Part of the confusion of being in an abusive relationship with a narcissist is their unbelievable manipulation of your mind. They actually have you wondering if you are losing your mind your not. They deny the truth. This is the technique narcissists use to convince you that your perception of the abuse is inaccurate. It’s so simple but leaves you tilting your head wondering if you perceived his actions wrong. My ex would often remark that I was emotionally unstable, that these were my “issues,” and he would displace blame of his abuse towards me as my fault. He would frequently use phrases such as “You provoked me,” “Why do you have to be so sensitive,” “I never said that” (this was his favorite) or “You’re taking things too seriously” This was his way of gaslighting me into thinking that the abuse was indeed my fault or that it never even took place.
I was his target and his abuse of me made me feel unsafe and it made me doubt my inner voice. He was famous for his rumination. He would do it at home, work, even in restaurants and it was unsettling and it was a control tactic. In every discussion and every decision, he would wait and think while everyone else waited on him to do so. Another tactic he would use is to say “I don’t understand what you are saying or what that even means.” It could be something as simple as the sky is so blue today and he would cock his head and say, “I don’t understand what you mean….” Every day he emotionally invalidated me and even though I had a lot of support from a lot of people, I was bound and determined to show this person love and to make him see that I was a good person. Not the person he made me out to be. I just could never wrap my head around why I had so many friends but my husband didn’t like me. I allowed him to put me in the position that I mistrusted my own instincts and interpretations of events. He had mastered gaslighting like no one else and I was too confused to understand what was happening. Not anymore!
You know you are being gaslighted if you feel minimized. You feel crushed and smothered. You’re constantly second-guessing yourself; your feelings, your perceptions, your memories, and a small, suffocated part inside of you wonders whether you are actually going crazy.
Gaslighting is emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make judgments. A Gaslighter spins their negative, harmful or destructive words and actions in their favor, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and pointing the finger at you. It is a very sophisticated form of emotional abuse.
How do you survive? KNOWLEDGE. Read up on gaslighting. Learn to trust your intuition again. Most importantly, know that no amount of love is going to help this person. He or she has to recognize that they need help and in a narcissist, that very rarely happens.