What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity.

Gaslighting is a behaviour that people learn by watching others and can take place in any type of relationship, including romantic, platonic, family, or work relationships.

The term "gaslighting" comes from the name of a 1938 play and 1944 film, Gaslight, in which a husband manipulates his wife into thinking she has a mental illness.

The abuser tries to control the victim by twisting their sense of reality and making them doubt their own perceptions and memories.

Gaslighting happens gradually in a relationship, and the abusive partner's actions may seem harmless at first, but over time, the patterns continue, and the victim can become confused, anxious, isolated, and depressed.

Some signs of gaslighting include:

·    The abuser denies that certain events happened or that they said certain things

·    The abuser tells the victim that they are crazy, irrational, or overly sensitive

·    The abuser accuses the victim of being unfaithful or lying

·    The abuser isolates the victim from friends and family

·    The abuser uses the victim's weaknesses or vulnerabilities against them

If someone is experiencing gaslighting, it is important to recognise that it is a form of abuse and can damage their mental and physical health. Victims can seek help from a mental health professional or a domestic violence hotline.

It is not the survivor's responsibility to try to help the abuser see the error of their ways and get help.

People are more aware of this type of abuse now. If it exists it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't use mediation to help sort out the issues in any separation or divorce situation but the suitability of mediation would be discussed in a private MIAM - Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. If you have any questions about whether mediation might be able to help you or someone you know email us at hello@familymandm.co.uk or call us on 0800 206 2258.

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