Did Your Cheating Partner ‘Gaslight’ You?

What is Gaslighting?

If you’ve been cheated on, it’s likely that you also experienced some degree of what psychologists refer to as gaslighting. Gaslighting, in case you’re wondering, is a form of psychological abuse that involves the presentation of false information followed by dogged insistence that the information is true.

Many people are familiar with this term thanks to Gaslight, a 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the story, a husband tries to convince his new wife that she’s imagining things, in particular the occasional dimming of their home’s gaslights. This is part of the husband’s plan to rob his wife of valuable family jewelry. Over time, the wife, trusting that her husband loves her and would never hurt her, starts to believe his lies and begins to question her perception of reality and even her sanity.

Today, the plot of Gaslight may seem a bit extreme. Nevertheless, the psychological concept of gaslighting – presenting false information and insisting that it’s true, thereby causing the victim to question her perception of reality – is well accepted, particularly in connection with infidelity.

Did You Experience Gaslighting?

Did your partner gaslight you to cover up their sexual adventures? If you think they didn’t, you might want to think again. Consider the following lies: 

  • I never said I’d be home by eight. I don’t know why you would think that.
  • She’s just a coworker. When she calls here, it’s because we have a project to finish. Why are you always so jealous?
  • Why do you keep asking me if something is going on? You’re completely paranoid.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? Even if your partner didn’t tell you these exact lies, they almost certainly told similar falsehoods. And then, when you worked up the courage to question their dishonesty, they flipped the script, insisting that the lies were true, that they weren’t keeping secrets, and that you were either forgetful, delusional, or just making things up.

That is gaslighting. And it’s a form of abuse from which you and your relationship will need to heal.

Free support for betrayed partners can be found on the SexandRelationshipHealing.com website. Low-cost online workgroups for betrayed partners are available at this link.

Speak with a Seeking Integrity Staff Member Regarding Treatment. Call (747) 234-HEAL (4325)
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