When we talk about love and couples, the images that crowd in our mind refer to the idea of union, collaboration, harmony, affection and sharing. Unfortunately, not all relationships are identified with these concepts, there are cases in which one of the two parties tends to dominate the other in order to develop it and destroy it psychologically to take full control of the couple. Dr Dario Grigoli Psychologist Psychotherapist of Guidapsicologi.it illustrates what are the alarm bells to recognize that you are a victim of a gaslighter and what are the techniques to stem the attacks and protect yourself from a process of destruction of the person.
Who is the gaslighter?
«The gaslighter is one of the partners within a couple, both man and woman. The gaslighter can therefore be both the husband and wife, both the boyfriend and the girlfriend, however a cohabitant, who devalues in a subtle and silent, almost invisible way, his partner. The gaslighter comes to deny any type of evidence, even the actions performed by the partner / a, the acts, the thoughts, the words spoken during a conversation. The aim of the gaslighter is to psychologically annihilate your partner and to have full control of the couple's relationship. »
To what extent gaslighting can be dangerous
«The gaslighter is an aggressive person and although his aggression is played silently, he is a very dangerous person. The victim of the gaslighter may indeed suffer from chronic depression, feeling responsible for acts he has not done, and he can still develop strong states of anxiety because he feels not only his words but also his identity are questioned. The continuous devaluation to which the victim is subjected is a real attack on the person's self-esteem. “
How to recognize a gaslighter?
Recognizing the gaslighter for the victim is not very simple since the gaslighter is a skilled manipulator who exploits the attitude of those who use the stick and carrot. The gaslighter acts in a subtle way, and therefore his way of devaluing the victim is not always visible. However, we can recognize the gaslighter when we look at these alarm bells:
- We feel continually devalued;
- The partner shows little trust in us;
- The partner limits our initiative in the choices and actions that concern the couple;
- We live the relationship with constant feelings of guilt and shame;
- The partner finds every excuse to blame us and our way of acting.
Defense techniques to protect yourself from gaslighter attacks
If we can recognize that we are a victim of a gaslighter, some of these actions must be taken to defend ourselves:
- Confide in someone and avoid isolation: this will allow you to remain lucid and avoid the collapse of self-esteem
- Maintain as much degree of autonomy as possible with respect to your personal sphere, do not confide too much or rely totally on your partner who could thus continue to control your life
- Leaving the relationship: the relationship with a gaslighter is a sick relationship, so it is advisable to move away and close the relationship to avoid getting sick further.
Do you become a Gaslighter?
'Gaslighter you become in particular circumstances, when for example a relationship is unsatisfactory. A couple can go into crisis and coexistence can thus trigger competition behaviors that lead to gaslighting by one of the two partners. It is true that there are predispositions to acting in such a subtle way. The gaslighter is generally a person who is unable to openly express their individual needs within the couple, and because of this inability he develops very harmful means of unconscious aggression. The gaslighter very often acts unconsciously, but there are also gaslighters who are aware of their way of acting. “
What if I am the gaslighter?
«If we recognize that we are gaslighters, it means that we are not well within the couple and this must lead us to ask ourselves why we are bad in that relationship. If we go back to the origin of our relationship discomfort, through the help of a psychologist we can overcome our personal crisis and that of the couple. This is the only way to stop being a gaslighter. “
How to stop being a gaslighter
«Individual psychotherapy allows us to trace the unconscious dynamics that push us to attack the partner in a subtle and silent way. Overcoming these psychological obstacles allows the gaslighter to find the emotional serenity necessary to feel good about themselves and the couple. Couple psychotherapy can also help, provided that both partners want to overcome the crisis situation in which they find themselves. “
The first steps to get out of this dramatic situation destined only to worsen, although apparently simple, are very difficult for the victim to take. First of all we must recognize the problem, admit it to ourselves and decide to face it. Relying on others, eliminating the sense of guilt and shame, having confidence in the possibility of a ransom and wanting to regain possession of one's life are the main requirements for definitively eliminating the action of the gaslighter.