How To Spot Signs They're Gaslighting You.

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Our relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr (@drpamspurr on Twitter) talks us through the red flags that are destabilising your relationship.

Singles are back out there dating again and one thing I want to flag up is how much I hear from people who’ve been the victim of gaslighting. What surprises many singles is how early in their new relationship, the signs were already there. 

It’s not just the men who do it, women can also be guilty of gaslighting new partners – undermining you and confusing you. You can prepare yourself for this behaviour with the following checklist. 

Here we go - it’s not a complete list but you should definitely watch out for these behaviours: 

  • They make jokes at your expense.
  •  They pretty much only get in touch when they want sex. 
  • They treat you differently in front of their friends - they’re more detached from you and don’t show you affection. 
  • They say they’ll do something but they don’t – they’re good at talking the talk but not at walking the walk. For instance, they say they’ll call or meet you at a certain time and they don’t.
  • They’re evasive when you ask for an explanation about things like not showing up or showing up very late for a date.  
  • They remark about the good-looking men/women who walked past when you two are out together.
  • They mention the great sex they’ve had with previous partners - as if anyone wants to hear that!
  • Your ‘dates’ are on their terms – where they want to go, what time, etc. When you make a suggestion about where you’d like to go, they criticise it. 

  • They frequently ignore you when you’re together – they get engrossed in their tech or conversations with friends, or anything else that takes their attention away, etc.
  •  They turn it back on you when you challenge them over something. Don’t allow them to use classic putdowns like “you’re paranoid, controlling”, etc.
  • Despite you making your best efforts for events like their birthday, they ignore yours. And when you enthusiastically support them – like when they get a job promotion or good news – they ignore anything good like that, that happens to you. 

Beware if this behaviour is like a red flag to a bull for you and it makes you want to try to change them. Sometimes firm boundaries will work – where you tell them clearly that you won’t put up with any nonsense. 

After all, not everyone who’s guilty of gaslighting behaviour is a terrible person. Sometimes they’re insecure or immature and just need a kick up the backside to show them what a mature relationship’s about.

If they don’t respond and keep using gaslighting-behaviours, move on very quickly! This is supposed to be the warm and fuzzy honeymoon phase. And if they don’t immediately stop this kind of behaviour it’s a terrible sign of worse to come.

The big question is: do you really need this man or woman in your life making you feel small and damaging your self-esteem? I hope your answer is ‘no’. 

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Follow Dr Pam Spurr on Twitter @drpamspurr and on Instagram @drpamspurr

For more advice, visit her website at

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