Gaslighting: The Subtle and Destructive Forms of Emotional Control

A specific form of emotional abuse known as gaslighting involves making claims that a person is wrong, crazy, or not seeing things properly while still making attempts to persuade and manipulate them into thinking that something is true. Gaslighting goes beyond simple persuasion and refers to the deliberate act of deceiving someone and utilizing coercive or dishonest methods to challenge their perception of reality. Gaslighting is a common pattern of conduct used in relationships to make it difficult for one person to criticize, question, or challenge the other person both now and in the future.

Before starting to gaslight their victims, people typically have built up a relationship with them and gained some level of influence over them. Because of this, victims are more prone to be persuaded by the person and to disbelieve their own intuitions or misgivings about them. Particularly for kids of gaslighting parents, they frequently believe things like “they have my best interests at heart” or “they wouldn’t lie to me.” Sadly, a lot of people who experience gaslighting are actually in a relationship with someone who exhibits narcissistic or sociopathic behaviors.

Gaslighters frequently have other goals like keeping a secret, obtaining praise or an apology or convincing someone to do anything for them in addition to their primary goal of convincing someone to agree with them. As the victim loses self-confidence over time, this manipulation gets simpler, allowing the abuser the ability to impose their own ideologies and objectives. Gaslighting basically entails taking advantage of someone else’s vulnerability to manipulate them into doubting their reality and themselves. With Virtual counseling and other strategies, you can educate yourself and your loved ones about gaslighting, how to stop, and how to recognize the behaviors of this emotional control. In this article, we will discuss how to do just that. 

Gaslighting Warning Signs

Because gaslighting often starts out subtly and only becomes more visible once a person’s self-doubt has grown, at which point they are less likely to challenge the other person, gaslighting can be difficult to spot. People can recognize some of the precise patterns, techniques, and expressions gaslighters use to manipulate and control people by becoming aware of the symptoms of gaslighting. Others could be found in connections with family, friends, or even coworkers. Some of these are particularly prevalent in romantic relationships. Unintentional gaslighting is a possibility.

Below are five indicators of gaslighting provided by virtual counseling: 

  1. Since you started dating, there has been a significant change in your opinions, beliefs, personality, habits, hobbies, and conduct, reflecting more of the other person’s impact on you.
  2. The person frequently casts doubt on you by calling attention to your shortcomings, reminding you of your past errors, or making use of other personal facts or inside knowledge of your fears.
  3. You feel less secure in your capacity to express your feelings, opinions, wishes, and needs since the relationship began (or only when you are with the other person) and believe you are incapable of making your own decisions.
  4. The other person always finds a way to justify their own faults by pointing the finger at you or someone else, shifting the issue, or finding a way to avoid acknowledging their errors or offering an apology.
  5. The other person insists that your recollection is inaccurate by recounting tales, occasions, and memories in a manner that is extremely dissimilar from how you recall them.

What Gaslighting Victims Experience as a Result

In toxic relationships, gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse that is combined with other abusive, manipulative, and controlling behaviors. Any relationship can experience gaslighting, but it is more damaging in close, extended relationships with loved ones or romantic partners. A person experiences the most severe and long-lasting negative consequences when they are in close and frequent contact with a gaslighter, and it can sometimes take a lot of virtual counseling and treatment to recover from these effects. Similar to other forms of emotional abuse, gaslighting has unique harmful repercussions, some of which are listed below:

Higher Self-Doubt

Those who have experienced the gaslighting struggle to believe in their own ability to act independently and even think for themselves. When they do, they could continually review and worry over previous choices or duties out of fear that they erred or overlooked something. Any part of their lives, such as other relationships, decisions they make, and work, can be affected by this lack of self-trust.


People who have experienced gaslighting frequently adopt passive communication methods, which means they try to avoid conflict and disagreements with others even when doing so lessens their own feelings, goals, or needs. To avoid upsetting or being abusive to the other person, they quickly agree and comply with them.

Low self-worth and shame

Gaslighting victims frequently come to believe that they are inadequate, bad, weak, flawed, or otherwise “not good enough” in some way, even if they were confident before the relationship. The way the other person interacts with them and treats them frequently reinforces these messages. Self-esteem may decline.

Identity Loss

Victims of gaslighting frequently speak of a loss of identity, which can lead to an identity crisis because gaslighting is intended to weaken a person’s autonomy in ideas, feelings, and decisions. Outside of their relationship with the other person, they could struggle to define who they are, how they feel, or what they desire. Additionally, they might have altered their appearance, demeanor, and behavior in order to meet the requirements or expectations of the other person.

How and When to Seek Professional Assistance for Gaslighting

Oftentimes, victims may not recognize emotional abuse until a relationship ends or until they speak with a virtual counselor, a trusted friend, or even a member of their family. When someone discovers they have been gaslighted or are in the process of being gaslighted, it is frequently an extremely emotional and perplexing moment with many contradicting emotions. Along with gaslighting, there may be additional forms of abuse in the relationship that a person might spot.

People frequently start to doubt the self-created narratives of who they are, who the other person is, and what kind of relationship they actually have with them as a result of such revelations. In addition to guiding them through the process of digesting the facts, recuperating, and deciding what to do next, virtual counseling can offer them the emotional support they need during this difficult time.


Gaslighting is a sort of emotional abuse that may be very damaging to a person’s mental health, self-esteem, and other areas of their life. Fortunately, a lot of people who have experienced emotional abuse, such as gaslighting, are able to move over it with the aid of virtual counseling. Additionally, they can learn how to establish boundaries, exercise assertiveness, build stronger connections with others, and defend themselves against emotionally abusive people.