4 signs of gaslighting in your marriage

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Divorce

Emotional abuse is a serious form of non-physical abuse that can irreparably harm your marriage and erode your sense of self-worth and confidence. Gaslighting, a particularly insidious form of emotional manipulation, can often go unnoticed but can have devastating effects on your relationship.

If you suspect that your spouse is emotionally manipulating you, it could be helpful to understand the warning signs of gaslighting. These include the following.

1. Invalidation of your feelings

Gaslighters are known to dismiss or belittle your emotions, making you feel like your feelings are irrational or unwarranted. They may tell you that you’re overreacting, imagining things or being too sensitive. This constant invalidation can lead you to question your own reality and diminish your confidence in expressing your emotions. It can also create a sense of isolation, as you may feel like you cannot trust your own emotional responses or seek validation from others.

2.  Alienation

If your spouse constantly tries to isolate you from friends, family or support networks, it could be a sign of gaslighting. Gaslighters often seek to control their victims by cutting them off from external sources of validation or reality checks. They may undermine your relationships with others, discourage you from spending time with loved ones or even create conflicts to drive a wedge between you and your support system. This isolation not only strengthens the gaslighter’s control over you but also makes it harder for you to recognize the manipulation and seek help.

3. Constant criticism 

By using disparaging verbal abuse or consistently finding fault in your actions, appearance or character, gaslighters aim to undermine your self-esteem and confidence. They may employ subtle jabs disguised as constructive criticism or outright insults to erode your sense of worth. This constant barrage of negativity can make you doubt your abilities and worthiness, leaving you more susceptible to their manipulative tactics.

4. Using love against you

A gaslighter will exploit your love and attachment to them as a tool for manipulation. They may alternate between affectionate behavior and cruel treatment, leaving you confused and constantly seeking their approval. They might use expressions of love and affection as leverage to make you doubt your own perceptions and experiences. For example, they may say things like, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t question me,” or “I’m only doing this because I care about you.” This manipulation can create a deep sense of guilt and obligation, making it difficult for you to recognize and escape the abusive cycle.

If you’re experiencing gaslighting or any other form of emotional manipulation in your marriage, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being. Legal guidance can be invaluable in understanding your rights and options, especially if you’re considering ending the relationship. 

At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.


Let Me Be Your Brave

Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner