How to deal with Gaslighting Husband?

Gaslighting ruins the relationship and mental health

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Saira Farooq

“What thoughts are you lost in, do you remember somone?” Often her husband’s poisonous sentence would be a test for her nerves and she would become sad.

The husband would look at the mobile in her wife’s hand and say, “What’s the matter, you are smiling so much?” And she would stumble on the stupid question.

Sometimes her husband asks, “Before marriage, you must have been a close friend of someone, after all, you have been studying with boys.” If she refuses, her husband continues repeating the questions without realizing how his wife is feeling.

At this point in the conversation, the wife had expressed harshness and disgust several times, but the gasligher husband was not ready to understand.

“Did anyone come?” As soon as her husband entered the house, he would often utter this sentence in such a suspicious manner that she would feel a criminal.

“No one came.” She would always get upset while answering him. If the door opened with a slight delay, he would immediately ask the question, “Why did you open the door so late?”

“Why is this back door open?” the Gaslighter husband asked. “The neighbor came.” the wife replied.

“Where is he?” His tone was sharp and a wave of doubt was visible in his eyes.

“She’s not here. Obviously she’s gone when I come to open the door for you.” she replied.

“You’re talking nonsense, tell me straight, who were you talking to?”

“How can I assure you that there is no such thing, The neighbour woman was with me, she was talking to me, if you are not sure, ask her.”

“That woman will be the same as you, how can I believe it?”

The wife could not even protest openly. She knew him well. Her husband would not have hesitated to raise his hand if she raised her voice against the baseless allegations that made her character suspicious and poisoned her life.

She was forced to keep quiet as she was afraid of losing her hubby, but only four months after the marriage she began to respond. She had moved away from her neighbors and relatives to avoid these frivolous questions of her husband and had stopped going anywhere.

Doubts and then baseless cross-examination of her, having an affair with a man before marriage and such pointless questions about sexual desires started in a pleasant atmosphere and the marital relationship was constantly filled with fear.

This is not just a unique story of our patriarchal society but there are many stories around us that we have always been reluctant to talk about. The stories in which the newlyweds suffer from “gaslighting” in the marital relationship for many years from the first day of marriage but unfortunately she was not even aware of the disease which causes them the worst mental stress.

What is GasLighting?

Gas lighting is a form of psychological stress where one person pushes the other person mentally to such an extent that the other person loses control of his mind.

The gaslighter makes the victim believe that the reason for what is going wrong in their relationship is himself. And so the other person begins to feel guilty and begins to doubt his intelligence, memory and ability.

Unfortunately, this type of abuse is not easy to spot, because the abusive man gradually erodes the woman’s self-esteem and then there comes a time when the woman feels that she is really wrong and guilty. Yes, and because of this the relationship starts deteriorating.

What’s more, her partner exploits her emotionally in a way that she doesn’t even realize. It is as if your will, the ability to think and understand come under the control of one person. This condition is called gaslighting in English term. Now this term has also been included in the dictionary of psychology.

Gaslighting source

The term gaslighting is derived from the 1938 British stage play Gaslight. In 1944, the United States made a film under this title, starring two couples.

In the film, the husband switches on or off the gas light in the house to reassure her wife that her mental balance has deteriorated and her memory is fading and thus creating whispers, doubts and uncertainty in her mind.

To make its worse, he cleverly lowers the gas light, removing objects from its place and asking, “Where is such a thing?” When she complains of low light, the male character calls her an illusion.

In one scene, when the heroine smiled at a stranger, this smile also became her crime. The man (character) says that of course you knew him then smiled and that was why you went to the party.

If she refused, he would call a liar. The hero constantly entangled her in the grip of his baseless accusations, criticisms and suspicions in such a way that she became a victim of undone crime and loses her self-confidence. The husband used to do all those movements to make her feel guilty. That is why the name of this movement is called Gaslighting.

Inspired by the title Gas Lighting, many films were made, including The Girl on the Train, and Sleeping with the Enemy.

Disadvantages of gas lighting

The scope of gas lighting is not only in the marital relationship but also the power and authority of the person sitting on the head has the power to hold the minds of the less powerful people in the society.

Like in the office, the boss puts stress on his subordinates. Children are often a training ground for parents. Friends are becoming decision makers and make their own friend’s life miserable. But those who go through this worst behavior are not able to make any decision of their life by themselves.

Since the topic of conversation is with two important members of the family, they are brought under discussion. If we look at our whole social structure is built around their relationship, if the foundation of this relationship is laid in such a way that one person begins to consider the other person as his property, then it would be foolish to expect good results from the family.

A gaslighter husband can completely destroy a woman’s personality with his behavior. He does not even realize that he has shaken anyone’s feelings, confidence and a living being is constantly in disarray. The rural man, accustomed to expressing this kind of sick attitude, wants it because he can’t bear a strong woman.

That’s why Gaslighting wictim (wife) is often confused, anxious and unable to trust herself. And then her self-esteem is so badly affected that she is reluctant to defend herself and speak openly at any point, despite being right.

How to avoid Gaslighting Husband and remedies?
  1. A person suffering from gaslighting can take precautionary measures only when he is aware of it. When the disease is diagnosed skillfully, the next steps are easier to determine.
  2. In Pakistan’s patriarchal society, the head of the household is a man. Therefore, the psychological war cannot be won by competing with it, nor can it be changed overnight. It is a very slow and patient process which requires courage and understanding.
  3. If your husband constantly criticize, ridicule and be skeptical, then know that your constant crying and nervousness will not solve this problem because it is your own war. There is nothing your parents or siblings can do for you. They can only exhort you to be patient, which obviously does not come easily in such cases. In such cases, separation from the husband is not easy either, because blame is immediately laid on the character of the woman.
  4. In our patriarchal society, physical abuse, that is, beatings on the body, is visible, but mental and emotional violence is not visible, nor can it be easily explained. If it is discussed, then first of all, one’s own. husbands are not ready to accept justification. Therefore, the seriousness of the issue can be reduced by taking some measures:
  5. If you are struggling with such an issue, first prepare yourself mentally, because your husband along with you also knows that the criticism or accusation levelled against you is not true, then make yourself more confident.
  6. Stop being afraid of your gaslighter husband, because the more scared you are, the more he will have a chance to scare you. So when they start talking to you about something you don’t like, talk to him in a very careful way, instead of running and showing less force.
  7. Sometimes a husband wants to assure that you will not leave him. That’s why he tries to ask some questions. So keep reassuring him that he is the center of your life so that her fears in this regard can be reduced.
  8. Pay attention to your husband’s words during the conversation, avoid making fun of a serious subject. While endorsing a good thing, make him feel that only positive things can be appreciated. In this way the path to a positive attitude will be paved and the negative attitude towards life will be minimized.
  9. Try to avoid discussion when he is angry. But when his mood is good, you can comfortably convince your husband that what is said at a certain time always hurts, then hopefully it will soon have a positive effect.
  10. Hesitation in front of a gaslighter can make your case less strong, so make your confidence a strong weapon, because every moment where your self-confidence is shaken will lead to your worst defeat.
  11. Think of getting help in your affairs from someone whom you have full confidence in and who stands by you in your matter with complete honesty, then there is no harm in consulting him.
  12. Instead of panicking, crying, screaming, keep calm down and deal with the situation sensibly. Present your position in a concrete manner on the questions raised about yourself and make it clear that acting on assumptions does not make you nervous but rather makes our relationship less stressful.
  13. Above all, give time to your relationship, sometimes matters can be resolved amicably by spending some time with each other. Some relationships are broken and rebuilt over time. Therefore, opportunity and path must be given
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