Some relationships are good for us—they make our lives bigger, introduce us to new things, and help us grow into better versions of ourselves.

But then there are relationships that degrade us as individuals. Intentionally or unintentionally, our partners in these relationships hurt us and make us question our own sanity.

It’s an insidious and deep kind of deceit, one that is commonly known as “gaslighting”.

Gaslighting relationships, or “toxic relationships”, are those in which your partner—a friend, a co-worker, or even a spouse—manipulates you into believing that their problems and issues are caused by you.

So are you in a toxic relationship?

Here are 20 signs that you might be:

1) You Don’t Trust Yourself Anymore

Your choices seem to be wrong, and you have even begun to doubt the voices in your head. You have difficulty making decisions these days.

2) You Are Constantly Corrected

Regardless of the situation, your partner in this relationship thinks it’s their duty to correct every sentence you speak. You are constantly wrong.

3) Even Simple Choices Become Difficult

Let’s say you and this partner want to find a place to have lunch. You know how critical this person can be, so even a simple choice becomes a heavy task.

4) You Lie About Your Feelings

You and your partner have fought so often that you now know when a new fight is about to begin.

Instead of letting yourself fall into it, you lie about what you truly feel just to avoid the fight.

5) You Believe You Might Be Too Sensitive

Your partner has abused you so often that you start to question whether the issue is with you.

Are you too sensitive to their comments and their actions? Are you the one who needs to grow up?

6) You Are Called “Insane”

Most gaslighters use this card in a toxic relationship, because it’s one of the most effective ways to make you doubt yourself.

The more they call you insane, the more you start to doubt your own arguments.

7) They Turn Others Against You

In arguments, your partner will often invoke the authority of those you love and respect, such as family or friends. ‘

They’ll say things like, “My family never liked you”, or, “all your friends hate you.”

8) They Use Confusion

Gaslighters need to get you off your balance, which is why they always work towards confusing you during arguments.

They will be there in times of need, and then turn away from you in other times.

9) They Feed You Positivity From Time to Time

Just to keep you attached to them, your partner will make sure to feed you a bit of positivity from time to time.

Even if your relationship is overall a negative one, this rare positivity will convince you that it can get better.

10) They Drain Your Energy

A toxic partner sucks the life out of you little by little. Maybe with hurtful comments, slight nudges, comments that take away your confidence.

Just small enough that you can never complain about them.

11) They Deny Even When You Call Them Out

There are times when you will win the argument against your toxic partner, simply because you have the evidence to prove them wrong.

But even in the face of complete evidence, they will still deny it with all their heart.

12) You Will Excuse Them

There will be times when people around you notice your partner’s toxic and vicious behavior, but for some reason you will still do everything in your power to make excuses for them, at times even blaming yourself.

13) You Apologize Often

A gaslighter knows how to make you feel guilty for everything you do, which is why you will often find yourself apologizing for things you have no reason to be sorry about.

14) Your Partner Plays the Victim Card

You often let your toxic partner give you whatever they’ve got, but there are times when you stand up for yourself and criticize them for their behavior.

In these cases, they will then play the victim card and blame you for their own actions.

15) You Are Always On Your Guard

In everything you do and say, you always make sure to keep everything perfect.

You can’t share your true thoughts and feelings and you are forced to walk on eggshells all day long when around your partner.

16) You Are Filled With Insecurity

Because of your constant squabbling with your partner, you have nothing but insecurity inside of you.

You are unsure of everything about yourself, from the way you look to your most inner and private thoughts. Nothing is safe from your partner.

17) They Don’t Back Up Their Threats

During arguments, your partner will say absolutely awful things to you. These threats and statements mean nothing, however, because they never actually follow up on anything they say they might do.

18) They Hit You Where It Hurts

Your partner will generally be intimately familiar with things that you hold close to your hearts.

These might be hopes, dreams, or even insecurities, and they will use this knowledge to get an advantage over you. They will attack you where it hurts most, to make sure you don’t even

19) They Will Lie To Your Face

We all tell small, innocent, white lies from time to time, but an abusive, gaslighting partner?

They’re not afraid to tell you giant, obvious lies, straight to your face.

Because to them it’s more than just a lie—it’s an assertion of power, and they want you to know it’s a lie but accept it anyway.

20) You Always Seek Acceptance From Them

And the reason why you can’t leave your gaslighter is because you have been manipulated into believing you need them in your life.

You constantly work to improve the relationship, believing all it takes is better behavior on your part to make your partner become a better person.

How To Get Out of a Gaslighting Relationship

If you believe that you might be in a relationship with a gaslighter, it’s crucial that you come to terms with the reality of your situation as soon as possible.

Here are three reminders to help you escape this relationship as painlessly as possible:

  • Do not blame yourself. It isn’t your fault that the relationship became so toxic; it’s theirs. You’ve been tricked into believing that everything is your fault
  • Be kind to the person who matters most: you. Accept that you deserve better, and give yourself the freedom to run away from this relationship as soon as possible
  • Reclaim your identity. It’s about remembering who you were before your partner psychologically manipulated you, and reclaiming that person you once were

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