anywhere near as much as many people who’ve written here, I was with a girlfriend for a year who often did question my version of reality or the correct history in exactly the way you describe here.

    On one occasion she suggested that we split up after a stressful bike ride together and I said OK; when I got home that same day she attempted to blame me for “leaving her”. This history-revision would happen multiple times in similar situations. Often when we were apart she would drop subtle blaming acts like “it’s so hard to do X for you because you’re not here” when X would be something like being available at the time she told me she would for me to call, or alternatively letting me know if she wouldn’t be available (she didn’t seem to think that was important). When I brought up that I’d talked to my mother and she’d pointed out how I’d visited her three times and she’d visited me once, and the relationship seemed unfair/unequal, her first reaction was to try and question my reality and self-confidence by saying something to the effect of “single mothers with sons are very likely to say that”. In future when I brought up unfairness in visitation she would change the subject.

    On one occasion not long after I told her about my being a relatively high-functioning Asperger’s person, her and I fought. She lied (“gaslighting” by pretending not to know what I was talking about when I addressed my feelings) and I swore at her which I regret. After I demanded she leave the room (that I had paid for) and suggested to her multiple options e.g. stay with my cousins or get another room in the same hostel, she later came back in to book a bus ticket and tried to steal money from my credit card to do it (I found this out later). I asked her to leave again and she wouldn’t – I slammed my laptop that she was using shut and ordered her out again, she didn’t leave, so I gripped her by the shoulders and steered her out of the room (she began crying in conjured fashion and said “I’ll leave!” and I released her immediately). She would later admit to me in these exact words that she was “trying to see whether I would hit her”, and say that it was because she “was scared after learning about Asperger’s”. She would try and characterise me as an abuser in future discussions, and that was shaking to me and my own sense of self-confidence and reality.

    In addition to the swearing at her that I did during some fights (f*** you during that one large fight, and b**** during at least two others), there was a time nearing our break-up during which I repeatedly criticized her via email for small, irrelevant things. I never once physically assaulted her and I remained seated when we had our verbal fights (I am a 6’4″ male, she’s 5″0′ female).

    After we broke up a car that I had paid for remained in her name, and it was totaled by a truck while I drove alone. She stalled for months on paying me the insurance payout I was owed, explaining that she was “busy” with her university course and could not do it (this was a common theme, her “busyness”; she had a full-time summer job and then started a university degree afterward but the extreme “busyness” that caused her to delay my requests by weeks and simply not do many of them existed only in the artificial reality she conjured between us. When I was at university previously she did not allow me the same leeway). When I told her (after weeks of broken promises to do it) that she would be liable for parking tickets if she didn’t, she was on the phone within 20 minutes. She then stalled several weeks on the next stage of paying me, at least once directly lying about information she’d received from the insurance company, until I threatened her with legal action (she promptly paid).

    I do not know the severity of abuse that some here have experienced but it was a deeply unpleasant feeling to doubt oneself because of the manipulations and passive-aggressive games of another, and it’s something that has taken me a lot more time to heal from than I even realised I needed. If there is any advice I could share it’s to trust your own gut instincts above all else, and be brave.

    Best to everyone,

  70. Jake says:

    P.S. I’ll add that there were a few things I didn’t think much of at the time but later realised were part of this “gaslighting” I experienced. Once I gave my partner a massage but completely avoided making it sexual, and afterward all she said was: “You’re lucky you get to touch [your partner there]”. One other time I stopped during sex when she said no, and when I told her I’d always do that she said in a pitying tone “awww, did your mom teach you that?”.

    Again, didn’t think much of those incidents at the time but now realise that it was all part of a longer term stratagem to make me feel like an abuser – by discounting and trivializing clear evidence I could have held on to that proved the opposite. It was easier then for her to later use imagined, contrived and in some cases real wrongs I did (which were blown far out of proportion in most cases) to confuse me, leave me on edge doubting myself and give her power in the relationship.


  71. HotlineAdmin_LC says:

    Hi Jake,

    Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community. Having someone try to make you doubt yourself is very unpleasant and harmful. You are right that it is important to trust your gut instincts. You always deserve to be respected in a relationship especially during a conflict. I want to let you know about a page on site about male survivors of abuse here. Also, The Hotline has our advocates here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and on chat from 7am to 2am CST if you would like to talk to an advocate about what you have experienced.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate LC

  72. HotlineAdmin_RG says:

    Hello CloudySkies,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Your partner sounds very hurtful and controlling. I’m sorry that he has put your through this. He has no right to insult you or monitor you. It is evident that you have been very proactive and determined in doing work to analyze your situation and protect your wellbeing. I can see that there are a lot of issues around technology safety in the ways he has been trying to control you. I encourage you to contact us at The Hotline directly. Our advocates can help you create safety plans, including one regarding technology, and may be able to connect you with helpful resources in your area. Please give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with us online between 7am-2am CST.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate RG

  73. HotlineAdmin_AC says:

    This post was removed because it was not consistent with our community guidelines.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] can be incredibly difficult for anyone to detect, which is kind of the point.  Thankfully, The National Domestic Violence Hotline  has provided a few signs to watch out […]

  2. […] Signs that you’re a victim of gas-lighting, courtesy of the National Domestic Violence Hotline: […]

