Abuse in marriage is not always physical. It can also be emotional and/or psychological, which includes gaslighting. Gaslighting occurs when your spouse uses lies and misinformation to manipulate. As explained by Psychology Today, this leads to a power differential in the relationship, as you may begin to question your grasp on reality.
Gaslighting can destroy your relationship, especially if it goes on for many years. The following are just a few of its many effects, which explain why so many victims of gaslighting seek out divorce as the only option to restore their sanity and sense of self.
Gaslighting wears you down
Constantly being questioned or told that your perception is wrong will have a distinct effect on your self-esteem. You will keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself, out of fear they will be belittled or disputed. Not only does this affect your relationship, it also affects you as a person. You might begin to feel you are less than or not worthy of love and respect. This whittling down of your confidence may actually be the goal of your abuser, as it ensures total control over you as a person.
Gaslighting creates codependency
It is normal to rely on your partner, but if you are fully dependent on them serious issues may arise. This is known as codependency, and it is extremely unhealthy in interpersonal relationships. When you look to your partner for approval, you will only be let down when this approval is not provided. Codependency increases insecurity and prevents you from looking inward for strength and confidence.
Gaslighting controls you and the relationship
All abuse, whether physical or emotional, is about control. By breaking down your self-esteem and confidence, your abuser assumes control over your relationship. Your abuser also asserts control over you as a person if you feel the need to constantly seek out approval for the things you do. This dynamic is extremely damaging and will only get worse as time goes on.