What are the effects of gaslighting?

Nearly all abusive relationships contain a certain amount of gaslighting. The abusers convince their targeted victims that their perception of abuse is inaccurate. As a result, the victim has a lot of self-doubts. Note: The abuser is consciously aware of the abuse they are causing, their intention to control, the creation of fear, a lack of confidence and confusion in the victim’s mind. Victims eventually become emotionally unstable because of the emotional invalidation played on them by their abuser, in most cases, an intimate partner.

The initial technique is “Love-Bombing“.They will put their target on a pedestal during the dating phase and even a year(s) or less into the relationship, making them the centre of their life. Gifts and loving, sweet words will be the daily chat accompanied by constant compliments. However, the victim is shocked out of their mind when they are thrust and shoved out of that pedestal stool one unannounced day. They become unwanted, constantly devalued, criticised, blamed, compared to other ladies and given the silent, cold treatment as the partner becomes emotionally withdrawn. This is termed; “ICING”.These idealisation and devaluation phases may continue inter-changing for a long time, setting the discard phase space. Then, violence, excessive financial control and fraud, sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse begin. The abuser at this stage might be in another relationship, move out of the marital home, or chase the victim with or without their children out of the home. Neglect and poverty are usually experienced in the house, such as a lack of school fees for the children, hunger, and sometimes homelessness as rent is unpaid. In most cases, the women go in and out of marriage with empty promises from the abuser, only for the cycle to start again. Love-bombing. devaluation and gaslighting, violence then discarding.

The consequence of domestic abuse is the psychological and emotional damage the victim suffers. First, the victim tries pleasing ways to change their abusers, whom they believe still love them. Typical examples are: “If only I would stop being too clingy….or too needy,….or too jealous….or too nagging!” Next, the abuser becomes more physically aggressive, causing bodily harm or very verbally abusive. Next, they will use derogatory words: “You are useless;…too fat…too skinny…comparing the victim to animals and garbage. Finally, they will publically humiliate the victim to feel ashamed, guilty, worthless and powerless.

In the following articles, we shall break down abuse, gaslighting and other forms of abuse by giving case scenarios.

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