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Gaslighting: No, You are Not Crazy, You are Being Psychologically Abused

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that causes the victim to doubt his or her memory, perception, and even sanity. An individual who gaslights another does so by misdirecting the victim, lying to the victim, and creating situations in which the victim feels he or she cannot trust his or her own senses, rendering him or her dependent on the gaslighter. This gives the gaslighting individual power over the other and control in the relationship, which is the desired result of all forms of domestic violence.

If you are facing domestic violence in your marriage, seek a divorce. Your mental, physical, and emotional health can depend on it.

Examples of Gaslighting

A few examples of gaslighting in a marriage include:

  • After being frequently insulted by his wife, a husband tells her his feelings are hurt and asks her to stop. She responds by telling him that he is too sensitive and that it is his fault his feelings are hurt, not hers;
  • A husband regularly tells his wife details about their finances, but when she brings these details up in later conversations, he denies ever making such statements and contradicts himself;
  • A mother attacks her wife’s parenting by exaggerating her flaws and blaming their child’s problems solely on her, attacking the wife’s foundation and identity as a parent; and
  • Telling colleagues, family, and acquaintances that one’s partner is a liar, untrustworthy, or crazy, destroying the partner’s credibility with others and driving him or her to take the gaslighter’s side in disagreements.

Gaslighting in Conjunction with Other Types of Abuse

Gaslighting and other forms of psychological abuse often exist alongside other forms of domestic violence, like physical and emotional abuse. In the scenario described above where the husband keeps his wife in the dark about their finances, gaslighting is used in conjunction with financial abuse to maintain control over her. Another way gaslighting might be used is to excuse sexual abuse, such as convincing the victim that he or she consented to an act or that he or she “owes” the gaslighter sex because of an alleged agreement or in return for a favor.

When gaslighting is present in a marriage, the victim can lose his or her agency. It can lead to other, more severe forms of abuse, which can cause severe emotional or physical injuries or even the victim’s death, either due to physical violence or the victim’s suicide as a result of a severely damaged mental state.

Work with an Experienced La Crosse Divorce Lawyer

If you are experiencing gaslighting or other forms of psychological abuse in your marriage, you are a victim of domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need to get out of your marriage. To take the first step toward your divorce, contact our team of divorce lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation with a member of our firm.

Published August 4, 2017
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