Warning signs that your spouse is gaslighting you

When you're in an emotionally abusive relationship, it can be difficult to recognize the signs. This is especially true if your partner is deliberately conditioning you to think that you are in the wrong, a technique known as gaslighting. Gaslighting can be subtle and quite dangerous, as victims of this manipulation tactic often don't realize what is happening.

Since gaslighting is meant to go undetected, you have to be trained in the signs that gaslighting is going on in order to recognize if it is happening to you. What are some of the warning signs that your spouse is gaslighting you?

How can you tell if your spouse is gaslighting you?

One big sign that your spouse is gaslighting you is that you find yourself wondering if something you know happened really happened. "If they're questioning your memory, or causing you to question your memory of certain events or narratives, that's a big [red flag]," psychologist Ben Michaels told Health

Gaslighters often use the technique to cover up wrongdoing, such as an affair, by creating confusion to distract you. "It really is about your [twisting] your sense of reality, and that's what's so harmful about it," said Michaels.

Another way gaslighters try to distort your sense of reality is to flat out lie. "They'll blatantly tell you that they never said something — or never did something — even if you were there to witness it," psychotherapist Stephanie Sarkis told the outlet.

Gaslighters react badly when confronted

If you question the gaslighter, they're liable to then turn things around on you and call you crazy. They might even try to get your loved ones involved in their manipulation. "A gaslighter might even go to your mom to avoid direct confrontation, stir things up, and bad-mouth you, so that [your mom] can be the one to suggest that you do something about your mental state," said Sarkis.

Sarkis added that some gaslighters react to being confronted by simply shutting you out. "Instead of talking out issues in a healthy way, what gaslighters do is they'll completely block you out," she said. "You'll be right in front of them and they'll act like you're not even there. They'll refuse to talk to you, or they will ghost you and not text you."

What should you do if your spouse is gaslighting you?

If your spouse is gaslighting you, individual therapy should be your next step. In another Health piece, Sarkis recommended getting counseling to determine whether there is hope for the relationship or if you should leave. "Gaslighters will erode your self-esteem; therapy can be very helpful in rebuilding it and also learning the warning signs of gaslighters in the future," she said.

Whatever you do, don't second guess yourself. Gaslighters try to get inside your head, so it's important to stay vigilant once you recognize what is going on. "It can be helpful to ask yourself the question, 'What do I really believe is going on?' as opposed to 'What am I being pressured to believe?'" said clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Anthony P. DeMaria.