Have you been in a hurtful relationship for years? Prehaps your boyfriend/girlfriend is gaslighting you…Has this person done despicable things. Why can’t you bring yourself to leave? Your self-esteem is in the dumper, and only getting worse the longer you stay. Why can’t you get out?

If this has happened to you, you should ask yourself what drew you to the person at the beginning of your relationship. Often, people who show the world one face while behind closed doors, when the mask comes off, a different picture is presented. Don’t blame yourself. These manipulators are adept at attracting trusting partners. Sometimes it takes a while for the signs to become apparent and by the time it happens, you may already feel comfortable enough to stay.

Gaslighting Is More Than Mere Manipulation

Can you take a moment to make a list of the things that you observe that fall into the category of gaslighting? Has the person tried to make you believe that you are making things up or over-reacting? Does he/she gather others to support his point of view or tell you that no one will believe you?

A behavior common to each of these personality disorders is “gaslighting.” The term comes from the 1944 film “Gaslight,” starring Charles Boyer as a husband so determined to protect a secret that he drives his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, into insanity.

Although I am not in a position to offer a diagnosis, people who exhibit such traits often fall into the category of personality disorder. To maintain control, those with personality disorders need to make the other people in their lives wrong. Manipulative folks try to gain the upper hand by denying making certain statements, accusing others of disloyalty and encouraging second-guessing.

On the flip side, do you have supportive family and friends? Do you know anyone who can offer you a hand out of the situation? What will it take for you to say adios to this partner who may be feeding her or his own needs at your expense?  Why have you remained in this painful situation as long as you have?  What would it mean for you to go? I encourage you to seek the support of a competent therapist to help you with making the decision about leaving.


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