Subtle gaslighting in a relationship can be difficult to recognize, and even more challenging to overcome. It is a form of emotional abuse where a person manipulates their partner into questioning their own thoughts and feelings. This type of abuse can be incredibly damaging, leading to low self-esteem, self-doubt, and even depression. In this blog, we’ll discuss what subtle gaslighting is, the warning signs to look out for, and how to stop it in its tracks.
Subtle gaslighting is difficult to detect because it is often disguised as concern or care for your partner. It can begin with small comments such as “Are you sure you’re remembering that correctly?” or “I think you’re overthinking this”. Over time, these comments can become more frequent and lead to more significant emotional abuse. It is essential to understand that this is not normal behavior in a healthy relationship.
Aside from small comments, other warning signs of subtle gaslighting may include feeling like you can’t trust your own memory or decisions, feeling like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner, feeling compelled to apologize frequently, and feeling like you’re constantly being criticized or blamed. If you’re experiencing any of these red flags, it is essential to take them seriously and seek help.
To stop subtle gaslighting, communication is key. Start by clearly expressing how you feel and what you’ve noticed in your partner’s behavior. Use “I” statements to avoid making your partner defensive. Be specific about the incidents that have made you feel uneasy, and discuss how they made you feel. An experienced therapist can help you communicate your concerns and work together towards a balanced and respectful relationship.
Gaslighting can significantly affect your mental health, and it is important to prioritize self-care. This can include creating healthy boundaries, taking time for yourself, surrounding yourself with positive people, and seeking support from a trusted friend or therapist. Practicing self-care ensures that you are taking care of yourself and not sacrificing your well-being for the sake of the relationship.
Finally, seeking professional help may be the most effective way to stop subtle gaslighting. Therapists can help you work through your emotions and validate your experience, helping you gain self-confidence and rebuild your self-esteem. If you reside in Orlando, Orlando Thrive Therapy offers in-home marriage therapy to help couples work through these challenges together.
Subtle gaslighting can happen in any relationship. It’s crucial to pay attention to the warning signs and take action to stop the abuse. With clear communication, boundary setting, and practicing self-care, you can stop subtle gaslighting in its tracks. If you’re struggling with healing from gaslighting in your relationship, seeking the help of a professional therapist is a recommended option. Take care of yourself, and don't allow yourself to be subjected to emotional abuse.
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.