  3. […] of us are familiar with that old-fashioned term, “gaslighting“, where an abuser, (statistically, but not exclusively male) chips away at his victim’s […]

  4. […] know what “I’m never wrong, you’re always wrong, just get used to it” is? It’s called gaslighting. And it is […]

  5. […] question everything and lose confidence in their version of reality. Abusers often participate ingaslighting tactics, which can include trivialization or downright denial of the victim's experiences. […]

  6. […] The third pitfall is related to the second one. When you tell a marginalized person that what you’ve done isn’t oppressive, you’re saying that what they’ve experienced isn’t real — and whether you mean it to be or not, that’s incredibly harmful. […]

  7. […] is a form of mental illness just because you don’t like what they are saying is called  Gaslighting. It happens all the time in the Modern […]

  8. […] The endgame of a gaslighting campaign is to make you feel uncertain about everything. Indeed, by the time I was done with Christianity, I was a shell of the person I’d once been. Once I’d been happy, confident, forward-thinking, optimistic, bubbly, and strong-spirited. By the time I left, I had a raging case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was filled with anger and bitterness, was jumpy and timid, experienced panic attacks, apologized constantly and walked on eggshells because I wasn’t sure when I’d mess up again, was unable to make any of my own personal decisions, felt guilty about gainsaying anybody I considered in authority over me, and tended toward being terribly judgmental and condemning toward those who disagreed with me. I didn’t recognize these changes for a while, but I pretty much hit all of the symptoms on that Hotline link. […]

  9. […] In a relationship with  narcissist, the narcissist purposefully thwarts the victim’s attempt to establish comprehensible boundaries – the narcissist thus violates what the victim’s actual boundaries/informed consent related to the actual situation would have been, by continually relating inaccurate, inconsistent, or incomprehensible information/impression of the actual situation. This is often done through Gaslighting: […]

  10. […] For me, it was like my best friend was selling my dream house that was incredible. I bought the house, using all of my life savings. Soon, the house began to have cracks in the wall, and strange creaks. I would ask my friend about it, but he would Gaslight me, saying nothing. […]

  11. […] I would say things like, “whatever you feel or want is okay, can you help me understand it?” and he would say nothing – trivialize, withdraw, block, etc. – all the strategies of Gaslighting. […]

  12. […] You can read more about “gaslighting” abuse here. […]

  13. […] There’s Gasligthing as a result (“insidious form of emotional abuse”, as defined by National Domestic Violence Hotline. […]

  14. […] Read all about it here. It’s short, but it’s an excellent description, and something that every man and woman needs to read. […]

  15. […] really can’t understand how it got this way or who is right or wrong any […]

  16. […] relatives, manipulative and domineering partners coercing victims into signing over bank details, gaslighting (where an abusive partner breaks down the victim’s emotional and mental reserves so […]

  17. […] How does a person respond to being called “crazy”? Nothing seems more futile than the proclamation “I’m not crazy!” (That’s just what a crazy person would say, right?) But as others have pointed out, making someone doubt their own sanity is called “gaslighting.” It’s generally considered abuse. […]

  18. […] How does a person respond to being called “crazy”? Nothing seems more futile than the proclamation “I’m not crazy!” (That’s just what a crazy person would say, right?) But as others have pointed out, making someone doubt their own sanity is called “gaslighting.” It’s generally considered abuse. […]

  19. […] we are seeing here is an informal campaign of gaslighting feminists, scolding and scorning us for seeing the sexism they claim isn’t there. To classify […]

  20. […] with trauma-induced obsessive-compulsive disorder (which reminds me of the crossover between gaslighting — a particularly damaging type of emotional abuse — and OCD, especially my type of OCD. […]

  21. […] one possibility for why she allowed  it is a complex abusive tactic called Gaslighting, detailed here. I have also gathered from the references to Bea’s drinking that she is an alcoholic. The […]

  22. […] OP …read up on 'GAS LIGHTING'. The National Domestic Violence Hotline | What is Gaslighting? […]

  23. […] have been, they are then further pained by additional emotional abuse. Their families or parents “gaslight”, or act as if the abuse — because “invisible” — is not real. Thus alumni feel like […]

  24. […] tell they aren’t. Relabeling hateful behavior as loving is part of an abuse technique called gaslighting; it’s meant to make victims second-guess their own judgment and accept an abuser’s […]

  25. […] like choking/hitting/beating/rape (our common cultural image of it), but often takes the form of gaslighting, monitoring social media, threatening suicide or self-harm in order to maintain control, or […]

  26. […] me, whether it be a result of abuse, or past abusive relationships (oh yes, I had those too!, I am working on becoming […]

  27. […] The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a really good info page about it:What is Gaslighting? […]

  28. […] a huge concern here. There is a history of declaring women “hysterical” or crazy (see: gaslighting) in order to silence them and get them to behave. In this case mental illness is being used so a […]

  29. […] for survivors to simply walk away when faced with cognitive dissonance, Stockholm syndrome and gaslighting. At this point, it’s no longer just people-pleasing but the misfortune of being caught in […]

  30. […] feminists that that they’re overreacting to rape is part of a long tradition of gaslighting women who have caught on to injustices. Somehow detractors think if they say it often enough and in […]

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