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What Is Gaslighting In Relationships

Have you ever heard of gaslighting? It’s a tactic in which one person manipulates another person in an attempt to gain power over them, sometimes leading the victim to start questioning their own reality. Due to how harmful it is, it’s crucial to be able to spot this before it gets worse. It might be hard to recognize gaslighting if you’re in a relationship with gaslighters. Here are some things they might do.

Constant White Lies

If someone is lying to you about something, regardless of whether or not that lie is a lie of convenience or omission, it might be gaslighting. Now not all lies are created equal. While white lies aren’t always an indication of gaslighting, it’s something that you’ll want to be wary of. To qualify as gaslighting, their intent must be to willfully mislead you for their own benefit.

Denial Despite Being Caught

Gaslighting can occur when someone insists that they’re not lying even when you have proof that they are. They do this to disrupt your perception of truth and to get you to doubt your proof. This is not about accusing someone of lying. It’s about noting their response when faced with proof that they lied and the intentions of denying their lie. Say you told your partner to take the trash out on their way to work. They heard you say it and took off for work with the trash still sitting in the kitchen. When you come home that night and see the trash sitting there, you take it out yourself. A few hours later your partner arrives home from work and you ask them why they didn’t take out the trash, and they tell you that they did. The fact that they’re lying despite being confronted with the truth is a sign of gaslighting. 

Manipulation Towards Other People

Gaslighters will try to manipulate you by altering how you feel about people or things you love. They might try to poison the way you feel about your parents, your best friend, or your favorite TV show. To do this, they might create lies to get you to question their integrity. For example, they might tell you that they heard something upsetting from a friend of yours. When your friend denies saying anything like that, the gaslighter will use that denial as proof that the friend is untrustworthy. This is a very common move for gaslighters. By doing this, they are attacking your identity and your core being.

Inconsistent Actions

When dealing with a person or entity that is gaslighting you, examine their actions rather than what they are telling you. They will only be able to gaslight you if you focus on what they are saying, instead of what they are doing. A great comparison for this is a politician who promises you things but never follows through. Be sure to be wary of this as it can be quite hard to miss. Words can be misleading and it’s up to you to see through them and gain a better understanding of the reality of your current relationship.


Should you be in need of Calgary family counselling services, visit Virtuous Circle Counselling. We know mental health is important, and in knowing this, we provide Calgary and Kelowna Couples Counselling by our Registered Psychologists and Experienced Counselors. Services are accessible with extended hours to offer in-person sessions, online therapy, or phone counselling.

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.