Deciding it’s time for a divorce can be difficult. It’s even more difficult when one party in the relationship has been the victim of gaslighting during both the relationship and the divorce process. When someone is being gaslit not only is it hard to recognize, but it can make the decision to get a divorce that much more complicated.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a relatively new term that has received an uptick in usage over the last few years. If you’re not sure what it is, it’s when someone is being intentionally dishonest towards you but trying to make it sound like it’s your fault. It’s similar to an extremely aggressive form of lying.
Here’s an example, you’ve recently discovered that your friends have been having gatherings and intentionally not inviting you. You confront one of them about this, and not only do they deny that this has been happening, but they tell you that you’re being ridiculous for confronting them about it. They turn the situation around on you and say that you are in the wrong for bringing it up at all. People who treat their so-called friends this way will possibly turn around and treat their partners that way as well.
It’s important to recognize the signs of being gaslit in a relationship so that when you enter the stages of a divorce you are able to push back against it. Understanding gaslighting is about recognizing signs or phrases your former partner may have used or is still using now. They’ll say things like “Are you sure you didn’t imagine that?” or “You never said that” about events that you know are true. They’re trying to make you question yourself.
Behaviors Of Gaslighting
Some common behaviors you might see from someone when gaslighting you are:
- Ignores your emotions
- Criticizes your behavior
- Makes cruel jokes about your insecurities or interests
- Puts you down in front of others
When you’re entering a divorce, this behavior may continue where they may even try to argue that you are the one abusing them or that you are wrong for seeking out a divorce. They will use emotionally manipulative means to make you unsure about your decision.
When you are divorcing someone with a history of gaslighting you have to be prepared for that to continue. They are not going to stop because they’re getting a divorce and, in some cases, they’ll make it even worse for you. You need to be ready for this to happen and have measures to protect yourself. Another good option is to seek help from your divorce attorney and/or therapist.
A gaslighter’s goal is to break your confidence. The important thing though is to remain firm in your decision.